The ETIAS Visa is a system that the European Union is working on in order to allow people who are from Schengen non-visa countries to travel to the EU without needing a visa. In fact, calling it the ‘ETIAS Visa’ is a bit of a misnomer since it is not strictly a visa. Rather, the system is a replacement for the visa that ensures people are ‘pre-authorised’ to travel to the country in question.
The United States already has a similar system in place called the ESTA. This is used to confirm that people who are traveling under the Visa Waiver Program are eligible to enter the country. The objective of the system is to ensure that, by doing checks in advance, they weed out people who are not eligible to travel, saving time at the border.
The ETIAS will be valid for up to three years from issuance and can be used for more than one trip. When the system is launched those who wish to apply will have to pay a fee to do so. The fee will be much smaller than the cost of a visa, and the application process will be much easier since it can be done entirely online.
If you are planning a trip to Europe in the next couple of years it is a good idea to do your homework before booking, and to seek advice about the current regulations for travel. Most travel agents will be able to give basic advice and you can get information from the embassy as well. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the required documents for your travel, and if you fail to arrange them the carrier you are travelling with may deny you the opportunity to board, wasting your time and money and meaning you lose out on a trip.