Currently, there are a significant number of countries whose citizens are permitted to enter the EU and Schengen member countries without the need to obtain a visa. These visitors are limited to a 3 month stays and their visit is supposed to be for the purposes of tourism or business. There are restrictions whereby visa free travellers are not permitted to work or to study. However, these travellers will require an ETIAS to travel to Europe for tourism, business or transit purposes.
Starting January 01 2021, Travellers that currently do not need a visa to visit EU member countries will require an ETIAS. The ETIAS proposal was finalised November 2016. By implementing ETIAS, the EU Commission intends to improve the security of the Schengen area primarily requiring these visa-free travellers to obtain travel authorisation and undergo various security checks prior to their arrival to the EU. The ETIAS would ensure possible security threats are identified and dealt with outside EU borders and ensures citizens remain safe from such threats inside the EU.
How will ETIAS work?
Launch - The ETIAS has a target launch date of January 01 2021.
Application - The ETIAS must be applied for online prior to arrival to the EU. Each eligible traveller to the EU will require an ETIAS.
Form fields - The following data will be required for each ETIAS application: personal biometric data (e.g. name, gender, data of birth, etc), passport or travel document information, EU member state of entry, background questions on an applicant's health, criminal record as well as previous EU immigration history.
Fee - The cost of an ETIAS is €7, however, individuals under the age of 18 will not need to pay the fee.
Application process - Upon submission, each application will be checked across SIS / VIS / EUROPOL DATA / SLTD (Interpol) / EURODAC / ECRIS etc), the ETIAS screening rules as well as the ETIAS watchlist. If the application is matched to information from any of these databases, the application will undergo manual processing by the ETIAS Central and / or ETIAS National Units.
Application Decision - Usually, a decision will be reached by the system within minutes. If an ETIAS application is approved, it will be issued for a period of three years or until the date of the applicant's passport expiry, whichever date is sooner. If an ETIAS application is denied, the applicant will receive a reason for the refusal as well as information on the country or authority deciding against the ETIAS being approved.
Boarding - The ETIAS can only be used for transit, tourism and business travel. As ETIAS will be checked by carriers prior to a traveller boarding by air, land or sea. If an ETIAS is not approved, the traveller will not be allowed to board the travel vessel, be it an airplane, boat or bus.
Arrival at the EU - Upon entry into the Schengen zone, a border guard will make the decision on admitting a traveller based on the information in the EES system, the approved ETIAS, as well as the travel documents and disposition of the traveller.
Revocation and Annulment
If an application is deemed to have been submitted fraudulently or the applicant's circumstances have changed, an ETIAS may be revoked if the conditions of approval are no longer valid. A revocation or annulment is performed by authorities in the EU Member State which first receives the applicant.
Implications for UK travellers to the EU
There was no indication in the report that British people would be subject to this new Europe ETIAS but he did say that any negotiations with the United Kingdom could only begin after Article 50 has been triggered. This agreement was reached between the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council which represents all the 27 EU members and would likely remain until the British government has fulfilled its obligations under the Brexit vote and triggered Article 50.
According to research fellow, Camino Mortera-Martinez, whose specialist area is in justice and home affairs at the Centre for European Reform, UK citizens in Europe may be counted as 3rd country nationals. Any immigration requirements imposed on other 3rd countries could apply to Britain too. You never see as many Turks window shopping in major European cities like Paris as you do Germans, as Turkey is considered a 3rd country which does not allow its citizens freedom of movement throughout EU countries. It doesn’t matter how safe Canada is or how unlikely it is to breed terrorists, it will still be considered a 3rd country under EU definitions.