EU Parliament Approves ETIAS: How Will this affect Canadians?

etias regulation implemented in 2021

The European Parliament has voted in favour of approving ETIAS. A large majority of the MEPs, 494, voted to pass the legislation which brings ETIAS another step closer to its implementation.

It is estimated that ETIAS will become operational in 2022. This means Canadians will need to enroll with ETIAS before travelling to any of the 26 Schengen countries from that time onwards.

The ETIAS application will require Canadians to enter a range of information including their: full name, address, date of birth, and passport details. There will also be a number of health and security-related questions.

The whole process should take no longer than 10 minutes. Once approved, the ETIAS travel authorization will be sent electronically.

Why is ETIAS being implemented?

The purpose is to strengthen the security of Europe by improving border controls. ETIAS applicants will be screened against several security databases (such as Europol and Interpol) before they travel to any Schengen country.

EU commissioner Julien King commented: “Our police officers and border guards need to have the right tools to do their jobs – keeping our citizens safe and our borders secure. ETIAS will pre-screen visa-free visitors for potential security problems.”

Furthermore, Commissioner Dimitry Avramopoulos said that ETIAS would ensure that the EU no longer has an information gap on visa-free travellers. He said anyone who posed a migratory or security risk would be identified before they travel to the EU.

Guiding principles of ETIAS

The EU has agreed on a few fundamental principles which will be central to its implementation. It must be:

  • Affordable: It will be necessary to pay an inexpensive fee using a credit or debit card.
  • Straightforward: The application will be simple and user-friendly. It will require entering some basic information such as your name, date of birth, and passport details.
  • Quick: It should not take longer than 10minutes to complete the online application form.
  • Effective: All information provided will be cross-checked against security databases which will identify potential risks.
  • Transparent: If an application is refused, the applicant will need to be informed about the decision within 96 hours. Applicants will have the right to appeal if their application is refused.

What are the next steps for ETIAS?

There are still a couple of legal formalities to get past before ETIAS becomes European law. The European Council needs to approve ETIAS officially and the President of the European Parliament and the rotating Presidency of the Council will need to sign the legislation for it to become law.

The initial ETIAS plans were made in 2016 after President Juncker highlighted the problems regarding how EU data management systems work. ETIAS was proposed, an automated system to pre-check travellers before they enter the Schengen Area, and it quickly became a political priority.