In 2018 the European Commission announced they were taking measures to increase security, including creating the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). Although legislative proposals have been in place since 2016, this announcement has since raised questions on what will be required of non-EU citizens to Europe visiting less than 90 days, who currently do not require a visa. Although some rumors have circulated that ETIAS will mean having to obtain a visa, in actuality it will be a pre-travel screening.
A press release from the European Union last year stated that ETIAS “will ensure that we no longer have an information gap on visa-free travellers. Anyone who poses a migratory or security risk will be identified before they even travel to EU borders, while the travel of bona fide travellers will be facilitated.” Although ETIAS will mean an extra step for non-EU citizens and visa-free visitors, the EU is aiming to keep the process “affordable, simple and fast.” In fact, “Completing the online application should not take more than 10 minutes with automatic approval being given in over 95% of cases,” the European Commission stated. The cost to complete the application is a €7 fee for applicants between the ages of 18 and 70, and granted authorization will then be valid for three years.
Once the application is submitted it will go through automatic processing based upon the submitted details of identity, travel documents and answers to the background questions. Response is typically given within minutes unless there is a “hit” from the automatic process which would then require manual processing by ETIAS staff.
ETIAS is expected to be operational by 2021 which means citizens from 60 countries, including US travelers, to Europe will need to gain pre-travel screening.
This new regulation does spark questions on how it will impact students wanting to study abroad through short term programs. Currently, US citizens studying abroad in Europe for less than 90 days do not need authorization, however, after ETIAS goes into effect, that will change. If the ETIAS approval process is as simple and fast as anticipated, then it might mean short term study abroad programs will not be impacted apart from adding one more step to the process.
Share your thoughts with us- do you think ETIAS will be seamless or possibly impact the amount of students studying abroad?