The European Commission has outlined new rules for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
The move is considered an important step towards the entry into the operation of ETIAS by the end of 2022.
Once the system is in place, non-EU citizens travelling to the Schengen area who are exempt from the visa requirement will need to register and obtain authorisation before travelling.
This is likely to include travellers from the UK.
“The rules entering into force detail how ETIAS will work with other EU information systems it will query when conducting checks, namely the entry/exit system, the visa information system, the Schengen information system and a centralised system for the identification of member states holding conviction information on non-EU nationals,” the Commission said in a statement.
The system will cross-check travellers against EU information systems for internal security, borders and migration before their trip, helping to identify ahead of time people who may pose a risk to security or health, as well as compliance with migration rules.
The set-up of ETIAS forms part of the ongoing work to put in place a “state-of-the-art external border management system” and making sure that information systems work together in an intelligent and targeted way.
“ETIAS will not change which non-EU countries are subject to a visa requirement and will also not introduce a new visa requirement for nationals of countries that are visa-exempt,” the Commission clarified.
Visa-exempt non-EU nationals will only need a few minutes to fill in an online application which in a vast majority of cases (expected to be over 95 per cent) will result in automatic approval.
The process will be simple, fast and affordable, officials said.
The ETIAS authorisation will cost €7, which will be a one-off fee, and will be valid for three years and for multiple entries.
By Joe Cusmano