Monday,  January 30, 2023  8:33 pm

Will Canadians really need a visa for European travel?

Will Canadians really need a visa for European travel?

Last week, several articles started surfacing online, declaring that starting in 2021, Canadians wishing to visit Europe would need a visa.

But, this isn't exactly true, as we'll show you.


ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a completely electronic system which allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. This concerns more than 60 countries, including Canada.

In a way, it resembles the U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose. The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS have started in 2016, and the system is expected to be in place by 2021.

According to the ETIAS website, the new system will:

  • Reduce procedures and application times
  • Improve the management of EU country borders
  • Assist in detecting and decreasing crime and terrorism
  • Impede irregular migration
  • Reinforce the visa liberalization policy of the EU

What will this change?

ETIAS is not a visa, but a travel authorization. Canadians wishing to travel to Europe will still be exempt from visa requirements, but will need to obtain travel authorization through ETIAS prior to travel.

In a statement, the EU said:

 "ETIAS will be a simple, fast and easy-to-use system for travellers, which in more than 95 per cent of cases will lead to a positive response within minutes. This will be a necessary stage of procedure for all visa-exempt travellers, which will allow them to avoid bureaucratic formalities and delays when they arrive at the borders."

How will it work?

The request will be made online on a website or via a mobile phone application. It should only take a few minutes and would only require a valid travel document, including the passport.

This travel authorization will cost $7 (about €10) per request for all Canadians aged 18 to 70. It will be valid for three years, for an unlimited number of entries.

The European authorities ensure that the vast majority of applicants will receive automatic approval within minutes of payment.

For more information on ESTIAS, click here .