ETIAS – Australian Citizens may enter the EU Schengen countries without a visa for the purpose of tourism or business only. Along with 61 other countries outside the European Union, these travellers may not study or work in the EU Schengen countries without a visa and may only visit for up to 90 days.

Recent terrorism issues and migrant crises have led to security concerns resulting in a call for improved control over EU border crossings. The European Union has always strived to ensure secure travel within its regions. To this end, the European Commission has introduced the ETIAS –  European Travel Information and Authorization System. The ETIAS Visa Europe will identify risks to the security of European countries through a quick, cost-effective and efficient process.

For Australian passport holders, this means that after the implementation of the new policy all citizens will have to submit an online application prior to their arrival to the following European countries:

The following information regarding ETIAS aims to answer pertinent questions and outline who qualifies to apply.

What is ETIAS?

The ETIAS is an electronic system which will track visitors to Schengen countries who do not require visas and is expected to be in place by 2021. An acronym for European Travel Information and Authorization System, it is very similar to Australia’s Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).

Citizens of certain countries may visit countries within the Schengen zone for up to 90 days to engage in business or tourism activities, but they may not work or study in the country during this time. The ETIAS will process all such travellers not required to hold a travel visa, be they, tourists, on business, visiting for medical reasons or simply in transit to elsewhere (e.g.: Etias Spain or Etias France).

Entry to any Schengen country will be subject to successfully passing the ETIAS’s full security check. It will be up to this security system to determine the potential threat posed by passport holders not requiring a visa for travel of less than 90 days. These passport holders do not have to endure the rigours of applying for a visa. Pertinent information which applicants provide online will simply be gathered, tracked and updated by ETIAS to ensure eligibility for entry into the Schengen zone.

Why do we need ETIAS Visa?

Security within the European Union is the main reason behind approving the ETIAS authorisation system. By gathering applicants’ information and data, ETIAS is able to detect any potential threat to Schengen countries’ security. Permission for entry can be denied, eliminating possible security threats within EU borders before they can become a reality.

The benefits ETIAS will bring extend beyond security, making travel safer and simpler by bringing: 

  • Savings in both time and stress for tourists and travellers
  • A contribution to the existing Visa Liberation policy
  • Enhanced Border Management
  • Constraints in illegitimate migration
  • Restrictions in Terrorism and crime

How will ETIAS Europe affect the common visa policy?

ETIAS will both complement and ensure the success of the European Union’s visa liberalisation policy by enhancing security and safety within the Schengen zone. Progress in visa liberation talks with 3rd countries continues, and ETIAS Visa will surely enhance the EU’s security and facilitate border-crossings at Schengen external borders.

Freedom of travel is vital for tourism and business within the EU, as well as for increased cooperation with 3rd countries. Respectful compulsory pre-verification and assessment will curtail security and migration risks while affording travellers the pre-authorisation required to better plan their trip before departure.

What will this mean for UK travellers to the EU?

This can really only be addressed once Britain has fulfilled its obligations under the Brexit vote and triggered Article 50. UK citizens may well come to be regarded as 3rd country nationals in Europe, and therefore be subjected to the same immigration requirements.

Freedom of movement throughout EU countries is somewhat retarded for 3rd country nationals. Since EU does not define a 3rd country according to its security or terrorism tendencies, countries such as the USA, Australia, Canada, also remain under this tag.

Who qualifies for ETIAS?

Citizens currently obliged to obtain ETIAS Europe authorisation are from countries outside of the European Union who are permitted 90 days visa-free travel within the EU Schengen countries. Additional eligible countries may yet be added before ETIAS is launched. At present they are:

Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Costa Rica
El Salvador
South Korea
Marshall Islands
New Zealand
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
St. Vincent and Grenadines
Solomon Islands
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
Hong Kong

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