EU: the new ETIAS online travel authorization

EU approved etias authorisation to facilitate travel to Europe
The new European Travel Information Authorization System (ETIAS) aims at facilitating travel to Europe and improving travel security.

The European Commission first discussed the ETIAS authorisation in April 2016 in the Communication “Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Borders and Security” and adopted the proposal on November 16, 2016.

After negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council, the ETIAS Regulation (EU) 2018/1240 was adopted on September 12, 2018 and entered into force on October 9, 2018.

Table of contents:

  1. What is the ETIAS authorisation system?
  2. Who will have to apply for the ETIAS authorisation?
  3. Why implement the ETIAS system?
  4. How does the Authorisation work?
  5. When will the Authorisation System be operational?
  6. How A&P can support you
  7. Book a call
  8. Get a quotation

1. What is the ETIAS authorisation system?

First of all, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is not a visa, but a lighter and more visitor-friendly regime. EU-Lisa is responsible for the current development of the authorization system, which is still NOT operating.

ETIAS will be a largely automated IT system created to identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors travelling to the Schengen States, whilst at the same time facilitate crossing borders for the vast majority of travellers who do not pose such risks.

The key functions of ETIAS will be to:

  • Verify the information submitted by visa-exempt third country nationals (such as information related to identity, travel document, residence information, contact details etc.), to assess if they pose a risk for irregular migration, security or public health. Foreign nationals will submit the information via an online application ahead of their travel to the EU’s external borders;
  • Automatically process each application submitted via a website or a mobile application against other EU information systems (such as SIS, VIS, Europol’s database, Interpol’s database, the EES, Eurodac, ECRIS), a dedicated ETIAS watch list (established by Europol) and target, proportionate and clearly define screening rules to determine if there are factual indications or reasonable grounds to issue or refuse a travel authorisation;
  • Issue travel authorisations. In cases where no hits or elements requiring further analysis are identified, the travel authorisation is issued automatically within minutes after the application has been submitted.

2. Who will have to apply for the ETIAS authorisation?

Non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for the ETIAS authorisation. The application shall be made prior to the trip.

3. Why implement the ETIAS system?

ETIAS is among the measures undertaken as part of the Security Union. It will also help achieve the objectives of the European Agenda on Security and the European Agenda on Migration, in particular regarding border management and preventing cross-border crime and terrorism.

Thanks to ETIAS, authorities will access vital information necessary to assess potential risks with individuals travelling to the EU. They will then have the possibility to deny such autorisation if potential risks are detected.

Authorities will access the information in full respect of fundamental rights and data protection principles.

Schengen participating States will be able to manage their external borders more effectively and improve internal security. Travellers will receive confirmation to access the Country before their trip, thus substantially reducing the number of refusals of entry.

This will also facilitate legal travel across Schengen Countries.

Overall, the ETIAS authorisation system will:

  • facilitate border checks;
  • avoid bureaucracy and delays for travellers when showing up at the borders;
  • ensure a coordinated and harmonised risk assessment of third-country nationals.

 

Nationals of visa liberalisation countries will still be able to travel without a visa. Nonetheless, they will have to obtain the travel authorisation prior to travelling to the Schengen Area.

4. How does the ETIAS authorisation system work?

The ETIAS travel authorisation will be a mandatory pre-condition for entry to the Schengen States. It will be checked together with the travel documents at the border when entering the EU.

4.1. Steps for the application of the ETIAS authorisation

Applicants will be able to apply via the official website or mobile app prior to their travel. The application fee is €7,00 and will take less than 10 minutes to complete.

After filling in the online application form, the system will conduct checks against EU information systems for borders and security. The authorisation will usually be issued within minutes.

Once approved and released, the authorisation will be valid for 5 years and for multiple travels.

On the other hand, and if further checks are needed, the issueing of the travel authorisation could take up to 30 days.

5. When will the ETIAS authorisation system be active?

ETIAS is expected to be operational from May 2023. The ETIAS Regulation provides for transitional measures to ensure a smooth roll out of the system. The European Commission will communicate the confirmed date on their official website.

For further information regarding the ETIAS authorisation system, you can also refer to the official memo (PDF) for additional questions and answers on ETIAS.

 


 

6. Regulatory Framework

EU legislation:

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