In November, 2016, the European Commission proposed the establishment of a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) to “strengthen security of travel to the Schengen area under visa-free agreements.” Sound familiar? ETIAS is, in its design, very similar to the US Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), the US system for providing travelers in the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) approval to travel to the US before their actual journey.
What will this change for the traveling public?
Visa-free travelers from countries outside of the EU will be required to fill out an online application and pay a 5 EURO fee prior to travel/entry. Eligible applicants will receive a valid travel authorization in response that could be eligible for up to 5 years.
What will this change for the border/immigration community?
Clearly governments will have access to much more advance information. Technology providers will have an opportunity to expand the kiosk empire and develop new token concepts and related CONOPs to ensure that this new requirement does not increase wait times at EU ports of entry. At least, here’s hoping… (following a recent 2 hour wait time at an EU airport border check).