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Do children need ETIAS to travel to Europe?

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traveling to Europe with minors

One of the most common questions regarding ETIAS is whether children will require the new visa waiver from November 2023. This article answers this query and provides information to help families prepare for the changes to European visa-waiver programme.

All non-EU citizens from visa waiver countries will soon need to apply for ETIAS before travelling to the Schengen Area. This also applies to minors.

The European Union’s ETIAS regulation defines a minor as “a third-country national or a stateless person below the age of 18 years” and makes it clear that children will not be exempt from the new visa waiver requirement.

Nationality, rather than age, is what determines who needs ETIAS to travel to Europe.

Continue reading to find out why the EU considers it necessary that children complete the ETIAS registration process and how a parent or guardian can apply on a minor’s behalf.

Why do children need ETIAS?

To understand why the European Union requires that under 18s apply for ETIAS it is important to consider the reasons why a visa waiver is being introduced.

The main objective of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System is to boost security across the Schengen Area, by increasing control over who crosses the external borders.

The system works by cross-checking the data of individuals eligible for visa-free access across a series of international security databases, detecting potentially dangerous individuals before they make it to European territory. ETIAS is not a visa, it is a visa waiver for children and adults who do not need a visa for Europe.

Children make up a noteworthy proportion of the millions of non-EU citizens that cross the external Schengen Area borders each year, either alone or accompanied by an adult. To allow minors to enter European territory without undergoing background checks would leave a gap in the security system, providing an opportunity for those with malicious intent.

By making ETIAS mandatory for travellers regardless of their age, the public can enjoy peace of mind knowing that all visitors from outside the EU have undergone security checks.

The same approach is taken by the United States and Canada. Both the US ESTA and Canadian eTA are required by visa-exempt visitors of all ages.

ETIAS will run security checks on the parents or guardians of minors

When an adult applies for ETIAS authorisation, their details are scanned against information stored in Interpol, Europol, and other security systems. When a minor applies, not only will their data be reviewed but the parent or legal guardian will also undergo background checks.

Article 20 of the ETIAS regulation explains that the system will verify:

“Whether the applicant’s parental authority or legal guardian is subject to an alert in respect of persons wanted for arrest for surrender purposes on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant or wanted for arrest for extradition purposes in SIS; is subject to a refusal of entry and stay alert entered in SIS.”

In such circumstances, it is unlikely that the child would be granted the visa waiver and the right to enter the Schengen Area.

Protecting fundamental rights

The EU assures parents and guardians who are concerned about providing their child’s personal information that “the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”.

Personal data is handled securely by ETIAS using state of the art technology. Particular attention will be paid to the most vulnerable members of society, including minors, to ensure they are protected.

Applying for ETIAS on behalf of a minor

Families with children should be prepared for the new travel requirements. Fortunately, parents or legal guardians can complete the online ETIAS application form on behalf of the youngster.

The parent or guardian should simply indicate that they are filling out the request for a minor and provide some personal details. The requested information includes:

  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number (if available)

The rest of the process remains the same. The parent or guardian should carefully copy the child’s passport information, ensuring all the data is entered correctly.

Most ETIAS applications submitted on behalf of minors will be approved almost immediately once the child and adult’s information has been verified. The visa waiver is then electronically linked to the biometric passport.

Who can apply on behalf of a minor?

According to article 17 of the regulation:

“Minors shall submit an application form electronically signed by a person exercising permanent or temporary parental authority or legal guardianship.”

To fill out and submit the application on behalf of a minor, the adult must be either a parent of the child or have been granted legal guardianship by a court of law.

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Older siblings or other family members are not permitted to complete the request unless they are, by law, temporary or permanent guardians of the young person.

Documents children need to travel in the EU

Children will be expected to carry their own valid passport with approved ETIAS attached from November 2023.

If travelling alone or with someone other than the parent or legal guardian, an official document signed by the parents/guardian authorising them to travel may be required.

There are no EU-wide rules regarding this matter so it is important to check the requirements of the specific member state.

ETIAS for minors: key information

ETIAS for children offers the same benefits as it does for adults. It is quick and easy to apply for and the entire application process can be completed from home.

