While a number of countries have strict visa requirements, most European nations currently allow Canadians to travel through their borders visa-free. In other words, all that Canadian travellers require is a passport in order to travel.
These countries comprise what is known as the ‘Schengen Zone‘ – 26 European countries that permit visa-free travel for up to 90 days. Founded on June 14, 1985, the system has been ideal for short-stay visa conditions and therefore a boon for tourism.
However, starting January 1, 2021, Canadians will face some minor red-tape when trying to leave on their next European adventure.
Known as the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), the system is completely electronic and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. They estimate that 95% of applications, or possibly more, would be approved within minutes.
In order to apply for it, Canadians must provide a valid passport, email address, and valid credit card or debit card, and a payment of $8 CAD.
Canadians simply apply online by answering some security questions and providing information about their travel plans. After the passenger provides the requisite information and pays the nominal ETIAS fee, they are expected to receive their approved ETIAS visa waiver via email within 24 hours.
The European Union has commented that, “recent security concerns with terrorism and the migrant crisis have called for a better management of who is entering EU borders. The EU has continuously declared its goal of making travelling within its borders a more secure experience.”
What’s more, once granted, Canadians hold the permission to enter Europe for three consecutive years. Also, they note that fingerprints and other biometric data will not be collected.