European Parliament and Council Regulations 2018/1240 along with 2018/1241 establishing the European Travel Information Authorisation System (ETIAS) enter into force now, on 9 October 2018.
ETIAS is an electronic travel authorisation system, that allows visa-free nationals to travel to the Schengen Area. The final decision on crossing the external border lies with the Schengen Member State. ETIAS will only process the pre-travel screening to assess the security and migration risks of travellers who benefit from visa-free access to the Schengen area. With this information, Schengen Member States could deny authorisation to travellers considered to pose a security risk, or irregular migration or a risk for public health. In order to cross an external border of the Schengen Area, travellers from visa-free countries will need to have both a valid travel document and an ETIAS authorisation.
ETIAS is due to become operational by the end of 2021, while the full implementation is expected in 2022.