Validity period: an ETIAS authorisation is valid for 3 years from the approval date, or until the passport expires. It can be used to travel to Europe multiple times during this period.

Parents should bear in mind that children’s passports are usually valid for a shorter time. US and Australian passports for under 16s, for example, expire after 5 years rather than the usual 10 for adults. A new ETIAS request must be made as soon as the passport is renewed, the visa waiver cannot be transferred to the new travel document.

Length of stay: Just like adults, children can remain in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days per 180-day period with their approved ETIAS visa waiver.

ETIAS countries: minors require the ETIAS visa waiver to cross an external Schengen border. As there are no internal borders in the common travel zone, the youngster can then move freely amongst the Schengen member states. They should always carry their passport.

Traveling to Europe with kids? What to know about vaccination and entry rules

Happy mother and son traveling to Paris and playing to be on a plane near the Eiffel Tower

Do children need a booster for travel in Europe this summer? Can unvaccinated children travel? Here’s what you need to know as the European Union (EU) introduces flexible travel rules for people under the age of 18.

Across the EU, tourists who completed their primary jabs more than 270 days ago need a booster to enter countries such as France, Spain and Italy — or be considered unvaccinated and therefore subject to additional rules such as testing.

This recommendation was introduced by the European Commission (the legal arm of the EU) on February 1 under the EU Digital COVID Certificate regulation. Most EU member states adopted it, though some, such as Ireland, Denmark and Sweden, have since scrapped all COVID-19 entry requirements at their borders.

Teenagers students using smartphone on a school break

Children under the age of 18 are now considered fully vaccinated with the primary series of vaccines under the EU Digital COVID Certificate © Getty Images

This week, the Commission introduced new rules on the EU digital COVID certificate that exempt children under the age of 18 from the 270 days acceptance period following the primary vaccination series. This means that children are considered fully vaccinated after having received their primary dose; whether that’s a two-shot vaccine series or a one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

By April 6, this new feature will be included in the mobile app used to verify EU Digital COVID Certificates so that children’s certificates remain active without the booster.

In a statement, Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said: “One of the biggest benefits of the EU Digital COVID Certificate is its flexibility to adapt to new circumstances. Following discussions with member states’ public health experts, we have decided that the vaccination certificates of minors should not expire. When travelling, they will be able to continue using the certificate received after the primary series of vaccination.”

This exemption applies to EU and Schengen Zone citizens and residents traveling within Europe, though some countries can adopt their own entry restrictions regardless of the Commission’s ruling.

If you plan to travel to Europe with kids this summer, here’s what you need to know about the latest entry rules and how they apply to you, even if you’re traveling from countries outside of the EU like the UK and the US.

Can unvaccinated children travel to Europe?

Generally speaking, yes. Children under 12 are typically exempt from vaccination requirements in most countries but many require that children between the age of 12 and 18 have received the primary vaccine course to avoid testing rules.

What countries in Europe have scrapped COVID-19 entry restrictions?

Andorra, Denmark, Hungary, Lithuania, Iceland, Ireland, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have recently dropped all pandemic restrictions at their borders, meaning people no longer have to show vaccination certificates or negative tests to enter these countries, regardless of where they are coming from.

Two kids walking to the beach

Countries in Europe with travel restrictions

Here are some of the destinations in Europe that still require proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test from travelers.

Austria

People over the age of 12 need one of the following: proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory 270 days after primary vaccine course); a recovery certificate (issued within the past 180 days); or a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (24 hours) test.

Boosters are not required for those under 18 to be considered fully vaccinated.

Belgium

Generally, people traveling from the EU/Schengen area can present proof of vaccination (booster mandatory 270 days after primary vaccine course); a recovery certificate (issued within the past 180 days) or a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (36 hours) test.

People from outside the EU or an area categorized as high-risk must present proof of vaccination. Children under 18 can present proof of recovery or a negative test. Children under 12 are exempt.

Belgium’s rules vary depending on the COVID-19 risk associated with your departing country.

