Much like the American ESTA, ETIAS is being introduced with the aim of increasing worldwide safety and security. The ETIAS program, to be launched in 2021, will pre-screen visitors from visa-exempt countries before then can access the 26 Schengen Area nations.
Not only will citizens of these countries benefit from the increased safety measures, but Americans visiting European nations can travel across the continent with greater peace-of-mind than ever before.
In addition, both European and American authorities will be able to use the thorough screening processes and more detailed information to their advantage.
How ETIAS will Reduce the Threat of Terrorism
For governments across the globe, the threat of terrorism is an ongoing challenge. With the introduction of ETIAS, it is hoped that the chance of a terrorist attack in Europe will be even slimmer.
This is because the European Travel and Information Authorization System will grant authorities more extensive data assessment capabilities. With extra information available to them, it will be possible to put together a more complete image of potentially risky individuals.
The Passenger Name Records system, which is to run alongside ETIAS, provides police forces with access to traveler data and therefore adding a further layer of security.
ETIAS is therefore expected to be a great tool in facing the challenge posed by terrorism in both America and Europe.
Improving Border Security with ETIAS
As well as assisting the U.S. and Europe combat global terrorism, the ETIAS program will also help tighten border security.
In particular, it is expected that ETIAS will target human-trafficking as well as preventing other illegal border crossing activities.
An important part of the ETIAS structure is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (also known as Frontex), uniformed officers on the ground to ensure full compliance with the new security measures.
Information gathered and shared by these border officials will again improve worldwide security and safety.
ETIAS Against Other Security Threats
As well as helping to further diminish the threat posed by terrorist activity in Europe and America, it is expected that ETIAS will be valuable in tackling other issues. The information gathered by ETIAS should prove useful in targeting:
- Aviation threats: the illegal use of drones and the associated security risk
- Chemical and biological threats against the U.S. and European countries
- Nuclear and radiological dangers affecting both parties
ETIAS Applications for American Visitors
From 2021, American travelers visiting Europe’s most popular tourist destinations can do so safe in the knowledge that extensive security measures have been taken to keep them safe.
The only additional step U.S. passport holders will need to take is to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver prior to departure. The online ETIAS application can be completed in a matter of minutes and the majority of U.S. applications will be approved within 24 hours.
In fact, it is estimated that some 95% of applicants will be sent their ETIAS visa waiver almost immediately. The visa waiver is sent to the applicant on approval to be printed at home and presented at the border.
Another advantage of the scheme is that holders of an ETIAS visa waiver can use the permit to visit multiple countries on the same trip; a different permit for each country is not required.
Americans will only need to apply once every 3 years. The ETIAS has a validity period of 3 years from the issue date, unless the passport expires first, and allows for stays of up to 90 days in a 180-day period.