EU ambassadors on Wednesday confirmed an agreement reached between the Council Presidency and the European Parliament representatives on the proposal for a European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS), which will apply to visa-exempt third country nationals wanting to travel in the Schengen area.
ETIAS will allow for advance checks and, if necessary, deny travel authorization to visa-exempt third-country nationals travelling to the Schengen area.
Visa-exempt third-country nationals will need to obtain a travel authorization before their trip, via an online application. For each application, the applicant will be required to pay a travel authorization fee of 7 euros.
The new system is expected to 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 Valentin Radev, Bulgarian minister of interior, the agreement is another important step in protecting the EU’s external borders.
“By knowing who is coming to the EU before they even arrive at the border, we will be better able to stop those who may pose a threat to our citizens,” Radev said.
How the system will function
The information submitted by visa-exempt third-country nationals 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 no hits or elements requiring further analysis are identified, the travel authorisation will be issued automatically and quickly.
According to the European council, 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.
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 authorization.
The travel authorization will not provide an automatic right of entry or stay; it is the border guard who will take the final decision.
A travel authorization will be valid for three years or until the end of validity of the travel document registered during application, whichever comes first.
Now that the agreement has been confirmed by EU ambassadors, on behalf of the Council, the regulation will be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote at first reading, and subsequently to the Council for adoption.