Croatia

People need one of the following: proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory 270 days after primary vaccine course); a recovery certificate (issued within the past 180 days); or a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (24 hours) test.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from testing. Boosters are not required for those under 18 to be considered fully vaccinated.

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Cyprus

People over the age of 12 need one of the following: proof of vaccination (booster mandatory seven months after primary vaccine course) or a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (24 hours) test. People also have to take a PCR on arrival and isolate while awaiting results.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from testing. Boosters are not required for those under 18 to be considered fully vaccinated.

Estonia

People must present proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory nine months after primary vaccine course) or recovery certificate (issued within the past 180 days) to bypass additional restrictions. Unvaccinated travelers from the EU and approved countries including the UK and US must isolate for seven days upon arrival.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from entry rules.

Germany

People traveling from the EU, Schengen Zone or approved countries including Hong Kong, New Zealand and South Korea can present one of the following: proof of vaccination; recovery certificate (older than 28 days, but no less than three months old) or a PCR (48 hours) or antigen (48 hours) test. Children under the age of 12 are exempt from testing.

People traveling from outside the EU, including the UK and the US, must be vaccinated to enter Germany. Unvaccinated 6-11 year olds can enter with a vaccinated parent; unvaccinated accompanying over-12s can provide a negative PCR or antigen test.

Greece

People traveling from the EU, US, UK, Canada, Australia, and other approved countries need to present one of the following: proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory seven months after primary vaccine course); a recovery certificate (issued within the past 180 days); or a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (24 hours) test.

Children under five are exempt from all entry requirements. Boosters are not required for those under 18 to be considered fully vaccinated.

Finland

There are no entry rules for those traveling from the EU and Schengen Zone countries. However, people coming from third countries such as the UK and the US must provide proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory nine months after primary vaccine course) or recovery certificate (issued within the past six months).

Children born in 2007 or later are exempt if accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult.

France

People must present one of the following: proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory nine months after a primary vaccine course) or a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (48 hours) test.

Children under 12 are exempt. Boosters are not required for those under 18 to be considered fully vaccinated.

Cheerful friends cycling and skateboarding on street in city

Italy

People need to present one of the following: proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory seven months after primary vaccine course); a recovery certificate (issued within the past 180 days); or a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (48 hours) test.

Children under the age of six are exempt from testing. Boosters are not required for those under 18 to be considered fully vaccinated.

Latvia

People over the age of 12 need one of the following: proof of vaccination (second dose administered at least 14 days prior to travel); recovery certificate; or negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (48 hours) test.

Luxembourg

People need one of the following: proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory nine months after primary vaccine course); a recovery certificate (issued within the past six months); or a negative PCR (48 hours) or antigen (24 hours) test.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt.

Malta

People must present proof of vaccination with a booster to travel to Malta.

Children between the ages of five and 11 must present a negative PCR test (72 hours). Children under five are exempt.

Netherlands

There are no entry rules for people traveling from the EU/Schengen area or countries participating in the EU travel rules scheme. People from elsewhere, including the US and UK, must present proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory 270 days after primary vaccine course) or a recovery certificate (issued within the past 180 days but no earlier than 11 days).

Children under 12 traveling to the Netherlands from outside the EU/Schengen area must show a negative PCR (48 hours) or antigen (24 hours) test.

Portugal

People over the age of 12 need one of the following: proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory 270 days after primary vaccine course); a recovery certificate (issued within the past 180 days); or a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (24 hours) test.

Boosters are not required for those under 18 to be considered fully vaccinated.

Slovakia

People traveling to Slovakia must show proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory nine months after primary vaccine course).

Children under the age of 12 are exempt.

Spain

People traveling from the EU can show proof of vaccination (boosters mandatory nine months after primary vaccine course); a recovery certificate (issued within the past 180 days) or a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (24 hours) test.

People traveling from outside the EU must show proof of vaccination or recovery only (unless traveling to Balearic Islands where proof of vaccination is mandatory).

Children under 12 are exempt from vaccination requirements. Unvaccinated 12 to 17-year-olds can present a negative PCR (72 hours) test.

