Canadians are privy to one of the most powerful passports in the world.
That means Canadian passport holders can travel visa-free to pretty much any country in the world, with a few exceptions. And while that will continue to be technically true, Canadians travelling to Europe will soon need to participate in a little extra bureaucracy before taking flight.
As of January 1, 2021, Canadians and nationals of 60 other countries, including the United States, will need to register with the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) before entering the Schengen Area. (The new rules apply to 22 of the 26 Schengen countries; the U.K. is exempt).
It’s a pretty straightforward procedure: Travellers fill out a 10-minute online form, including some background info, medical status, and whether you’ve recently travelled to countries in war. If all looks good, you’ll be approved in a few minutes. If your existence alerts the algorithm to a threat, the application may move to a manual processing stage that could take anywhere between four days and two weeks. Oh, and you have to transfer $8.
So, why? According to the Schengen Visa Info site, “recent security concerns with terrorism and the migrant crisis have called for a better management of who is entering EU borders … the ETIAS will decrease security concerns substantially through its information and data gathering systems.”
Once you’ve been approved, your ETIAS status remains valid for a period of three years, during which you can enter the Schengen Area at your leisure.
For full information, click here.