Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

A €7 toll to enter the Schengen area

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, July 21st 2022 à 17:45 | Read 736 times

EU. The European Union, and more specifically the Schengen area, is going to take inspiration from the American ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) by launching its European Travel Information and Authorization System.

Anyone from a non-Schengen* country who can enter the area without a visa will have to fill in an online electronic form (which will only take about ten minutes), using a valid passport, to obtain authorisation to travel there.

If a person is detected during its upstream security checks as a potential threat to the security of the Schengen countries, the ETIAS, and therefore entry, will be denied. "This will prevent the threat from being present within the EU borders. The system will simply deal with the problem before it can even exist," says the Schengen website. It will therefore reduce the number of refusals of entry at border crossing points. At the latter, the police will check with travel documents that the ETIAS has been accepted.

"We need to know who is crossing our borders"

The European Union sees several virtues in this system, which, according to its promoters, will save travellers time and hassle (the ETIAS can be granted in a matter of minutes), improve border management, complement the EU's visa liberalisation policy, prevent illegal migration and strengthen the fight against crime and terrorism.

The European Commission proposed the idea of this project in April 2016 and proposed it on 16 November 2016 in a 281-page report. In September of that year, Jean-Claude Juncker, the then President of the European Commission, justified the introduction of this procedure in his State of the Union speech with the words: "We need to know who is crossing our borders. That way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here."

On 5 July 2018, the European Parliament agreed on this new European travel information and authorisation system and entrusted the EU Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) with its development and operational responsibility. After negotiations between MEPs and the Council of the European Union, the ETIAS rules of procedure were adopted in September 2018.

Croatia and Cyprus exempt from ETIAS

eu-LISA plans to make it operational and mandatory in May 2023. ETIAS will affect the inhabitants of sixty countries, including in the Mediterranean, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia. It will be necessary to enter thirty-three countries in Europe. When the project was presented, the European Commission estimated that around 47 million people a year would need to apply for an ETIAS by 2025.

To be exempted from the ETIAS, one must either be a resident of one of the 29 Schengen Member States or of four non-Schengen states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania), have a visa, be under 18 years of age or over 70. It will be valid for three years or until the passport expires and will only apply to stays of less than 90 days.

Obtaining an ETIAS document will cost €7 (payable online by credit card) compared to $21 (€20.6) for the ESTA since 24 May 2022 ($14 before).

*22 EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden) + Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Vatican, San Marino and Monaco.

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