In March 2019, information stories emerged warning readers in the US that they would want a brand new type of visa to go to Europe starting in 2021, prompting inquiries from our readers concerning the veracity of these claims.
On 9 March, CNN revealed an article with the headline, “United States residents will want a visa to go to Europe beginning in 2021,” which went on:
“U.S. residents touring to Europe with no visa will probably be a factor of the previous come 2021. The European Union introduced on Friday that American vacationers will want a brand new kind of visa — a European Journey Data and Authorization System or ETIAS — to go to the European Schengen Space. The Schengen Space is a zone of 26 European international locations that would not have inner borders and permit individuals to maneuver between them freely, together with international locations like Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Italy and Poland. At present, U.S. residents can journey to Europe for as much as 90 days with no visa.”
That article was subsequently syndicated by different information web sites, as a part of CNN’s wire service.
In reality, the European Journey Data and Authorization System is just not a visa. It’s a new type of journey authorization — much like the ESTA program out there to guests to the US — that residents of sure non-European international locations will want so as to make brief visits to some European international locations.
CNN rapidly corrected the errors in its authentic article, however some variations revealed by different web sites remained uncorrected, as of 15 March 2019.
The European Journey Data and Authorization System was first introduced in September 2016, not on Eight March 2019 as CNN’s article initially claimed, by Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Fee, a physique that’s akin to the chief department of the European Union (E.U.)
In his 2016 “State of the Union” speech, Juncker stated:
“We are going to defend our borders, as effectively, with strict controls, adopted by the tip of the yr, on everybody crossing them. Each time somebody enters or exits the E.U., there will probably be a file of when, the place and why. By November, we are going to suggest a European Journey Data System — an automatic system to find out who will probably be allowed to journey to Europe. This fashion we are going to know who’s touring to Europe earlier than they even get right here. And all of us want that data. What number of instances have we heard tales during the last months that the knowledge existed in a single database in a single nation, nevertheless it by no means discovered its approach to the authority in one other that might have made the distinction?”
Over the next two years, the proposal went by means of the E.U.’s considerably sophisticated ratification processes, in the end gaining the approval of the European Parliament in July 2018 and the European Council in September 2018. On 19 September 2018, the laws establishing ETIAS had been revealed within the Official Journal of the E.U.
In response to our inquiries, a spokesperson for Frontex, the E.U.’s Border and Coast Guard Company that oversees ETIAS, informed us that since September 2018, “no vital new developments” emerged in relation to this system, which the spokesperson stated continues to be on monitor to be launched in 2021.
For that purpose, it’s not clear what prompted the March 2019 information stories about ETIAS. CNN’s authentic article claimed that the E.U. had “introduced” what the article mistakenly known as a “new kind of visa” on Eight March, linking to a put up on the web site Etiasvisa.com, which bore the headline “ETIAS Visa Waiver for Individuals.”
Nonetheless, as we have now defined, the ETIAS program was first introduced in 2016 and formally ratified in 2018. Moreover, the spokesperson for Frontex confirmed that Etiasvisa.com is just not operated by the European Fee or some other E.U. company or physique. Together with the web site Etias.com, it’s an unofficial, privately run website.
As of March 2019, the residents of 60 non-European international locations don’t want a visa for brief visits to a bunch of 26 European international locations referred to as the “Schengen Space” (named after the city of Schengen, Luxembourg, the place the 1985 settlement that fashioned the Schengen Space was signed).
Traditionally and in precept, vacationers shifting between Schengen states noticed no inner border checks, though in recent times some Schengen international locations have availed themselves of a controversial, non permanent reinstatement of inner Schengen border controls.
The 60 “visa-exempt” international locations embody the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and several other Asian, Pacific and South American nations. The complete listing is on the market right here.
The Schengen Space consists of 22 E.U. member states (together with Germany, France, Spain, and Italy) in addition to 4 non-E.U. international locations: Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Two E.U. member states, Eire and the U.Ok., have opted out of the Schengen settlement.
4 different E.U. member states — Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Croatia — haven’t but joined the Schengen Space, though Bulgaria and Romania are at the moment within the strategy of being admitted. This official map outlines the Schengen Space:
Vacationers from one of many 60 visa-exempt international locations can enter and transfer all through the Schengen Space for a most of 90 days in any 180-day interval, supplied they’ve a sound passport and border brokers don’t decide that they current a risk to public security and safety.
These touring from one of many roughly 100 “visa-obliged” international locations (largely in Africa and the Center East) should receive a visa prematurely. This “brief keep” visa system permits the holder to enter and transfer all through the Schengen Space (once more, for a most of 90 days in any 180-day interval). Nonetheless, it additionally permits E.U. member states to acquire advance details about would-be guests and make a case-by-case choice on whether or not to confess them into their nation (and thereby, into the Schengen Space), a functionality that’s inherently advantageous from a safety standpoint.
In contrast, E.U. member states and E.U. authorities usually achieve little advance data concerning the arrival of holiday makers from visa-exempt nations, presenting a safety legal responsibility that the ETIAS program was designed to deal with. A European Parliament briefing doc explains the impetus behind ETIAS:
“For the needs of combating severe crime and terrorism, legislation enforcement authorities can receive data on visa holders from the visa data system (VIS). For visa-exempt vacationers, that is solely potential in the event that they arrive by air, as, in line with the PNR Directive, knowledge on such vacationers are transferred to the Member States’ legislation enforcement authorities to course of for the aim of stopping, detecting, investigating and prosecuting terrorist offences and severe crime. Nonetheless, for visa-exempt passengers arriving on foot or by automotive, bus or practice, no such comparable data exists previous to their arrival.”
In response to a reality sheet revealed by the European Fee, the fundamental strategy of making use of for journey authorization below ETIAS ought to work as follows:
- Vacationers full an internet utility which takes round 10 minutes
- The applying charge is €7 (roughly $8)
- After an automatic search of quite a few databases, round 95 p.c of functions ought to be accepted inside minutes
- If the applying is just not mechanically accepted, it goes to Frontex for handbook evaluation for an additional 96 hours
- Of the 5 p.c whose functions usually are not mechanically accepted, a majority ought to be accepted after 96 hours. If the applying has nonetheless not been accepted at that time, a choice can be made inside 4 weeks.
- If the applying is refused, a traveler can attraction the outcome within the Schengen nation the place they intend to land or arrive
- The journey authorization can be legitimate for 3 years, or till the traveler’s passport expires (whichever occurs first).
Additional particulars concerning the deliberate workings of the ETIAS program may be discovered on this European Fee reality sheet.