There are continuous efforts made by the leaders of EU countries and the Schengen areas to make tourism easier for visitors and EU citizens alike. These efforts have led to the establishment of visa waivers, such as the European Travel Information Authorisation System (ETIAS).
Currently, two systems are in place to facilitate free movement to and from the EU. Visitors and citizens in EU countries can take advantage of the Common Visa policy or the ETIAS visa waiver. In this article, I will be writing about both systems and the impact of the ETIAS on the Common Visa policy.
The ETIAS visa waiver is granted to visitors who want to visit one or more countries in the Schengen area. Travellers who have this can freely enter and exit any of the countries listed in the Schengen area without necessarily spending much time and effort to visit the consulate of each country to obtain visas.
On the other hand, the Common Visa policy has been established to promote tourism and entrepreneurship in the EU countries by encouraging more visitors from third-party countries. To benefit from the Common Visa policy, it is necessary first to obtain a Schengen visa for one of the countries the traveller plans to visit.
There are some countries specially listed in the EU travel policy regarding visa waivers. Citizens of these countries can visit any of the EU countries without a visa. But, the agreement that permits free travel across EU countries will be changed with the introduction of the ETIAS.
The Implication of ETIAS in the EU
With the passing of the ETIAS agreement, citizens in countries where the Common Visa policy applies will now need to register online to secure the ETIAS waiver before they can travel across countries in the EU.
While this is a new amendment to the previous travel provisions, travellers who need to get ETIAS visa waivers will not be expected to physically visit a consulate of the country they plan to visit.
Why was this Change Made?
The new ETIAS agreement among countries in the EU has been implemented for many reasons. Top on the list is the need for security across EU borders. It is expected that the ETIAS visa waiver will increase the security across the immigration borders where immigration officers will closely screen visitors coming or leaving the EU.
Also, the implementation of the ETIAS visa waiver will improve the screening of visitors to prevent the entry of people who have contagious diseases.
What to Expect with the Introduction of ETIAS?
The new agreement makes it mandatory for a review of the countries that are eligible for the Common Visa policy and others that require the ETIAS visa waiver.
The online application for an ETIAS waiver will require the travellers’ biometric information from a current passport to be submitted. After each application is screened, the applicant is sent an email with the decision that has been made by the consulate.
It is also expected that services will be improved and possibly the recruitment of more staff since the number of ETIAS applications will rise.