There is something new in the travel industry: Electronic Travel Authorizations: What you need to know about ETAs
Beaverton Travel & Beyond
Most travelers think of “ETA” as the universal shorthand for “estimated time of arrival,” but this well-known abbreviation is getting a new meaning: Electronic Travel Authorization.
Though it may sound unfamiliar today, it won’t for long because 27 countries around the world have already adopted ETA entry requirements. This new authorization is already required by some countries, whether travelers are staying in the destination or simply passing through.
In New Zealand, for example, even cruise passengers are required to apply for the NZeTA authorization, which is valid for two years for multiple entries of up to 90 days per visit.
Similarly, Australia’s ETA is mandatory for all visitors and, although the ETA is free, there is an online application and a service charge. Even though the process has been made easier with an online application, it’s best not to wait until the last minute to secure any necessary visas.
Until now, visitors from the United States and 60 other countries have enjoyed visa-free access to countries in the European Union. However, that changes beginning January 1, 2021, when an ETA will be required of travelers of every age who plan to visit EU member nations (referred to as the Schengen Zone).
The new authorization, known as an ETIAS visa waiver, is easy to secure, thanks to an online application and nominal fee that can be paid via credit or debit card. Although you’ll need a valid passport to apply, you won’t need to show proof of upcoming travel plans. The ETIAS are valid for three years, subject to your adherence to its terms (including spending no more than 90 days within every 180-day period in Schengen Zone countries), so having one at the ready is essential for those who love a spontaneous getaway.
According to the European Commission, the ETIAS’s goals include speeding up border crossings; improve security, and enhancing the EU’s mission “to identify any security or irregular migratory risks posed by Visa-exempt visitors”. While it adds another step to the travel planning process, it’s hard to argue with an international initiative designed to enhance security.
The 27 European countries that are part of the ETA:
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