Starting in 2024, people from more than 60 visa-free countries will need to get a travel authorisation before coming to Europe for a brief stay. The authorisation will be processed through the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
ETIAS will further strengthen Europe’s internal security by carrying pre-travel screening of visa-free travellers to determine whether they pose a security, illegal immigration, or public health risk.
The entire ETIAS ecosystem is complex and consists of the ETIAS Central Unit hosted by Frontex, ETIAS National Units located in 30 European countries, and the large-scale information system developed and maintained by eu-LISA.
Citizens of over 60 visa-free countries will need to apply for an ETIAS travel authorisation before heading to any of the 30 European countries shown below.
The ETIAS system will check the information provided by the applicant with data already stored in other EU systems such as the Schengen Information System (SIS), Visa Information System (VIS) and Entry/Exit System (EES). If the application raises any concerns, it will be reviewed by the ETIAS Central Unit and sent to the relevant ETIAS National Unit for final decision.
It is expected that most applications (about 97%) will be approved automatically within minutes. The remaining 3% will be reviewed manually by the ETIAS Central Unit and the National Units.
Travellers who do not have a valid travel authorisation will be refused boarding by the carrier (for example, an airline, bus or ferry company).
At the border
When a visa-free traveller arrives at a border of one of the 30 European countries requiring ETIAS, border guards will scan their travel document data electronically and register them in the EES, triggering a query to ETIAS. If the traveller has a valid travel authorisation, they will be able to cross the border if all other entry conditions are also fulfilled.
More information about what ETIAS means for travellers from visa-free countries can be found on the official ETIAS website.
Frontex plays an important role in establishing and managing ETIAS by hosting the ETIAS Central Unit, which will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to handle ETIAS applications and help travellers and carriers.
The ETIAS Central Unit is also responsible for identifying risks, risk indicators and screening rules. These will be used to assess travellers in terms of illegal immigration, security and high epidemic risks. The Unit’s responsibilities also include managing the content of the official ETIAS website, as well as ensuring that the information stored in the system is accurate and up to date.
The protection of fundamental rights is at the core of all ETIAS operations.
The ETIAS Fundamental Rights Guidance Board has been set up to assess the impact of processing applications and the screening rules on fundamental rights.
The Guidance Board is composed of representatives of the Frontex Fundamental Rights Office, the Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights of Frontex, the European Data Protection Supervisor, the European Data Protection Board, and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.
As an independent advisory body, the Fundamental Rights Guidance Board will regularly carry out evaluations and make recommendations to the ETIAS Screening Board regarding its work, particularly regarding privacy, data protection and non-discrimination. The ETIAS Central Unit will consult the opinion of the ETIAS Screening Board to ensure that risk screening is carried out in full respect for fundamental rights.