The European Visa Waiver Program, European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), will be activated in less than a year for travellers from 50 different countries outside the EU. This system can be compared to the already known Canadian eTA system. This article will compare the different Visa Waiver Programs and explain why you should apply for a digital travel authorisation, such as the eTA Canada.
Entry without visa
The idea behind the various Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) or Visa Waiver Programs (VWP) is that travellers from countries with well established diplomatic relations with the destination country do not need to apply for a visa if they stay there for a limited period of time. They do need to apply for a (digital) travel authorisation, so that the country of destination knows who is travelling in and out and what the purpose of the trip is.
It is therefore only a written authorisation to travel to a country. Border control may then determine upon arrival whether an individual may actually enter the country. This saves a lot of administrative costs and time, as the applicant does not have to go to a consulate or embassy to apply for a paper visa for a short stay. A number of countries have already preceded Europe with a VWP, such as Canada, Australia, the USA, and New Zealand.
History of the electronic travel authorisation (ETA)
The first electronic travel authorisation was already introduced by Australia in 2001. However, this ETA was only available to travellers from Singapore and the US. But more and more countries saw its advantages and started working on their own system. Australia introduced the current ETA in 2013. Canada introduced electronic Travel Authorisation in 2016.
The current ESTA Visa Waiver Program has been in place since 2008, following the implementation of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission in 2007. It is thus part of the stricter entry policy that the US has put in place since the terrorist attacks in 2001. As such, ESTA appears to be the first fully functional system for a wide range of nationalities. Currently, travellers from 40 countries can apply for an ESTA, including the Netherlands, Belgium, and many other European countries.
For the future ETIAS Visa Waiver Program, travellers from 58 countries will be able to apply for the digital travel authorisation. These include countries bordering the EU and the Schengen area. The main purpose of the ETIAS is to counteract the lack of information that had been detected, especially at the external borders of the Schengen area. The border authorities did not have information on travellers who did not need a visa when crossing the border into the Schengen area. The ETIAS is therefore mainly intended for travellers of nationalities who already do not require a visa.
Carefully read all information and apply for the Canada visa well on time.
The impact of BREXIT on international travel
Due to BREXIT, travellers from the UK to the EU will also need to apply for a travel authorisation from 2023. This will also apply to travellers from the EU to the UK. The UK is also developing its own VWP (UKETA) for which more than 67 nationalities will be eligible, including all EU residents.
Applying for an eTA online
Planning a business trip or holiday to Canada? Then you must apply for your eTA Canada online. The requirements and validity of the eTA Canada are likely to be similar to those of the planned ETIAS and UKETA. In the future, more and more countries are likely to introduce an online visa system or VWP. Most application procedures are very similar, so you can quickly become familiar with applying for eTAs or other travel authorisations.