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25 Apr 2018

EU Ambassadors Approve Electronic Travel Authorization System (ETIAS) for Third Countries


EU: ETIAS about to improve visa-free travelling pre-entry controlThe European Parliament representatives and the European Council Presidency have reached an agreement on the proposal for the establishment of a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). According to a press release published today on the official website of the European Council the agreement has been confirmed by the EU ambassadors.

As stated in this release, the Bulgarian Minister of Interior, Valentin Radev, assessed that this agreement is just another very important step in the protection of the external borders of the European Union.

“By knowing who is coming to the EU before they even arrive at the border, we will be better able to stop those who may pose a threat to our citizens,” Radev is quoted to have said.

ETIAS

ETIAS, which acronym stands for the European Travel Information and Authorization System, is a visa waiver pre-screening program proposed to be created by the European Union for visitors wishing to enter this area. The main purpose for the establishment of such system is protection and strengthening of the EU external borders.

The European Council proposed the establishment of this program on June 2017, after a few years during which the European Union countries faced continuous terrorist attacks and immigration flows among others. The program is foreseen to start its implementation on January 2020.

It is a system very similar to the United States Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), while many other countries have established similar schemes.

Currently, the nationals of 62 non-Schengen area countries are allowed to enter the EU without a visa, for up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Next Steps

The next step to be taken in this regard, after the agreement has been confirmed by the EU ambassadors on behalf of the Council, the regulations will be submitted to the European Parliament. If the regulation gathers the necessary votes at first reading, then it will be passed to the Council for adoption.

ETIAS in a post-Brexit UK

After the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in March 2019, and the ETIAS starts its implementation in 2020, Britons will most probably fall under the category of the countries the nationals of which will have to obtain an ETIAS before getting permission to enter any of the European Union member states.

Though it has been unclear how traveling of UK nationals to the EU will be organized in a post-Brexit Europe, few of the EU nationals have claimed that Britain will automatically fall under the category of third world countries, once it finally leaves the EU, which means the UK will fall under the ETIAS Europe Form. Whether this system will be applied to the UK or not, will only be known after it definitely leaves Europe, or about that time.

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