The European Travel Information and Authorisation System has won formal approval from the European Union.
A pre-authorisation system, it will allow the EU to know who is entering the region, from where and if they pose a risk to security.
The new system was adopted at the European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg and is expected to come into operation in 2021.
When ETIAS comes into operation, all visa-exempt third-country nationals who plan to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for pre-travel authorisation.
The aim of this is to ease travel to the EU and simplify border checks.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for migration, said: “The new 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.”
ETIAS will be free for under 18s and over 70s.
Applying for ETIAS aims to be quick and simple, requiring no more than a travel document, credit card and access to internet.
A majority of applicants will receive a positive reply within minutes.
If additional information, documentation or an interview would be needed, different possibilities will be offered taking into account the situation of the traveller.
During negotiations, the World Travel & Tourism Council stressed the importance of the process to be made as easy as possible for legitimate travellers.
In addition to the ease of process, WTTC also advocated for the fees to remain at a reasonable level, one that did not discourage travellers from coming to Europe.
The final fee of seven euros meets this balance.
“We see this as an important first step in the digitalisation of travel.
“The ultimate aim will be the use of biometric technology to ensure seamless, more efficient and more secure travel.
“WTTC is committed to enhancing security and improving the entire passenger journey.
“This will essentially maximise the potential of the tourism to create jobs and drive economic growth,” stated Gloria Guevara, WTTC president.
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