European Travel Information and Authorisation System
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS is an online application system established by the European Union Commission to screen travelers before they are allowed to board a ship or an airplane bound for the Schengen Area. This application, available for nationals of visa-exempted Countries, will allow travelers to access the Schengen Area for short-term stays (less than 90 days in a total period of 6 months).
Who should apply for ETIAS?
All nationals from short-stay visa-exempted countries will need an ETIAS authorization to determine their eligibility to enter the Schengen area.
Schengen Area Members:
When will ETIAS be mandatory? And how to apply.
The European Union released an official roadmap setting the deadline for the new authorization system to be effective in the year 2021. Starting from this year travelers without a valid ETIAS authorisation may be refused to board.
Applying for an ETIAS will be easy and straightforward. Applications can be submitted online either through the EU official website or private companies websites. The cost should be around ten euros and the validity of the authorization should span for three years.
What is the current status of ETIAS?
Even though the ETIAS program is currently in its incubation period, the implementation will take place in the near future. The EU Commission is going to table more proposal details shortly. The proposals are going to clarify the eligibility of the UK and Irish citizens. Although the EU Commission has already revealed the list of the countries which are eligible for ETIAS, there could be some procedural changes involving some of the countries in the Balkan area (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Albania). The changes could be due to geographical and cultural proximity to Schengen area member countries and the citizens of the above listed countries could be exempted from the ETIAS program in the future.
Other Electronic Authorisation Systems
Similar electronic authorizations have been introduced in the past ten years by other countries around the world.
The United States introduced the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) in 2007. The primary purpose is to reduce potential risks and enhance national security in relation to immigration and terrorism.
Other countries are taking/have taken the same measure to enhance national border security:
Canada (eTA), Turkey (eVisa), Australia (eTA), UK.