It is expected that ETIAS will be implemented for American citizens at the end of 2022. On November 2016, President Juncker announced the creation of an automated system that would determine who will be allowed to travel to Europe. The European Commission proposed the European Travel and Authorisation System in order to contribute to the safety of the region.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System, ETIAS, is an effort to strengthen the EU’s external borders, and therefore, ensuring internal security while preserving freedom of movement in the Schengen Area. The ETIAS system addresses information gaps concerning non-EU visa-exempt citizens that travel to the EU.
This travel authorization will be a mandatory requirement for American citizens who wish to travel to Europe. Currently, American citizens can travel to the Schengen Area without applying for a visa or any other form of travel authorization. US citizens can stay in Europe for periods of up to 90 days. Once the ETIAS program is officially put in motion, US travelers will simply be required to complete the ETIAS online form and provide their personal details along with their passport information.
ETIAS Is Mandatory for American Citizens
Starting from late 2022, American citizens will need to have a valid ETIAS visa waiver in order to visit any of the countries in the Schengen Area. The ETIAS authorization will be a mandatory requirement for third-country nationals that are from visa-exempt countries. Not only US citizens will need to obtain their travel authorization, but citizens of at least 60 countries will be required to submit an online ETIAS application. Travelers are asked to complete each section with accurate information, they must provide a valid email address and pay the ETIAS fee in order to successfully complete the application process.
Once an application has been submitted to the ETIAS system, it is automatically checked against a series of relevant databases which include the Schengen Information System, the Entry/Exit System, as well as Europol and Interpol databases. This way, the system can verify the identity of the traveler, and discover whether the document has been reported lost or stolen or if the applicant is wanted for arrest. It should be noted that entry to a Schengen Member country will always be determined by the immigration officers upon arrival. Travelers who pose a risk to the security of the Schengen region will be refused.
According to a press release by the European Parliament, it is estimated that 39 million visa-exempt travelers will visit the EUR in 2021. Several European countries have been the target of terrorist attacks in recent years. It should not come to a surprise that the European Commission has come up with ways to contribute to the security of its citizens. The goal of the ETIAS system is to improve border security and contribute to the safety of the Schengen Zone. By ensuring that all travelers are check prior to their arrival, the EU has a higher possibility to identify threats.
By the end of the year 2022, US citizens should bear in mind that they will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver if they wish to visit Europe.