The EU is planning to massively increase its border controls. Those who want to enter have to register, or apply for a visa. The goal is more security, though EU citizens will be spared.
Australia’s had one for a long time, and the United States has had one since 2007: An electronic entry system for travellers who don’t need a visa. Now, the EU wants to implement such a system in order to have better control over who is actually entering and leaving the bloc. In the US, the online electronic registration system is known as “ESTA.” In Europe, it will be known as “Etias” (European Travel Information and Authorisation System). The EU Commission is currently carrying out a feasibility study to determine how Etias can be set up at hundreds of airports and border crossings. The legislative process would then begin at the end of the year.
EU interior ministers called for a digital registration system last year following the terror attacks in Paris. But the system, designed to close recognized security loopholes, has been in planning for much longer. Now, it’s going to become a reality. Similar to the US system, travelers who don’t need a visa for the EU will be required to register online. A fee will be charged for the process; according to EU officials, it could be anywhere between 13 and 50 euro ($15 and $56). Based on the current 30 million travelers from non-EU countries who do not need a visa, that would create income of between 390 million to 1.5 billion euro per year.
Entry for the British?
The number of people who don’t need a visa but who will have to pay this “entry fee” could increase considerably in the next few years. After Brexit, millions of British people travelling to the EU for vacations or business trips will also have to pay and register with Etias. The same goes for people from Turkey or Ukraine, in the event that the EU grants them visa-free travel. According to Camino Mortera-Martinez of the Brussels-based think tank, the Center for European Reform, it’s a bad deal. “It would be damaging for British business,” she told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
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