To travel to Europe, Canadians do not require a visa currently. Canadians can visit Europe without a visa for business or pleasure and stay for up to 90 days. For stays of more than three months, Canadians must apply for visas to Europe. Travel for interests besides business, leisure, or transit also requires a visa.
Depending on nationality, non-EU citizens must meet specific admission criteria. Depending on the nation that issued their passport, permanent residents of Canada may or may not require a visa to enter Europe.
Citizens of more than 50 nations that do not require visas will be able to get an ETIAS travel waiver when it is introduced in May 2023 to enter the Schengen Area.
Here is what you need to know as a Canadian citizen before ETIAS is enacted.
What is the ETIAS Visa Waiver?
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a specific kind of electronic travel authorization, also known as a visa waiver.
Beginning May 2023, non-EU citizens who wish to enter the Schengen Area (a region of Europe without passport checks at mutual borders) without a visa must apply for an ETIAS travel permit.
In light of the recent heightened security risk to both EU citizens and those going to the Schengen Area, the EU has agreed to implement ETIAS to improve the protection of every person within its borders. The EU began the legislative procedure to put ETIAS into effect in 2016 and will complete it in 2023.
Who needs to apply?
Citizens of all visa-exempt countries outside the European Union must submit an ETIAS application before entering the Schengen Area.
European nations have the choice to enter the Schengen Area through an ETIAS.
The ETIAS includes all EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, and micro-states like Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City. Additionally, ETIAS holders will be permitted to travel to countries that are applying to join the Schengen Area, such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania, all of which are EU members.
When will it go into effect?
ESTA will be operational by mid-2025 according to the action plan agreed upon by EU ministers in October 2023. Starting mid-2025, travellers from about 60 visa-exempt countries will need an ETIAS authorization to visit any of the 30 European countries.
There will be a transitional period of six months post-launch where travelers should apply for ETIAS but won’t be denied entry without it, provided other conditions are met. After this, a grace period will require travelers to have ETIAS authorization, with a one-time exception for first-time visitors post-transitional period.
The grace period will also last at least six months.
Where and how to apply
The ETIAS application form will be quickly completed and delivered via a straightforward online process. In most cases, authorization will be obtained in a matter of minutes. Each applicant’s online registration and application process should take roughly 10 minutes.
95% of applications are usually approved in a matter of minutes, based on the experience of other countries with comparable travel permission systems.
Applicants will not have their fingerprints or other biometric data taken, but they will need to provide:
- Full name
- Current address
- Place of birth
- Parents’ information
- Passport information
- Country of citizenship
Additionally, the applicants may be asked questions relating to:
- Employment history
- Criminal history
- Human trafficking
- Security details
- Drug usage
- Travel to conflict zones
- Information on previous trips to Europe
If applicants lie on their applications, their applications to join the Schengen Area may be rejected.
For those between 18 and 70 years old, ETIAS will now cost roughly 7 euros (this amount is subject to change.) No fee will be charged for those under 18 or over 70.
Multiple entries are permitted for persons given the ETIAS visa waiver within its three-year validity term. The maximum stay allowed in a Schengen country with each ETIAS entry is 90 days during each 180 days. ETIAS permits temporary stays for transit, business, tourism, or medical care in Schengen countries. To stay for prolonged periods or due to other reasons, Canadian citizens must apply for a visa at a consulate or embassy.