The EU’s visa regulations are evolving. The European Council and European Parliament accepted a number of new proposals in 2016, including the implementation of the Entry-Exit System (EES) and the ETIAS visa waiver system.
This prompted the European Union Commission to modify the EU’s visa regulations in order to incorporate these new programmes and preserve a robust, effective, and secure Europe.
AMENDMENTS TO THE EU COMMON VISA POLICY
To improve security and assist in preventing health hazards to the Union, the visa policies for Europe are being revised in a number of ways. The new measures will aid in securing travel to Europe for tourists and business travellers as well as limiting irregular migration. Examples include the impending EU visa waiver and the ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System).
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, made the announcements regarding the changes to the EU Common Visa Policy.
According to Avramopoulos, the proposed changes to Europe’s visa requirements will enhance collaboration with non-EU nations and enable travellers who adhere to the rules and regulations for applying for a visa to be given preference for certain benefits.
10% of the EU’s GDP is made up of travel and tourism. Because of this, member states place a high importance on a reliable and safe EU visa system.
The following are some of the forthcoming changes to EU visa regulations:
- The decision time for visa applications will be reduced from 15 to 10 days to speed up the process.
- Foreign nationals will be able to apply for a Schengen visa6 months prior to their visit instead of the current 3 months.
- EU visa applications will be available online, including an electronic signature.
- When the ETIAS is launched, travellers from visa waiver countries will be able to register with the system online.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF ETIAS ON THE EUROPEAN UNION VISA POLICY?
A uniform set of visa guidelines for Europe was established with the introduction of an unified European Union visa policy as part of an EU attempt to boost tourism and trade throughout the continent. Travel and trade between nations are made easier as a result.
For visitors from outside the EU who do not need a visa, Europe is creating a new travel authorization programme as a means of enhancing security measures. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System, or ETIAS, is the name of the new visa waiver that will go into effect in November 2023.
It is crucial to first comprehend what each of these phrases entail in order to fully comprehend the effect ETIAS will have on the EU’s unified visa policy:
- ETIAS is the EU’s equivalent of the Australian ETA and the US ESTA visa waiver and is designed to increase security on border controls and immigration for the Schengen Area.
- The EU common visa policy is the strategy employed in the border-free Schengen zone regarding the visa rules for Europe
Two lists of nationalities are outlined in the European Union’s visa regulations:
- Countries whose citizens can travel to and around the EU with a Schengen visa
- Countries whose citizens can travel without a visa for Europe
Once the system is in place, travellers from the second category will have to submit an online application for an ETIAS for Europe.
WHAT ETIAS MEANS FOR THE EU COMMON VISA POLICY?
ETIAS won’t alter the requirements for obtaining a Schengen visa for entry into Europe, i.e., it won’t have an impact on the nations that must do so.
For nationals of those nations who travel to Europe without a visa, the establishment of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System will impose an additional entrance requirement.
For authorization to enter the Schengen Area without a visa, visitors of these nationalities must register their information with ETIAS before departing their home country.
Instead of a travel visa that requires applicants to visit a consulate or embassy, ETIAS is a travel authorization system that enables eligible persons to register online. The introduction of the visa waiver programme will not have an impact on the eligibility of ETIAS member nations or the freedom of movement of their citizens to the Schengen area of Europe.
Increasing security in immigration and border controls is the primary goal of the EU in introducing the ETIAS travel authorization. Both EU citizens and visitors to Europe without a visa will profit from this.
Eligible ETIAS countries are given more freedom and access to the EU zone than those countries that require visas for travel to Europe, according to the European Union’s visa policy, which stipulates that there will be no change in the distinction between citizens who need an ETIAS and those who need a Schengen visa.
HOW WILL ETIAS AFFECT YOUR TRAVELS TO EUROPE?
ETIAS will not significantly affect travel to Europe. Before leaving, travellers will only need to register online with the EU visa waiver programme.
The applicant must enter their biometric passport information, trip information, and provide answers to some simple security questions in order to submit an online application for a travel authorization to Europe. All qualified travellers will be able to apply for an ETIAS quickly and easily.
An ETIAS travel authorization won’t require a trip to a consulate or embassy, nor will there be any need for needless red tape once you arrive. While registering for an ETIAS for Europe online, eligible persons will already have undergone screening.
An clearance notice for their ETIAS is anticipated to be issued to each applicant’s personal email address in a timely manner.
More nations are anticipated to become eligible for ETIAS over time, and citizens of those nations will likely be granted visa-free travel to Europe as more modifications to the visa regulations for Europe are enacted.
THE FUTURE OF THE EU VISA SYSTEM
There will be several more modifications to the current European Common Visa Policy as the visa regulations for Europe change:
Once the ETIAS visa waiver is in place, some of these changes will be applied to travellers who qualify for it.
The launch of the ETIAS programme in November 2023 will also be made possible by modifications to the Visa Information System (VIS). The changes should make it simpler and quicker to access databases that hold data on visa applicants. This will make it possible for member states to decide whether the applicant qualifies for an ETIAS travel authorization more quickly.