Europe is poised to join the many other regions of the world where electronic visa systems are already in place. The European Commission has proposed the implementation of an electronic visa system called the European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS. There is already a significant amount of information about how it will work and the many advantages that the ETIAS visa waiver will provide to the European Union.

How ETIAS Will Work

The European Commission has confirmed that the ETIAS system will be very similar to the ESTA program currently in place in the United States. Not all travelers will be able to apply for an ETIAS authorization, as the program is only available for citizens of about 60 visa-free countries.

Travelers from eligible countries will be asked to provide information on the ETIAS application relating to their identity and travel plans. Among other information, travelers will be asked to provide:

  • Personal details (name, surname, address, etc.)
  • Valid passport/travel document
  • Place and date of birth
  • Parents’ information

Moreover, prospective travelers will also be asked for supplementary information that relates to their trip. This may include questions related to:

  • Public health risks, criminal records
  • Previous refusal of entries
  • Employment history
  • Past European travel information

Once the application is complete, most travelers will receive their authorization within minutes though some people will have to wait as long as 2 weeks to receive a decision. The ETIAS authorization will then be sent to the traveler and it will be valid for 3 years.

ETIAS Visa Waiver Benefits and Advantages

The advantages of implementing an electronic visa system, a system already in place in many places around the world, are numerous. Plus, ETIAS benefits are not only good for the governmental agencies, but they also are advantages for travelers.

Some of the principal ETIAS advantages that are most evident are:

Time saved

With an improved and streamlined border crossing, travelers will be able to pass immigration control faster. Border officers will also save time as they will have pre-screened passengers.

Improved safety

Because ETIAS coordinates with major security databases - for example, SIS, VIS, EUROPOL and Interpol - the fight against terrorism and criminal activities will be improved, as dangerous individuals will be flagged.

Prevent illegal migration

As an ETIAS travel authorization will be necessary in order to enter the EU, illegal migration to Europe will be more difficult and will be greatly curtailed.

Better border management

An up-to-date border system that coordinates with other major systems around the world will allow officials to manage borders more efficiently, allowing them to focus on security issues.

Electronic visa systems around the world have improved security and encouraged tourism wherever they have been implemented. European authorities hope that the same success can be repeated.