INFORMATION ABOUT THE NEW AUTHORISATION SYSTEM TO TRAVEL ACROSS THE EUROPEAN UNION
WHAT EXACTLY IS ETIAS?
The ETIAS visa is an electronic authorisation that allows visa-free nationals to board a carrier to travel to the Schengen Zone. The difference between an ETIAS authorisation and a Schengen visa is that the process of the former is automated and centralized across the Schengen Area whereas a European visa is processed on a case-by-case basis by the visa officials of each Member State. The ETIAS visa is similar to the ESTA of the USA or the eTA of Canada.
ETIAS is part of a European intergovernmental legislative initiative created to enforce the security of the Member States. It is set to commence in 2021.
The electronic travel authorisation is an immigration control tool used to address the potential threats of ineligible individuals before they can cross the borders of the EU. ETIAS together with EES (Entry-Exit System) will speed up, facilitate, reinforce and modernize the border control procedures by offering better protection against document and identity fraud. ETIAS visa is an early indication as to whether or not an EU visa-exempt traveler is admissible into the Schengen Zone and the adoption of this travel authorisation will considerably reduce the number of refusals of entry to Europe. Each citizen from the visa-free countries needs to apply for ETIAS prior to boarding. Once issued, a valid authorisation will allow its holder to stay in 26 different countries in Europe for a period of up to 90 days in any 180-day period and it is valid for 3 years from the date of issuance or until the expiry date of the passport, whichever comes first.
ETIAS Online Authorisation will be a requirement to enter the following Countries in the Schengen Area:
HOW DOES ETIAS WORK?
The European Border and Coast Guard is in charge of the ETIAS visa in cooperation with Europol and other Member State authorities. Holding an ETIAS does not guarantee its holder entry to the EU as the decision to grant or refuse entry is made by the national border guards through an in-person screening process at the port of entry. However, the ETIAS application is an automated system which will conduct prior checks in order to determine whether to issue or deny a request to the EU. This pre-verification process will facilitate and speed up border checks.
The application process is simple, immediate and can be done online. It only takes up to 10 minutes and costs €7. Each individual traveling in a group needs to be authorized. However, applicants under the age of 18 do not need to pay for the processing fee. Once an application is submitted, the ETIAS application system will:
- Verify the information provided by the applicants in advance of their travel to the external borders of the EU. Basic information of visa-free third country citizens will be collected such as identity, permanent residence address, contact details (emails and phone numbers). As to documentation requirements, applicants need to hold a valid passport issued by one of the countries in the visa-exempt list. From the given information, it will assess if an applicant will pose a risk to the European Community in terms of migration, security or public health.
- Process automatically using the information on the application to cross-check against various EU information systems (such as SIS, VIS, Europol, Interpol, Eurodac, and so forth) and also against an ETIAS watchlist. It will determine whether the authorisation to enter Europe can be granted or refused.
- Issue or refuse the authorisation. If approved, the applicant will receive the ETIAS authorisation directly by email. In case of denial, an email with reasons for refusal will be sent.
It is strongly recommended that you start to apply for an ETIAS at least 72 hours (3 days) prior to your departure. Although the authorisation is linked to your passport, it is advisable to bring your ETIAS authorisation email printout to the airport to prevent being denied boarding. The validity of the ETIAS visa application is strictly related to that of the passport used to complete the application. The ETIAS authorisation can be revoked and annulled if the conditions for issuing it no longer apply. Therefore, it is recommended to check the status of your ETIAS application a few days before your departure date.
Documentation Requirements and Applicable Fees
In order to apply for an ETIAS, you will need the following:
- A valid passport issued by a visa-exempt country
- A valid credit card to pay the application fee of 7 euro. Applicants under the age of 18 do not need to pay
- Your contact information including the physical address of your permanent residence, your phone number and your email address
You can apply for an ETIAS directly online. Once your application is submitted, it will be screened across various systems to determine whether authorisation can be granted or not. If your application is approved, you will receive the ETIAS visa directly by email. In case of denial, you will receive an email explaining the reason of refusal.
Why ETIAS Authorisation?
In recent years security in the European Union has frequently made the headlines, made the headlines from the terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and Germany to the immigration crisis in Italy, to name a few. The European Union as a supranational body is urged to address and respond to these threats. This sets the milieu for various measures proposed by the European Commission to strengthen external border controls as well as to enhance internal security within the EU community. One of the approaches is the establishment of the ETIAS which stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System. This system applies to the citizens of countries which are not part of the EU but are granted the privilege to access the EU without an entry visa.
As agreed by many high-profile European officers, information of visa-free travelers should be gathered before they enter the Schengen Area. By implementing this, the European Union authorities will be able to control who crosses the borders. The principal of ETIAS is that it will allow the EU border-control officers to cross-check the information of travelers who enter the Schengen Area against all of the security systems that exist across the EU.