European travel information and authorisation system

European travel information and authorisation system

European travel information and authorisation system

The FINANCIAL -- On 5 September 2018 the Council adopted a regulation establishing a European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS).

ETIAS is an important tool to reinforce the control of the EU's external border and the protection of our citizens. It will allow to identify those who may pose a security threat before they reach the European Union and deny them the authorisation to travel.

ETIAS will allow for advance checks and, if necessary, deny travel authorisation to visa-exempt third-country nationals travelling to the Schengen area. It will help improve internal security, prevent illegal immigration, protect public health and reduce delays at the borders by identifying persons who may pose a risk in one of these areas before they arrive at the external borders., according to the European Council.

Functioning of the system

The system will apply to visa-exempt third country nationals. They will need to obtain a travel authorisation before their trip, via an online application. For each application, the applicant will be required to pay a travel authorisation fee of 7 euros.

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 authorisation. If no hits or elements requiring further analysis are identified, the travel authorisation will be issued automatically and quickly. This is expected to be the case for most applications.

If there is a hit or an element requiring analysis, the application will be handled manually by the competent authorities. In this case, the ETIAS central unit will first check that the data recorded in the application file corresponds to the data triggering a hit. When it does or where doubts remain, the application will be processed manually by the ETIAS national unit of the responsible member state. The issuing or refusal of an application which has triggered a hit will take place no later than 96 hours after the application is submitted or, if additional information has been requested, 96 hours after this information has been received.

Before boarding, air carriers and sea carriers will need to check whether third country nationals subject to the travel authorisation requirement are in possession of a valid travel authorisation. From three years after the entry into operations of ETIAS this obligation will also apply to international carriers transporting groups overland by coach, according to the European Council.

The travel authorisation will not provide an automatic right of entry or stay; it is the border guard who will take the final decision.

A travel authorisation will be valid for three years or until the end of validity of the travel document registered during application, whichever comes first.

Next steps

The Council and the European Parliament now need to sign the adopted regulation. The signed text will be published in the EU Official Journal and will enter into force 20 days later. eu-LISA, is expected to start building the new system, which should be operational by 2021.