Do I need an ETIAS to travel to Spain? Will the new policy adopted by the EU Commission and all Schengen countries affect only a select category of travelers or all travelers? This is the question of many who visit Western European countries, especially during the summer holidays.
In this article, we address the new policy and what eligible travelers should know before they travel.
Getting to Know Spain Better
Spain is the second largest country by land size in Western Europe, with a population of more than 46 million people. The country’s official language is Castilian Spanish, but other official languages such as Basque, Galician, and Catalan exist. The country is one of the founders of the European Union and is also a member of the Schengen Area.
Spain is the second most visited country in Europe, with millions of tourists flooding the country to enjoy the amazing landscape and unique culture that has been a pride of the Spanish people.
The weather is one of the major draws for tourists from Northern Europe and other parts of the world seeking a warmer climate. This makes Spain a popular tourist destination and the second most visited country after France. The coastline is blessed with lovely beaches and pristine waters, and in the hinterland, you will find mountain ranges.
In fact, Spain has the second highest number of mountain ranges in Western Europe, and the most popular ones are the Picos de Europa and the Pyrenees Mountains. The country is also blessed with great cities that serve as a center for cultures, such as Madrid, the capital, Seville, and Barcelona, the most visited city in the country, filled with art galleries, museums, and five-star restaurants.
What Is Spanish ETIAS?
ETIAS is solely a Spanish initiative but a travel policy introduced by the European Commission to cover the entire Schengen Area. Since Spain is also a Schengen State, visitors coming will have to adhere to the new policy. ETIAS is a security check system that will vet the identity of all travelers coming from visa-exempt countries.
The system will run travel data against several security databases to ensure that visitors will pose security risks to the population and are not allowed into the borders of any Schengen nation.
The security checks will take only a few minutes, and successful applicants will have their approval forwarded to their email, while unsuccessful applications will be referred to the manual ETIAS unit of Spain for further review.
Travelers are advised to travel to Spain with the same passport they use in applying for the ETIAS approval, as using a different passport will lead to entry denials at the airport.
At this juncture, it is important to note that ETIAS is not a visa but a visa waiver. It only grants visitors access to Spain to stay for a short time, and visitors who intend to stay for much longer than that should apply for a Schengen visa instead.
Do I Need Etias To Travel To Spain?
Whether you need this approval will depend on your nationality. Before the introduction of ETIAS, citizens from selected nations could enter Schengen Europe without a visa, and this visa free policy will still be in place once Etias becomes active. If you can enter Europe without a visa, you are eligible for ETIAS. If you cannot enter Europe without a visa, you don’t need ETIAS; you will need a Schengen visa.
ETIAS is for citizens from more than 50 countries, including UK and US passport holders who may want to enter Spain.
When Will The Policy Be Active?
Later this year, the EU plans to test-run the policy, but travelers will still be allowed to visit Spain without it during the testing phase. However, by the start of 2024, it will become mandatory for all travelers to show their ETIAS approval before they can enter the country.
How To Apply For ETIAS?
Eligible visitors can apply for ETIAS online by completing an application form and submitting it for approval. The good news is that VisaHQ will have a dedicated application platform for interested applicants. The form can be completed in less than 10 minutes, and the system will scan the security databases in minutes. You can apply for Etias by doing the following
Choose Spain as your destination
Choose your country
Complete the application form
Attach your documents
Pay the fee
Submit for approval
When filling out the application form, provide only accurate information to avoid application rejections or issues with Spanish immigration when you touch down in Spain.
ETIAS Application Fee
The application fee for ETIAS is only €7, and the fee is only charged for travelers between 18-70 years. Those under 18 and above 70 do not have to pay this fee. The legal guardians or parents of minors may apply for ETIAS for them.