security, airport, EU, Europe, Schengen, ETIAS, entry, travel, tourism, visa-free, Brexit, Brits, UK
Helsinki Airport security / Finavia

EU gives new screening system green light

The European Parliament has given its backing to ETIAS, to be a requirement for all visa-free travellers.

The European Union has officially adopted the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a pre-authorisation requirement for visa-exempt third-country nationals planning to travel to the Schengen area.

Scheduled to come into effect in 2021, ETIAS assesses who is entering the EU, from where, and whether they pose a risk to EU security.

Under the system, visitors from countries that do not need visas to travel to the Schengen area will anyway have to request an ETIAS online ahead of their trip.

Applications will cost €7 for every applicant, though it will be free for travellers under 18 and over 70. The new system is similar to the US’s Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA).

Barrier for Brits
At the moment, 62 non-Schengen countries are entitled to visa-free travel for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. The system is likely to include the UK after Brexit. However, an alternative scenario for Brits travelling in the EU may also require them to obtain a visa for €60.

The new rules are said to be aimed at easing travel to and within the EU and simplifying border checks. In a statement congratulating the EU on the move, the WTTC said it welcomed how the needs of travel and tourism were taken into account while also ensuring enhanced EU security.

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