The European Commission, Council, and Parliament have reached an agreement regarding the future of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), according to an announcement published by the by Commission.
ETIAS, according to the announcement, is a system being put into place that will require visa-exempt travelers to the EU and Schengen Area to register before arriving, so that the system can cross-reference travelers’ info with other systems to enhance security, public health, and migration rules.
ETIAS will not change which countries are subject to a visa requirement or not, according to the announcement. It will also not add a new visa requirement to nationals of countries that require a visa to enter the Schengen area.
It will, however, require nationals of countries with visa-free travel to the Schengen Area to register into the ETIAS system before arrival, fill out an information form, and pay €7 to process their application. More than 95% of applications are expected to be approved, and an approved application will be valid for 3 years and for multiple entries.
The agreement made by the three EU governing bodies will allow ETIAS to be developed in such a fashion that will allow for the system to be interoperable with existing EU systems. This will result in “faster, more systematic information for law enforcement officers, border guards, and migration officials, where information was previously stored separately in unconnected systems,” according to the announcement.
The ETIAS system is planned to be fully operational by the end 2022, and integrated with other EU systems by 2023.
The agency responsible for managing the project is eu-LISA, which is tasked with managing all large-scale IT projects in the area of freedom, security, and justice. On operational, ETIAS will be managed by Member States with close cooperation with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) and Europol.
The agreement made on ETIAS is a big step for EU governing bodies and will likely have large effects on the EU’s ability to mitigate migration risks from visa-free third countries.
“Our police officers and border guards need to have the right tools to do their jobs – keeping our citizens safe and our borders secure. Anyone who poses a migratory or security risk will be identified before they even travel to EU borders, while bona fide travellers’ journeys will be made that much easier. This is an essential step in building a Security Union with strong external borders and faster, more systematic information for law enforcement officers, border guards and migration officials on the ground,” said Margaritis Schinas, Vice President for Promoting Our European Way of Life.