The European Union has just announced a new system for non E.U. citizens who want to visit Europe. That includes Hungary. Hungary’s ETIAS system will be the same used throughout the E.U. The Hungary ETIAS visa waiver is an online application to visit Europe which will have to be completed in advance. It will only cost €5 and shouldn’t take more than about 10 minutes to complete.
The new pre-travel authorisation (ETIAS stands for E.U. Travel Information Authorisation System) is being introduced to improve security across Europe which has been affected by an increasing number of terrorist attacks the last few years as well as an unprecedented wave of refugees and migrants.
Is Hungary part of Schengen and what does that mean?
Yes. Hungary is part of the Schengen Group as well as one of the 28 members of the E.U. The difference between Schengen and the E.U. is that Schengen was solely set up to regulate borders, while the E.U. is about much more than just determining who is allowed to go where. Most countries are like Hungary and are members of both the E.U. and Schengen, but there are a few countries that are not part of the Schengen but are still in the E.U. One example is Britain. Britain has the same rules as the other E.U. countries with regard to the movement of other E.U. citizens, but makes up its own rules about non-E.U. citizens. When ETIAS starts officially (most probably at the beginning of 2020), Hungary will have the same rules as every other Schengen country.
Is Hungary an interesting place to visit?
The Hungary ETIAS introduction is not expected to reduce the numbers of visitors to the country as it has some outstanding archaeological and natural attractions. Hungary’s capital, Budapest, lies on both banks of one of Europe’s longest and most historic rivers, the Danube, which flows eventually into the Black Sea. Budapest has a number of interesting World Heritage listed buildings worth seeing like Buda Castle. The old village of Hollókő and the countryside around it is also an interesting diversion.
Hungary has many natural areas that are worth visiting, especially if you are a birdwatcher. There are several national parks, lakes, grasslands and of course the Danube. Horse riding is another popular activity in Hungary.
Who will need to apply for a Hungary ETIAS once it is officially introduced?
The ETIAS system will not affect any E.U. or Schengen citizen. They will still enjoy freedom of movement across the zone. It will affect you if you are a citizen of any one of around 60 countries that at present do not need to do anything before arriving in Europe for a visit of up to 90 days. That list of countries includes places like Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. The ETIAS application should not take very long to fill in once it is up and running and should then last for 5 years. It will work in a very similar way to pre-travel checks already in place in the U.S. and Canada.