EU adopts new travel information and authorisation system

The European Union has adopted the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which keeps track of visitors from countries whose citizens do not require a visa to enter the Schengen area.

To apply for ETIAS authorisation, applicants are required to fill out and submit a form and pay a fee, all online. Once the form is submitted, the system will check the information, the applicant’s eligibility, and the risk they pose. If all the checks are passed the application will be approved, and the applicant informed via email. The entire process should only take a few minutes.

If the system flags the application it will then be manually processed, and could take between 96 hours and two weeks.

Applicants will undergo a detailed security check which will determine whether or not they can enter any Schengen zone country. Because citizens of countries eligible for visa-free travel to Schengen areas do not require a visa for travel of up to 90 days, ETIAS will make sure that they do not pose a security threat. The system will gather, keep track of, and update necessary information regarding the visitors to determine whether or not it is safe for them to enter the Schengen countries.

ETIAS can be used for business and tourism purposes, as well as for people visiting the Schengen area for medical and transit reasons. It will also be mandatory for travellers from all countries that do not require a visa for the Schengen area.

While security was the main reason for the adoption of ETIAS, other considerations included reducing the procedure and application times for Schengen visas, improving the management of EU country borders, impeding irregular migration, and reinforcing the visa liberalisation policy of the EU.

The system is expected to be in place by 2021.

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