When will etias be implemented?

On July 5th, the European Parliament has given its final agreement to implement the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, ETIAS. European authorities have decided to establish the electronic visa waiver system in the year 2021 to improve security across the Schengen Area.

The new system, ETIAS will work similarly to other electronic travel authorization programs in place throughout the world. The European Council hopes to greatly improve the safety and security of travelers passing through the Schengen Zone by way of the ETIAS visa for Europe.

ETIAS is designed to be intuitive and simple to ensure that it is easy to follow. But just how will ETIAS work?

The Etias Visa Process

According to the approved agreement made by the European Parliament this July once the ETIAS system is established, it will pre-screen travellers from visa waiver countries in order to identify security and migration risks. When arriving at the border of any European country member of the Schengen Area, travellers will need to have a valid ETIAS and a valid travel document.

The ETIAS visa process is expected to be simple and fast. Completing the ETIAS online application will take each applicant approximately 10 minutes. Travellers between ages 18 and 70 will be required to pay for the ETIAS travel authorisation to finalize the application process. Passengers will fill out an online ETIAS form to obtain a travel authorization which they will then present to border authorities upon arrival.

Among other ETIAS visa requirements, passengers will be required to provide the following:

  • Personal details
  • Passport information
  • Date of birth
  • Country of birth
  • Country of residence
  • Parents’ names
  • The applicant will need to answer questions about criminal records and trips to conflict zones:

  • Applicants must inform authorities of any convictions to serious criminal offenses including: terrorism, sexual exploitation of children, trafficking in human beings or drugs, murder, and rape.
  • The applicant must answer questions about stays in specific war or conflict zones and of any prior administrative decisions requiring them to leave a country, anywhere, in the last 10 years.

Cross-checking of EUR information Systems

The ETIAS system will cross-check all the information provided by the traveller against the EU information systems for borders, security, and migration.

These systems include:

  • Schengen Information System (SIS): is a large-scale information system that supports external border control and law enforcement cooperation in the the Schengen Area.
  • Visa Information System (VIS): this system allows all Schengen States to Exchange visa data. It has a central IT system and a communication infrastructure that links the central system to other national systems.
  • Eurodac: this is the European Union fingerprint database for identifying asylum seekers and irregular border-crossers.
  • Europol: is the European Union’s law enforcement agency.
  • Interpol: is the world’s largest international police organization with 192 member countries.

All data will be cross-checked against these European databases to determine if a person may be a security risk. These databases include not just police corps in Europe but indeed all over the world to make sure passengers are screened thoroughly.

Once submitted online or via a mobile application, applications are processed automatically. Once approved, a traveler receives their approved ETIAS visa for Europe and their travel to the European Union is thus authorized. An approved ETIAS will also have a validity of 3 years.

There will be clear rules for refusal. The corresponding national authority will have to inform the applicant about the decision or seek additional documentation within 96 hours. After additional information has been provided, the national authority will be required to make a decision within 4 weeks of the initial application date. If a passenger is denied an ETIAS visa, they will be provided a reason and will also be able to appeal the decision.

Who needs an ETIAS Visa?

Under the proposed ETIAS application process, 60 countries will be eligible to apply for ETIAS online. ETIAS travel authorizations will apply first to those who do not currently need a visa to enter Europe. These countries include the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, as well as a wide range of other eligible countries.

Please note that toward the end of 2021, the citizens of all visa-exempt countries outside the European Union will be required to complete an ETIAS application before their trip to the Schengen Area.

While the implementation of ETIAS may seem to be quite a way off, the European Council hopes to make sure that this visa program will greatly increase security on the continent and of people seeking to travel to Europe.

The eu-LISA will have a crucial role in developing and maintaining new EU information systems for migration, security, and border management. The eu-LISA will be responsible for developing the Entry Exit System (EES) and the ETIAS.

For more information, visit: europa.eu