EU Commission has now revealed new details on the ETIAS Travel Authorisation program to be launched on January 1, 2022. It will, however, become completely effective and obligatory for travellers only by the end of 2022.
Nowadays many countries that are not in the European Union (EU) whose citizens can enter the EU Schengen Zone without needing a visa. Specifically, there are currently 62 countries that are not in the EU but are visa-free.
Citizens of these 62 countries are allowed to go in the Schengen Zone for business or travel purposes for up to 90 days. During these 90 days, these visitors are not allowed to work or study but can engage in business and tourism activities.
In addition, recent security concerns with terrorism and migration issues have called for a better management of who is entering the EU borders. The EU has continuously declared its goal of making travelling within its borders a more secure experience.
To reduce procedures and waiting times, as well as address the security concerns, the European Commission (EC) has come up with a solution named ETIAS.
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It’s an electronic system that allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. In a way, it resembles the U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose.
The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS have started in 2016, and the system is expected to be launched from the 1st of January 2022. It will, however, become completely effective and obligatory for travellers by the end of 2022.
The ETIAS will undergo a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether they can be allowed to enter any Schengen Zone country. While citizens of countries who do not need a visa for travel purposes of up to 90 days in the EU do not need to go through a long process of applying for the visa, the ETIAS will make sure that these people are not a security threat. This travel authorization system will gather, keep track of, and update necessary information regarding all visitors to determine whether it is safe for them to enter the Schengen countries.
The ETIAS, besides being used for business and tourist purposes, will also allow people to visit the Schengen countries for medical and transit reasons. In addition, it will be mandatory for all countries that are Schengen visa-free.
Until the launching of the system, more countries might be added to the list, but at the moment, all citizens of the above-mentioned countries will be obliged to obtain ETIAS authorisation before entering any EU country.
Moving forward all travels destination will be divided in geographical zones, such as USA (ESTA), Europe (ETIAS), UK, Asia and Africa.