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New travel system to tighten security at EU borders

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New travel system to tighten security at EU borders

Frans Timmermans - Photo EC

(BRUSSELS) - Travellers coming into the EU will have to obtain prior authorisation, and pay a charge, under a new European Travel Information and Authorisation System unveiled Wednesday.

The ETIAS scheme to tighten Europe's borders, which involves an application fee of EUR 5, will gather information on all those travelling visa-free to the European Union to allow for advance irregular migration and security checks.

Securing Europe's borders and protecting its citizens is the first priority of the Commission, said its First Vice-President Frans Timmermans: "ETIAS will close an information gap by cross-checking visa exempt applicants' information against all our other systems. At the same time, the future ETIAS will be easy, quick, cheap and effective," he said.

Nationals of visa liberalisation countries will still be able to travel without a visa but will have to obtain a simple travel authorisation prior to their travel to the Schengen Area. This will help identify persons who may pose an irregular migration or security risk before they arrive at the border and significantly enhance the security of the external borders.

 

The ETIAS is also designed to bridge an existing information gap on visa-free travellers by gathering information that could be vital to Member States' authorities in advance of their arrival at the Schengen border.

The ETIAS will also facilitate the crossing of the external border by visa-exempt third country nationals. Travellers will have a reliable early indication of entry into the Schengen area which is aimed at reducing the number of refusals of entry.

In order to decide whether to issue or reject a request to travel to the EU, an automated system will conduct prior checks. Although the final decision to grant or refuse entry will always be taken by the national border guards who are conducting border controls under the Schengen Borders Code, prior verifications of all travellers will facilitate border checks and ensure a coordinated and harmonised assessment of visa-exempt third-country nationals.

The ETIAS will be managed by the European Border and Coast Guard in close cooperation with the competent authorities of the Member States and Europol.

The key functions of ETIAS will be to:

  • Verify the information submitted by visa-exempt third country nationals, via an online application ahead of their travel to the EU's external borders, to assess if they pose a risk for irregular migration, security or public health;
  • Automatically process each application submitted via a website or a mobile application against other EU information systems;
  • Issue travel authorisations.

Authorisation should be given in a matter of minutes.

The authorisation, the application for which will not take more than ten minutes to fill in and which only requires a valid travel document, will be valid for a period of five years and for multiple travels. An application fee of EUR 5 will apply to all applicants above the age of 18.

Proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System

European Travel Information and Authorisation System: Questions & Answers

FACTSHEET: A European Travel Information and Authorisation System


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