“There are more than 30 million travellers from 60 visa-free countries who come to Europe every year about whom the authorities have no information until they actually arrive. Those arriving for tourism or business purposes are welcome in Europe. Those coming with the intention to conduct criminal activities, including terrorism, will now be detected way ahead of their arrival by the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System.” With these words, Kinga Gál MEP, the European Parliament Spokeswoman on the ETIAS, welcomed today’s final approval of the new EU legislation by the European Parliament.
The ETIAS, a system similar to the ESTA system in the US, will be based on an online registration of third country nationals who plan to arrive in the EU and who don’t need a visa. Their application will be followed by a check in a number of EU and international security databases. With a valid permission to entry, these travellers will be able to come repeatedly to the Schengen countries in the three following years.
“All the application process is fully electronic and accessible online or from a mobile app. Even a necessary fee of €7, which will cover the costs of the ETIAS, will be payable by credit card. We want to keep Europe open to tourists and people coming for business reasons but keep them safe at the same time. Our intention is to know who is coming without creating an administrative burden on travellers.”
Roberta Metsola MEP, the EPP Group Spokeswoman in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, added: “ETIAS is one of the most important pieces of EU legislation in the area of security that the EPP Group has managed to negotiate. It means that we will now know who is coming into Europe, who is crossing our borders, who stays here and whether they are involved in criminal activity inside or outside the EU. This is a game-changer for how we approach security in the Union. ETIAS is an essential part of the tools we have created, including having Smart Borders, the EU Passenger Record Database and the Schengen Information System. We need to keep adapting our legislation to ensure that we remain one step ahead of the practices used by criminals and terrorists - with ETIAS we will help keep people safe.”