On 25 April, The European Council has published on their website a release about confirmation on the proposal for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to strengthen security checks on visa-free travellers. Comparing to previous version authorisation fee was changed to €7.
According to the release non-EU citizens will still be able to travel without a visa but will have to apply for travel authorisation prior to their visit to the Schengen Zone with fee €7. Authorisation will be valid for a period of three years or until the end of validity of the travel document.
The information submitted by applicant will be automatically processed by relevant databases to determine whether there are grounds to refuse a travel authorisation.
“Do not be afraid of new rules. This is a global trend – it is enough to mention that almost simultaneously with the EU similar norms about the prior notification for citizens of a number of countries are planned to be introduced by Ukraine. Moreover, this is a question of security not only for EU citizens but also for those who travel there, because if the system works efficiently, it will become an additional barrier for criminals and terrorists. Comparisons with the visa regime are not very relevant as this system requires considerably less time, effort and money to obtain authorization than visa application“- Iryna Sushko, Executive Director of Europe without Barriers.
In case if data is filled out correct on the application form and citizen is eligible and not risky for the ETIAS, then he will be approved. This whole procedure is expected to be completed in only a few minutes or even seconds.
Otherwise, if there is a hit from the ETIAS, the application will be manually processed within 4 days (96 hours).
Before entering the EU Schengen Zone, passenger must have except all needed documents valid travel authorisation. But the final decision is still made by the border guard.
The next stage will be presentation of this project to the European Parliament, then – to the Council for adoption.
The proposal on establishing the ETIAS system was published by European Commission on November 16 2016, being later amended several times. For example, authorisation fee at the initial version was suppoused to be €5, but then revised by European Parliament committee to €10.
According to the initial project, the system will be mandatory for citizens of all “visa-free” countries, e.g., USA, Canada, Australia, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine – over 60 countries and territories in total.
At the same time some categories of travelers should not register in ETIAS:
– holders of long-stay visas
– holders of a local border traffic permits,
– holders of diplomatic passports
– crew members of ships or aircraft while on duty
– third-country nationals who are family members of EU citizens or a national of a third country enjoying the right of free movement under the Union law and hold a valid residence card
– recognized refugees, stateless persons
– other persons who reside and hold a travel document issued by a Member State