The European Travel Information and Authorization, ETIAS, is a program that was proposed by the European Commission to protect the Schengen zone from terrorist threats and illegal immigration. This electronic system was approved in 2016 and will be effective as of 2021.
As its name indicates, ETIAS is a system that gathers a traveler’s information, specifically their biographical data, and compares it against security databases. The ETIAS for Europe will be obligatory to travel to the region in the coming future.
However, there seems to be confusion as off how the ETIAS countries were defined. There are important differences between the Schengen zone, the European Union, and the European Commission. The Brexit has risen several questions, including how will UK citizens will travel to the EU in the future.
ETIAS Countries: The European Union Vs. Schengen Zone
The European Union is a political and economic union that today is made up of 28 European countries. In the 19th century, following Napoleon’s defeat and the Congress of Vienna ideals of a unified Europe began to emerge. The United States Of Europe was famously used by Victor Hugo when he addressed an audience during the International Speech Peace Congress in Paris in 1849.
Many years later, in 1957 The treaty of Rome was signed by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. The treaty created the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC). A couple of decades later, The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985.
The purpose of the Schengen Agreement was to open borders without passport controls between its members. Today, there’s a total of 26 Schengen member states that encompass the countries where the ETIAS authorization will be needed.
The European Union was formally established in 1993 and the EEC and EAEC were dissolved into the European Union in 2009. To recap, the EU is made up of 28 countries created to foster economic cooperation. The Schengen Agreement was established to open up borders within the region. The Schengen zone is the result of the Schengen Agreement.
What Does This Mean for the ETIAS Travel Authorization?
It’s really important to know the difference between the ETIAS countries and the countries in the EU. Only 22 European Union member countries are in the Schengen zone.
We should also point out that within the Schengen Zone, there are three significant micro-states. Your ETIAS for Europe is also valid when you visit Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican city. These three micro-states are within the Schengen Zone.
It is also likely that four more countries will join the Schengen Area in the coming months. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, and Romania are likely to become part of this zone.
The EU wishes to implement the ETIAS to have a stronger and smarter information system for border controls. The ETIAS visa waiver will allow travelers to move freely only within the ETIAS countries, that is, the countries in the Schengen zone.
What Brexit Means for ETIAS Europe
The Brexit has brought about many relevant concerns in several aspects. Travelers who wish to travel to the UK should check its visa requirements. The European travel authorization system will only be valid in ETIAS countries.
The UK declined to sign the Schengen Agreement and has never been part of the Schengen Zone. What it is yet to be determined is if British citizens will be expected to enroll with the ETIAS travel authorization. As long as the UK is in the EU, British nationals can travel to and from Schengen member countries without a visa.
It has not been determined yet if citizens from the UK will be obliged to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver. The European Commission continues to evaluate the options as the UK and EU prepare for the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.