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European Union Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS)

22 Mar

This Foster Immigration Update© seeks to clarify certain discrepancies in reporting on the European Union Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS), which is expected to be implemented by the European Union (EU) in 2021. Please find an overview below of the current entry requirements for business visitor travel to the Schengen Area along with an explanation of the impact of the ETIAS.

Current Entry Requirements for Business Visitor Travel to the Schengen Area

Prior to 2021, the current rules for Schengen Area travelers will remain in place. This means that citizens of some countries, including the U.S., Canada, and Australia, will not require a visa for travel to the Schengen Area to engage in tourism or permissible business visitor activities for trips of up to ninety (90) days in any 180-day period in the entire Schengen Area. The Schengen Area presently includes 26 of the 28 EU countries, and a few non-EU countries. Individuals of other nationalities will continue to need to apply for a visitor visa, known as a “Schengen visa,” to enter the Schengen Area.

“Permissible business visitor activities” varies from country to country; please contact Foster for assistance in determining if a set of given activities meet this requirement.

Impact of the European Union Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS)

The European Union Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS) will be required for visitor travel to the Schengen Area by citizens of countries who are currently exempt and do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen Area. The full official list of the participating countries in the ETIAS visa-waiver program may be found here. However, the ETIAS is not a Schengen Visa or other visa.

Similar to the United States Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) visa-waiver program, the ETIAS is a pre-travel automated screening and authorization system. The system will be used to check for “security and migration risks” for those benefiting from visa-free access to Schengen Area countries, according to the European Commission (EC). According to the official ETIAS Fact Sheet, there will be no need to go to a consulate to make an application, no biometric data are collected, and significantly less information is gathered than during a visa application. The validity will be for a period of three years, which is significantly longer than the validity of a Schengen visa. The ETIAS will cross-check visa-exempt travelers, including those from the United States, Canada, Australia, etc., against European information systems for borders, security, and migration. The automated check is expected to take “minutes” in most cases. The application fee is expected to be about $8.

Nothing is expected to change for nationals of countries who require a visa to visit the Schengen Area. They are not expected to be required to complete the ETIAS, but they will still be required to obtain a Schengen Visa from a Schengen Area consulate.

Foster will continue to monitor developments in business travel to the Schengen Area and implementation of the ETIAS and will make future updates available via Immigration Updates© and via our website at www.fosterglobal.com.