What is the Difference between ETIAS and Schengen Visa?

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The ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) is a new electronic system for visitors coming into the Schengen Zone from countries that are not currently part of the EU. There is a list of 60 member countries who are visa-exempt when they travel to the EU for business, travel or transit purposes. The ETIAS is not a visa, it is a visa-exempt security system that pre-screens travellers before they enter the Schengen Area and then provides travel authorisation to visit the EU.
The Schengen visa is the existing traditional visa system that allows citizens from countries that are not part of the visa-exempt agreement to enter and freely move around the Schengen Area. Obtaining a Schengen Visa is not as easy and straight forward as applying for an ETIAS , you are required to provide documents and to arrange an appointment with the embassy or consulate to have an interview before a visa can be issued.

ETIAS vs Schengen Visa

The process for applying for an ETIAS is much simpler and faster than applying for a Schengen Visa. It involves completing an online form with a few questions related to the applicant’s personal details, as well as security questions such as criminal convictions and medical history.
The ETIAS is for travellers who will be visiting the Schengen Area for the purposes of tourism, business or transit for a period of up to 90 days and it is valid for three years (or until the passport expires if this date is sooner).
With a Schengen Visa, there are a number of different types of visas to choose from, depending on the purposes of the reason to enter the country. For example, there are visas for studying, and visas for medical reasons, tourism or visiting friends and family. Once you submit your Schengen Visa application, you will need to visit the embassy or visa centre of the country you are planning to visit. If you are planning on visiting more than one European country, you will file your visa for the country where you will be spending the most amount of time.
For the Schengen Visa application, you will be required to provide a set of standard documents including two photos, flight schedule, proof of accommodation and proof of financial means, as well as having a valid passport. You may also be requested to provide specific documents related to the purpose of your visit, for example, an offer at a university for a study visa, or details of your medical appointment if applying for a medical visa.
Acquiring a Schengen visa will usually take weeks or even months, while the ETIAS system is set up to provide citizens from the ETIAS countries with a quick and easy way to enter the EU, for short visits such as holidays and for business trips.
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