Switzerland

People traveling to Switzerland must show proof of vaccination ( booster mandatory 270 days after primary vaccine course) or a recovery certificate (issued within the past 180 days).

Children under 18 are exempt.

Turkey

Most people need to present one of the following: proof of vaccination; a recovery certificate (issued within the past six months but no less than 28 days); or a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen (48 hours) test.

Children under the age of 12 are exempting from testing.

People from high-risk countries are subject to stricter rules including quarantine if they’re unvaccinated.

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Free Parental Consent Forms for Minors Traveling Alone

Suzanne Rowan Kelleher is a nationally recognized family travel expert and an award-winning travel writer and editor.

Patrice J. Williams is a travel and style content creator, fact-checker and author of the thrift shopping book Looking Fly on a Dime.

Child traveling airport

While children between the ages of five and 18 can fly by themselves, younger children in this range usually must participate in an airline’s unaccompanied minor program (specific age requirements vary per airline).

If your minor child will be traveling domestically, you will typically need to fill out paperwork through the airline’s unaccompanied minor program. But if your minor child will be traveling out of the country alone, with one parent, or with someone other than a parent or legal guardian, he will likely need to carry a notarized letter of consent (and perhaps a medical letter of consent) signed by his parents in addition to the unaccompanied minor program paperwork. Use this guide as a helpful jumping off point regarding such letters of consent, but we advise referring to airline and government websites for more specific information.

What Is a Child Travel Consent Form?

Because of increasing instances of child abduction in custody cases and a growing number of children who are the victims of trafficking or pornography, government and airline personnel are now more vigilant about traveling children. Therefore, your child will likely be asked by an immigration officer or airline staff member will ask for a letter of consent if he or she is traveling without both parents.

A Child Travel Consent Form is a legal document that allows a minor child to travel without both parents or legal guardians present. It can be used when a child is traveling as an unaccompanied minor, or with another adult who is not the legal guardian, such as a grandparent, teacher, sports coach, or friend of the family. It is advisable for all travel and is particularly important when a minor is traveling outside the country.

The document should include:

  • Minor’s name, birthplace, and passport information
  • Permission from the non-traveling parent or guardian, including his or her contact information
  • Relevant information about the traveling parent or guardian, including name, custody information, and passport details
  • Travel information, such as the destination and start and end dates for the trip. Note that the consent is temporary and specific to this one trip
  • Allergy and special needs information pertaining to the child
  • Signature of the non-traveling parent who is giving permission for the child to travel

Be aware that specific rules about documentation can differ substantially from country to country, so you should check the U.S. State Department International Travel website for information about the requirements for your destination country. Find your destination country, click the tab for “Entry, Exit, & Visa Requirements,” then scroll down to “Travel with Minors.”

What Is a Child Medical Consent Form?

If a minor child is traveling without a parent or legal guardian, a Child Medical Consent Form grants authority to a chaperone to make medical decisions. The form grants temporary medical power of attorney to another adult in case of a medical emergency. You’ve probably filled out such a form in the past for your child’s daycare or school, or for field trips, sleepover camp, and other situations.

The document should include:

  • Minor’s name and birthplace
  • Authorized medical treatments
  • Health information about the child
  • Identity of the person being granted responsibility
  • Health insurance information

There are a number of websites that offer free templates for travel forms. Here are some reliable options:

Free Child Travel Consent LetterFrom LawDepot.com

This form takes five to 10 minutes to complete. Answer a few simple questions and then choose to to print or download.

Free Child Travel Consent Letter From eForms.com

This five-step fill-in-the-blank template is straightforward and easy to complete. The user can select his or her home state from a pulldown menu.

Free Child Travel Consent Letter From RocketLawyer.com

Build your document, print it out, sign it and get it notarized to make it legal.

Free Child Travel Consent Letter From LegalTemplates.net

Follow the directions on the site to complete the form. Then e-sign, download, and print your legally binding document.

Source https://www.etiasvisa.com/etias-news/children-etias-travel-europe

Source https://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/latest-europe-travel-rules-for-children-under-18

Source https://www.tripsavvy.com/parental-consent-forms-for-traveling-minors-3265651

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