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05 Sep 2018

European Council adopts regulation on the establishment of ETIAS

European CouncilAfter the European Parliament gave its final agreement on the establishment of ETIAS, the European Council has now adopted a regulation on its establishment. The council adopted the regulation establishing the European Travel Information Authorization System (ETIAS) on Wednesday, September 5, 2018.

According to the Minister of Interior of Austria, the ETIAS will allow the EU system to identify travelers that pose a security threat to the EU and prevent them from entering before they even show up at the border.

ETIAS is an important tool to reinforce the control of the EU’s external border and the protection of our citizens. It will allow to identify those who may pose a security threat before they reach the European Union and deny them the authorization to travel,” the Austrian Minister said.

Now, the adopted regulation will be passed to the Council and the European Parliament for signing. The EU Office will then publish the signed regulation in their journal. 20 days later, the regulation will come into force and the eu-Lisa will start building the new system. The ETIAS will be operational by January 1, 2021.

Why is ETIAS being established?

The European Travel Information and Authorization System was first proposed by the European Commission in November 2016. The sole purpose behind such a proposal was to strengthen security checks on visa-free travelers.

Security has been a continuous concern of the European Commission since 2014, during massive flows to Europe of refugees from the Middle East and Africa. On the other hand, currently 63 countries enjoy visa-free entry to Europe.  The Schengen states many times have argued that the open border policy for third-countries gives the chance to criminals coming from these countries to enter and remain in any of the European countries. Overstayers and illegal workers have also been quite a concern for the block.

From 2021 and on, all citizens of visa-exempt countries, including countries like the US and Canada, will have to apply for an ETIAS, prior to traveling to the Schengen member states.

Though many have confused it with a visa, the ETIAS is actually not a visa. Rather, it resembles more to the ESTA used by the United States. It is estimated that the application process for an ETIAS will last around 10 minutes. The applicants will have to pay a fee of €7, for an ETIAS that may be valid from three to ten years.

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