Schengen Area: Agreement Reached on European Travel Information and Authorisation System

On April 25, 2018, an agreement was reached between the Council of the European Union and European Parliament representatives on the proposal for a European travel information and authorization system (ETIAS). ETIAS is meant to protect the European Union's external borders by allowing for advance checks, and, if necessary for security, the denial of travel authorisation to visa-exempt third-country nationals travelling to the Schengen area. ETIAS is expected to be operational as early as January 2020.

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Apr 25, 2018
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The situation

An agreement was reached between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament to introduce a European Travel Information System (ETIAS).

A closer look

  • Purpose of system. ETIAS will improve internal security in the Schengen area by providing advance checks of visa-exempt third-country nationals. It should also reduce border delays by identifying persons who may pose a risk before they arrive at external borders.

 

  • User and system details. Visa-exempt third-country nationals will need to obtain travel authorisation before their trip through an online application. Each application will cost EUR 7 and each travel authorisation will be valid for three years or until the end of the validity of the travel document registered during application, whichever comes first.

 

  • Processing. The information submitted in each application will be automatically processed against EU and relevant Interpol databases to determine whether there are grounds to refuse a travel authorization.
    • If none are found, the travel authorization will be issued automatically.
    • If possible grounds for refusal are found, the application will be handled by the relevant authorities. Refusal or issuance will take place no later than 96 hours after the application is submitted, or, if additional information has been requested, 96 hours after the information has been received.

 

Impact

Once the system is in place, foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries will need to ensure that they possess valid travel authorization, since air and sea carriers will be checking for these documents. Eventually, foreign nationals will also be required to have valid travel authorisation when entering the Schengen area by land.

Foreign nationals should also be aware that obtaining travel authorisation will not provide an automatic right of entry or stay; border guards will make this determination.

Background

ETIAS is modeled after existing systems in the United States, Canada and Australia.

Looking ahead

The regulation will now be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote, and subsequently sent to the European Council for adoption within the next few months. ETIAS is expected to be operational as early as January 2020.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to Beneluxinfo@fragomen.com.

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