So many steps, so little time.
All this while, Malaysians have enjoyed visa-free travels to a majority of the countries in the world, thanks to the power
our passport possesses.
But that's very likely to change really soon.
According to a report by The New Straits Times
, citizens from visa-free countries such as Malaysia may be required to apply for a mandatory travel document before they are allowed into European Union states.
Called the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)
, the new immigration process is used to "address the potential threats of ineligible individuals" before they are allowed to cross the border.
We know it can get pretty confusing, so here's our attempt to break it down for you guys:
So, what is this ETIAS thing ah?
Simply put, the ETIAS document is a visa-like electronic authorisation you need to apply for if you want to visit countries located in the European Union.
Once your application for ETIAS has been approved, it will automatically be reflected on your passport.
According to etiaseurope.eu
website, the introduction of ETIAS, together with the existing Entry–Exit System (EES), will offer better protection against identity and document fraud.
Starting from the year 2021, citizens from visa-free countries would have to have a valid ETIAS authorisation before they are allowed to board a plane to EU countries.
for a list of countries which would require the ETIAS.
What can I do with ETIAS?
Umm, travel all across Europe?
With ETIAS, you can now stay in the Schengen Area
(basically, all European states except the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Ireland, Romania, Cyprus and Croatia) for up to 90 days
in any 180-day period.
Also, ETIAS acts like a pre-entry immigration officer as it will automatically conduct prior checks on an individual before deciding if they are allowed into EU countries.
If your record is clean, you can clear border checks faster than a French immigration officer can say: 'Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir
Do I need to apply for ETIAS every time I want to travel to the EU?
Good thing is, you don't.
Once you have the ETIAS approval, it lasts for three years
or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Beats applying for a visa to visit China or India, that's for sure.
Will I go broke applying for ETIAS?
Unless you only have RM30 in your bank account right now, then you won't go broke.
An ETIAS application only costs only €7 (RM33.84)
and can be done online in less than 10 minutes, according to their website.
To apply, you would need a valid passport (duh!), a credit card to pay for the processing fee and your personal information such as address, contact number and e-mail address.
Once your application is approved (it takes up to a couple of days), you will receive an e-mail. You will also receive an e-mail if your application is rejected, so you can look at it and question your life choices.
Also, you are advised to apply for an ETIAS at least three days
before you board your flight and print out a copy of the document so that you can shout at the immigration officer for saying you do not have approval eventhough you do.