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EU Lawmakers Adopt ‘ETIAS’ Travel Authorization System

Upgraded Boarding Card control points.

Photo Source: Athens International Airport

The European Parliament has given the green light for the establishment of the new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which will allow for advanced 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.

“ETIAS will ensure that we no longer have an information gap on visa-free travelers. Anyone who poses a migratory or security risk will be identified before they even travel to EU borders, while the travel of bona fide travelers will be facilitated,” Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said.

European Commissioner for Migration, Citizenship and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos.

European Commissioner for Migration, Citizenship and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The Parliament on Thursday also agreed to strengthen the mandate of eu-LISA, the EU Agency for the operational management of large scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice.

“A stronger eu-LISA will be the nerve center of our information systems for borders, migration and security,” Avramopoulos added.

Both approved texts will now have to be adopted by the Council. The President of the European Parliament and the rotating Presidency of the Council will then sign the texts into law. Following their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, the regulations will enter into force 20 days later, which will enable eu-LISA to start building ETIAS and make these new information systems operational by the end of 2021.

WTTC Applauds EU decision

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) congratulated the EU on the adoption of the new ETIAS.

“We see this as an important first step in the digitilization of travel. The ultimate aim will be the use of biometric technology to ensure seamless, more efficient and more secure travel,” said Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of WTTC.

WTTC also stressed the importance of the process to be made as easy as possible for legitimate travelers and advocated for the fees to remain at a reasonable level.

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