The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the travel industry, disrupting travel plans for millions of people around the world. Several issues like travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, and border closures made travel difficult or even impossible for many. The global tourism industry is likely to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, and its GDP is expected to reach $9.6 trillion this year. 

Some of the most popular destinations among tourists are the Schengen countries, a zone which includes 27 European countries. They have now abolished restrictions including those related to passport and other types of border control at their mutual borders, allowing free movement for people within the area.

The Schengen countries include popular tourist destinations such as France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Austria, and many others. These countries offer a rich cultural heritage, historical sites, natural beauty, and a variety of experiences for travellers, including world-class museums, galleries, and restaurants.

Many citizens from the United Kingdom and other countries visit the Schengen Area each year. Any changes in the travel regulations for these countries would directly impact the tourists. Starting in 2024, travellers who are allowed to visit the Schengen Area without a visa will be required to apply for the ETIAS program. However, there is still a lot of confusion regarding this new mandatory program. 

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS or European Travel Information and Authorization System is an electronic travel authorization system that is being implemented by the European Union. Next year onwards, travellers from eligible countries will be required to obtain an ETIAS authorization before travelling to any of the 27 Schengen Area countries for Europe travel

Why do you need an ETIAS to enter Europe?

Though lifting the restrictions has proved to be a positive move for travellers, it has also made it easier for criminals, terrorists, and illegal immigrants to enter and move around in the area. The ETIAS program is designed to address these concerns. 

The ETIAS authorization will be used to screen travellers and identify potential security risks before they enter the region. It is also intended to help manage the increasing number of travellers entering the region and provide a more efficient and streamlined process for travellers.

Are ETIAS and visa the same thing?

Firstly, ETIAS is different from a European visa. It is a pre-screening process that will be required for travellers who do not currently need a visa to enter the Schengen Area. Secondly, the process of obtaining an ETIAS authorization will be simpler and faster than obtaining a visa. 

How to apply for an ETIAS?

To obtain an ETIAS authorization, travellers will need to complete an online application, pay a fee, and provide personal information such as their name, address, passport details, and travel itinerary. Travellers will also be required to answer some security questions related to their criminal history and previous travel to the Schengen Area. The application process is expected to be quick and easy. 

It is important to note that it will not be possible for you to travel to Europe with ETIAS if considered a security risk.

For how long will the ETIAS remain valid?

The ETIAS authorization is valid for three years or until the expiration of the passport registered during the application process, whichever comes first. During this time, you can visit the Schengen Area multiple times as per your wishes, but make sure each stay does not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period. If your passport expires before the three-year validity period of the ETIAS, you will need to apply for a new authorization using your new passport information.

Note: The cost of an ETIAS authorization is 7 euros. This fee can be paid online using a credit or debit card during the application process. 


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About Club Mahindra

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.

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