What is the difference between ESTA and ETIAS countries?

 ETIAS for Canadians
ETIAS for Canadians
Soon, travelers to Europe will need an ETIAS visa waiver, which will replace the visa-free travel regime. ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) aims to enhance European security.
ETIAS For Canada

A Visa waiver determines how safe it is for a tourist to enter terrorism and health. In 2023 this program will be activated with a trial period of 6 months, determining which ETIAS countries you can visit. Like ETIAS, ESTA is an American electronic travel authorization system. Both visa waivers serve a security purpose to prevent unwanted visitors from entering.

Electronic Authorization Systems In ETIAS Countries

None of them was the norm for America and Europe. The main feature of the Visa waiver is the fact that the passport is connected to it electronically. Once approved, the holder has the right to visit the destination country, although they must use the same travel document when applying for a visa waiver.

The E.U. currently names about 60 countries, while the U.S. version includes about 40 countries whose citizens can apply for visa waiver systems. Many countries on the U.S. list are European, including the United Kingdom, also in the European version.

ETIAS and ESTA are digital documents. A scanning system makes electronic authentication faster and more secure, and easier to check and update passport holder details due to changing circumstances.

Fight against terrorism in ETIAS Countries

The primary motivation for introducing the American and European visa waiver is to prevent terrorist attacks and find convicts or suspects in terrorism. Today ESTA is a mandatory requirement when traveling by air and sea.

Possession of ESTA does not guarantee that a visitor will enter America. U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel determine this. If they decide that a person considers a risk to American security even though they own ESTA, they will not be allowed on American soil.

The same principle here: Possession of ETIAS does not provide automatic access to travel to Europe or E.U. and Schengen countries.

Country Border Security personnel have the right to refuse to cross the border by an ETIAS holder if there is reason to believe that this person poses security, terrorist, criminal, or health risk.

Different Acceptance Thresholds

The application process for ESTA and ETIAS is very similar, but the U.S. government is very strict about security. Even the slightest question mark about the applicant can lead to rejection. If a person has a criminal past, they will obtain a European visa waiver more efficiently than an ESTA. That will depend on the gravity of the crime committed and the length of the sentence. A criminal record with a short sentence for a minor offense will not pose a real problem for the ETIAS application form, but Americans take a different view.

A visit to a conflict zone related to terrorism is also a hindrance in the American version of the visa waiver. Travelers who have severe medical or mental problems or suffer from infectious or contagious diseases may also submit to U.S. authorities.

Identical applications

In both cases, an applicant must complete a questionnaire accurately and honestly.

Standard information required for the ESTA and ETIAS:

  • name/surname, address, nationality, date, and place of birth;
  • Passport details, date of issue and expiration date, passport number, country of issue;
  • Contact information, email, and phone number.


Both ETIAS and ESTA include sections related to:

  • Previous travel history and countries visited;
  • Criminal record and details of conviction and sentence served;
  • Health status and details of certain conditions or diseases listed.

The border control will thoroughly check all applications with numerous security and criminal data databases. Applicants have the right to appeal immediately, but this may not happen if incorrect information relates to criminal or terrorist activity or severe medical conditions listed.

Validity and price


Owners are allowed multiple entries and exits from the European zone, but they are limited to 90 days to 180 days. ETIAS is valid for three years.


ESTA owners can stay in the United States for a maximum of 90 days, in a single block or split into several visits. This regulation also applies when traveling to Canada.

ESTA is valid for two years. It is significantly more expensive. The ESTA owner must state on the application form that they agree that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can obtain biometric data upon arrival.


There are several similarities between ESTA and ETIAS, though each is unique. A broad similarity is that they are travel authorizations for transit, tourist, or business purposes for short-term visits. They have different prices, durations, requirements, and of course, eligibility. Nevertheless, their main goal is to provide enhanced security capabilities and an additional source of government revenue.

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