Canadians planning to visit Europe next year will have to pay for a travel authorization — not a visa — as the European Union looks to strengthen its border security measures.
Starting in 2024, Canadian passport holders will be required to apply online for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) if they plan to stay in any of these 30 EU countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Currently, Canadian citizens can enter Europe without any travel permit or visa and stay for up to three months.
However, if their stay exceeds 90 days, a visa is required.
From next year, Canadian travellers will have to fill out a form with their personal information, travel document details, level of education and current occupation, details about the intended stay, as well as any criminal convictions.
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The fee to apply for ETIAS is $10.
Children under the age of 18 and seniors above 70 are exempt from paying the fee. Family members of EU citizens or non-EU nationals who can freely move throughout the European Union are also exempt from incurring this cost.
While most applicants will be able to get the permit fairly quickly, it might take longer for others.
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“Please note that this period could be extended by up to 14 days if you are requested to provide additional information or documentation, or up to 30 days if you are invited to an interview,” the EU has warned on the official ETIAS website.
Applications may also be rejected and reasons communicated in an email, the EU says, but unsuccessful applicants can appeal the decision.
The new programme, which was adopted by the European Council in 2018, will affect nearly 1.4 billion travellers from more than 60 countries that are exempt from getting a visa to enter Europe.
The ETIAS travel authorization will be valid for up to three years or until the passport expires – whichever comes sooner.
“ETIAS will further strengthen Europe’s internal security by carrying pre-travel screening of visa-free travellers to determine whether they pose a security, illegal immigration, or public health risk,” Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, says on its website.
Since its approval, the rollout of the ETIAS has been delayed multiple times. For now, it is expected to launch in 2024.
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