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If you’re planning to visit Europe or if you travel there often, there are some changes you need to be aware of. Canadians will soon be required to put in a bit more legwork and a bit more money when headed to certain countries in the European Union. But it’s all about safety, so we can’t really blame them.

Canadian travelers will need to apply for a specialty authorization for European travel called the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which will be required for all visitors from non-EU countries. The goal is to strengthen security checks and make travelling within the borders of the Schengen Zone a more secure experience which, in this day and age, is an extra step no one should be complaining about.

 

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ICYDK, 26 countries make up the Schengen Zone, including Germany, Spain, France, Portugal and Italy. Currently, Canadians traveling to Europe don’t need to do anything at all, can go about their business (or pleasure) as per usual, and stay for 90 days without a visa. But by January 2021, when the EU hopes the ETIAS will up and running, Canadians and those from other non-EU countries will require the special authorization.

It might sound like a lot to take in but, thankfully, it’s a rather painless process that won’t take too much of your time (according to the Schengen Visa Info website, 10 minutes online should do it) or money (7€, which converts to about $10.50). Once the application and fee are submitted, approval is expected to take only a few minutes.

It’s not a visa but you do need a valid passport to get approval — though if you were planning to go across the pond, you would’ve needed one anyway. The 90-day limit still applies, but the ETIAS is valid for three years and multiple visits are allowed, so feel free to travel within the different countries with ease — and a little more peace of mind.