In the EU’s Special Committee on Terrorism in January of this year, Commissioner Avramopoulos spoke to those attending about the benefits that ETIAS will offer to counteracting terrorism in Europe. Various initiatives were proposed in 2016 following a string of attacks on European soil which had a common goal of improving security in Europe. One of these schemes that is now being developed by the European Union is the Electronic Travel Authorisation and Information System.
ETIAS and its role in counteracting terrorism
The aim of these projects is to strengthen external and internal border control and the European ETIAS will work in conjunction with other initiatives and agencies to accomplish this common goal.
The strengthening of borders comes as a response to certain attacks in different European countries that have been attributed to terrorist groups from outside of the Schengen zone, therefore the European Parliament and European Council came to an agreement which included several proposals, including ETIAS and the Entry-Exit System (EES), to tackle this problem as well as other threats to European security such as illegal migration and health hazards.
What advantages does ETIAS offer for travelers to Europe?
The Europe ETIAS visa strategy will require all travelers who currently visit the Schengen Zone visa-free to apply online through the ETIAS application form for a travel authorisation for Europe by providing some basic personal information and passport details as well as answering some simple security, health and immigration-related questions. With this authorization, travelers will be able to travel to and around Europe for 3 years as many times as they wish without needing to complete further security checks or other visa paperwork.
- The ETIAS program will therefore provide information on travelers who cross external borders into Europe in order to work with other European agencies including Europol to maintain information on returning foreigners who may have ties to terrorism.
- Another advantage of ETIAS for travelers is that the system will offer information sharing between European Security agencies, allowing for better protection against the use of false identities or identity theft.
The ETIAS Online Process
The ETIAS application form will be a simple and fast process for tourists to complete online. The majority of applicants will receive their approved ETIAS visa waiver via email within minutes of applying. A small minority of applications may need to be processed individually by a member of the ETIAS organizational structure but this will only be in rare cases that the information provided cannot be digitally processed.
The new European visa waiver will allow eligible citizens from around the world to visit Europe easily and safely as well as help border control, immigration authorities and member states of the EU with security issues and fight the ever more present terrorist problem.