Okay, before y’all freak out, traveling to the Schengen Area in Europe is still visa-free for now. You’ll only need to apply for ETIAS (that’s the European Travel Information and Authorization System for short) visa starting 1 January 2021. It might still be another year to go, but we’re here to give you all the information you need so you can start prepping for #Eurotrip2021.
Keep reading to find out what this new travel requirement is all about and how it affects you.
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS is a new program created by the European Union to strengthen the border and improve the screening of travelers to Europe’s Schengen Area. Currently, Malaysians and Singaporeans enjoy visa-free access to countries in the Schengen Area. However, from January 2021 onwards, Malaysians and Singaporeans who wish to travel to any of the 26 Schengen countries would need to apply for the ETIAS visa.
The ETIAS travel authorization allows for multiple short stays of 90 days within every 180-day period and is valid for three years from the moment of approval, or until your passport expires. So the good news is, if you’re planning to go to any Schengen country within three years, you don’t have to apply for ETIAS again.
How do I apply for ETIAS?
If you’re worried about the hassle of applying for the visa, don’t be! It’s quite a straightforward process. Before applying, just make sure that you meet the following ETIAS basic requirements:
You are a Malaysian or Singaporean citizen.
- Have a valid passport with three months remaining (from arrival date).
- Have a biometric passport that is machine-readable.
- Have an email address (to receive the ETIAS visa).
- Have a credit or debit card (for ETIAS visa payment).
The approved ETIAS is electronically linked to your passport. However, it’s advised to print a copy of ETIAS to keep on you during your stay in Europe in case there is a need to show it at any point.
How much does ETIAS travel authorization
Before you worry about the travel authorization costing a bomb, the ETIAS application costs only €7 (around RM33)! While every traveler including infants and elders will be required to present a valid ETIAS before entering the Schengen Area, some are exempted from paying the fee. Those exempted from paying the ETIAS fee are:
- Travelers under the age of 18.
- Travelers over the age of 60.
- Family members of EU citizens.
- Students or researchers traveling for academic purposes.
Which country requires ETIAS travel authorization?
The ETIAS travel authorization will be needed to enter a total of 26 countries in the Schengen Area. Within the Schengen Area, 22 are members of the European Union while the remaining four belong to the European Free Trade Association.
The list of countries which require the ETIAS visa are:
- Czech Republic
When do I have to start applying for the ETIAS travel authorization?
The new regulation will only start from January 2021 onwards. Once it has been implemented, travelers are advised to apply for ETIAS at least three days before boarding their flight. Make sure to also print out a copy of your ETIAS document and have it at hand for immigration.
To date, the ETIAS website has not uploaded a sample of their application form, but they should be doing so nearer to the implementation date, which is 1 January 2021. We will continue updating this page with more information, so do bookmark this page if you are planning to visit Europe in the future.
If you’re still confused, check out our roadmap to ETIAS below!