On July 5th, the European Parliament officially approved and adopted the ETIAS proposal. The parliament has given its final agreement to implement the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, ETIAS, in order to strengthen the borders of the Schengen Area. It is estimated that the ETIAS system will be launched in 2021.
Out of the 609 parliament members who voted, 494 decided in favour of approving the ETIAS system. The European Parliament has also agreed to strengthen the eu-LISA, the EU Agency that will be in charge of implementing ETIAS. At the moment the eu-LISA carries out the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the areas of freedom, security, and justice. Both the ETIAS system and the eu-LISA were political priorities fro 2018 and 2019.
ETIAS proposal to be implemented in 2021
The ETIAS system is expected to be operational in the year 2021, even though previously it had been speculated that the program would be launched in the year 2020. The goal of implementing this travel authorisation system is to pre-screen all travellers from visa exempt nations who wish to enter the Schengen Area. One of the most important things that citizens from visa exempt countries should know is that those travellers who pose a security risk to the Schengen Zone will be refused entry to the EU. The ETIAS application will include questions on criminal record and trips to conflict zones.
There are three requirements to complete the ETIAS application successfully, one of them is to have a valid passport from a visa waiver country. All applicants must have an email address where they will receive notifications about the status of their application and where they will also be notified when the ETIAS has been approved. Finally, when registering with the ETIAS system, the applicant must have a valid method of payment, this can be a debit or credit card to pay for the application fee. If an application is not paid, it cannot be submitted for evaluation. All travellers ages 18 to 70 must have a valid ETIAS upon arrival in the Schengen Zone.
In order to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver to visit the Schengen Area, the traveller will need to complete an online ETIAS registration form in which they should provide their personal info. The ETIAS form will ask of the applicant to fill in their full name, country of residence, nationality and date of birth. All applicants must complete the form with the details of their valid passport. It is the last part of the application where the traveller will need to answer questions about their criminal records, health, and whether they have visited conflict zones.
In the rare case that an application is denied, the applicant will have the opportunity to provide additional documentation over a period of 96 hours. The national authority has four weeks to evaluate the application from the date it was completed and make a decision. Applicants can appeal if the ETIAS is denied.
All information provided by the applicant will be screened against several security databases including the Europol, Interpol, Eurodac, the Visa Information System and the Schengen Information System. It is strongly advised to be honest when completing the ETIAS application, the automated system will be designed to identify individuals who might pose a threat to the security of the region.