Is ETIAS required to visit Europe?
The ETIAS system will apply to citizens of countries that do not require a visa to travel to Europe. These people must obtain their ETIAS visa before their trip, via an online application. For each request submitted, the applicant must pay an ETIAS visa fee of 7 Euros.
The information provided in the ETIAS visa application will be automatically processed through EU and Interpol databases to determine whether the ETIAS visa should be granted to the applicant.
If the application is not fraudulent, the ETIAS visa will be issued automatically and quickly. This is the case for most requests.
In the event of a fraudulent application, the request will be subject to manual processing by the immigration authorities.
The ETIAS visa will not give an automatic right of entry or stay; the border guard will make the final decision.
The ETIAS visa will be valid for three years or until the expiration date of the traveler’s document registered at the time of the application.
Four main reasons explain the introduction of ETIAS:
- There are many visitors to Europe, with around 50 million visitors last year and over 200 million admissions.
- The number of refugees and asylum seekers has increased significantly in recent years.
- Terrorism incidence has become more frequent and this has a disturbing effect on European citizens. The countries recently affected are France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
- Advances in online communication technology and the use of the Internet by travelers around the world have made the ETIAS visa application a realistic and practical means of obtaining the type of information useful to border authorities and security staff. How does ETIAS benefit the EU?
The main idea behind the scheme is to strengthen external border controls and enhance the security within these borders.
Once ETIAS is fully implemented, the EU member states will be able to:
· Make advance checks of those who wish to enter the Schengen zone.
- Deny a travel visa. Visa can be denied to citizens of countries exempted from European travel visa if the person is seen as a potential threat or risk to the EU
- Improve the internal security of the territory as a whole as each member state can Prevent illegal immigration
- Limit public health risks, and reduce delays at the borders by identifying people who might pose a risk before they arrive at the external borders
Similarities to other electronic authorization systems
Several other countries have already set up electronic authorization systems that can be filled online before the start of the trip.
In 1996, Australia set up its e-visitor service and it’s Electronic Travel Agency (ETA), to speed up the processing of visa applications for a large number of tourists wishing to visit Australia.
The United States introduced an electronic automatic travel authorization (ESTA) system in 2007 for certain passport holders. This is a visa waiver system for citizens of countries that pose a relatively low risk to the security of the United States.
Which countries will need ETIAS?
It is estimated that around 30 million people will enter Europe each year when ETIAS is fully applied in the year 2021. Currently, 60 countries have agreed on visa-free travel within the European Union, citizens of the European visa exempted countries are permitted to enter the Schengen Zone without the need to obtain a travel visa.
These arrangements only permit the citizens of countries exempted from having an European visa to remain in the Schengen Area for 90 days, which many visitors have violated. These visitors are not permitted to work, but the rule has been broken by quite a lot of them.
This is one of the reasons, why the European Union has established ETIAS, to prevent people from overstaying and working illegally, as well as to stop people with criminal records and other inconveniences from entering.
ETIAS is currently aimed at citizens of the 60 countries who are already entitled to visa-free travel within the EU. Other countries may be added before the system is introduced in 2021.
Citizens of countries such as Mexico, Canada, United States, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Venezuela need ETIAS visa.