What you should know about ETIAS, the new permit to travel to European territory

(CNN Spanish) – Citizens of at least 60 countries traveling to Europe will, from 2023, need a permit to enter the European Union, called ETIAS.

The European Union announced in 2018 that it had set up the European Travel Information and Authorization System, ETIAS (or ETIAS for short), which will require a “pre-flight assessment of security and immigration risks for travelers benefiting from a visa-free entry into the Schengen area”.

The Schengen area is an area of ​​26 European countries that have no internal borders and allow people to move freely between them, including countries such as Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Italy and Poland.

Currently, citizens of many Latin American countries and the United States can travel to Europe for up to 90 days without any type of travel permit.

Travelers who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area, including US citizens, will need to apply for an ETIAS permit before visiting the Schengen area.

The European Commission now says that it will be necessary to have this document from May 2023.

This is what you should know.

First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, during a press conference on progress towards the creation of a European Security Union and the proposal of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) at the European Commission in Brussels, on November 16, 2016. (Image source: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Is ETIAS a visa?

No, ETIAS is not a visa, it is an authorization to travel to the European Union.

The European Commission clarifies that citizens of countries that do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area will continue to be without a visa. What changes is that travelers must process an ETIAS permit before their trip.

“ETIAS will be a simple, fast and convenient system for visitors and, in more than 95% of cases, will result in a positive response within a few minutes,” says the European Commission on its website.

To get this document, you will not have to go to the consulate, and they will not take biometric data or information like that collected during the visa process, says the European Commission. In contrast, while visas are processed within days and even months, ETIAS “takes only a few minutes” to process online.

“The ETIAS travel permit will be a necessary and expedited procedure for all visa-exempt travelers that will allow them to avoid bureaucracy and delays when presenting themselves at the border. ETIAS will fully respect this visa exemption status, facilitate the crossing of the external Schengen border and will allow visa-free visitors to enjoy its status,” she says. European Commission.

What is the shelf life of ETIAS?

The validity period of ETIAS will be three years and is valid for an unlimited number of entries, according to the European Commission.

What is the cost of permit processing?

Passengers between the ages of 18 and 70 will have to make a single payment of €7 (about US$8) for the travel permit and it will be valid for three years.

Passengers under 18 and over 70 are exempt from these payments.

Since when will this permit be necessary?

According to the European Commission website, the ETIAS permit is expected to become operational in May 2023.

At this time, the ETIAS system is not operational, no passenger data is collected, and the European Commission is providing “transitional measures to ensure the smooth deployment of the system”.

What countries need ETIAS?

This document will only be applied to citizens of countries and territories that do not need visas to enter the Schengen area. Citizens of EU member states and countries belonging to the Schengen Area will not need ETIAS.

For example: A Norwegian citizen who travels to his country from Latin America via Portugal will not need ETIAS, because Norway is a member of the Schengen area even though it is not an EU country.

Currently, citizens of 60 countries who do not need a visa to enter the European Union will need this permit.

The countries in the Americas that will need an ETIAS permit are: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Granada, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

See the full list here.

Which countries does this permit not apply to?

ETIAS does not apply to travelers from countries that require a visa to enter Europe. Currently, the countries of the Americas that are in this situation are: Belize, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Suriname.

What do the new EU border rules mean for travelers?

Why ETIAS?

Currently, EU border authorities have little information about visa-exempt travelers, so ETIAS will allow the “information gap” to be addressed, the EU says.

With ETIAS, the EU seeks to identify “security risks, irregular migration or epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors traveling to the Schengen area”. In addition, the European Commission says, the document will make it easier to cross the border for travelers who do not pose such public health and security risks.

“After completing an online application form, the system will conduct checks with EU border and security information systems and, in the vast majority of cases, issue permission to travel within minutes. In limited cases when further checks of travelers are needed, the Commission said. The European Commission stated on its website that the issuance of the travel permit could take up to 30 days.”

With this document, “the authorities will receive the vital information necessary to assess the potential risks of people traveling to the European Union and, if necessary, the travel authorization can be refused,” the European Commission adds.

According to Frontex, there are approximately 1,900 border crossings in the European Union, and it is estimated that by 2025 there will be 887 million border crossings (for 2014, there were an estimated 565 million border crossings). The European Union estimates that nearly a third of the border crossings will be by people who are not part of the European Union, which is why ETIAS seeks to control security issues in the region.

How will it work?

ETIAS will work as follows:

Before traveling, those interested must fill out an application, online, with basic data (name, age, occupation, passport number, country of entry into Europe). In addition, they must answer a questionnaire about safety and health issues, among other things. Registration, in principle, should not take more than 10 minutes.

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