The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is managed by the ETIAS Central Unit (ECU) (ETIAS).
The ECU will verify ETIAS visa waiver applications and administer the system’s procedures.
The ECU exists to guarantee the seamless operation of the Schengen Area’s new travel authorization system. It gives assistance to eu-LISA’s information systems.
WHAT DOES THE ETIAS CENTRAL UNIT DO?
The major responsibilities of the ETIAS Central Unit are to check visa waiver requests and to give support and assistance to airlines, passengers, and Schengen Area Member States.
The ETIAS Central Unit will be in charge of the following tasks:
- Verifying ETIAS registrations when an applicant’s identity has been flagged by the automated system
- Setting up and maintaining the Carriers Assistance Centre
- Providing support to travellers using the ETIAS platform
- Defining and managing ETIAS screening regulations
- Regularly testing and auditing the systems, procedures, and rules, and how they are implemented
- Protecting and managing personal data collected by ETIAS
- Providing information about ETIAS to the public
The ECU will be divided into two sections to tackle distinct tasks:
- Application Handlers
- Assistance Centre
WHY DOES THE ETIAS CENTRAL UNIT NEED TO VERIFY MY APPLICATION?
The ETIAS is intended to be quick and simple to use. Following the completion of the ETIAS application form, the automated system will cross-check the information against security databases. The vast majority are likely to be cleared automatically.
The automatic ETIAS registration system is expected to identify the applicant as a potential security concern in some situations. In this situation, the ECU would personally analyse the application and screen the traveller.
One of the following factors may cause an application to be flagged:
- Inconsistent information provided
- The applicant’s identity appears on one of the security databases
- The applicant’s passport has been reported lost or stolen
ETIAS applications will be screened using the databases listed below:
- Schengen Information System (SIS)
- Visa Information System (VIS)
- Europol Data
- Interpol Stolen and Lost Travel Document database (SLTD)
- Interpol Travel Documents Associated with Notices database (TDAWN)
- Entry/Exit Systems (EES)
- New Eurodac Database
- ETIAS watchlist
ETIAS applicants should input their information carefully and double-check everything before completing the online form. This can assist you avoid being detected for information discrepancies.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE ETIAS CENTRAL UNIT CHECKS MY APPLICATION?
If the system flags an ETIAS applicant, an ECU operator will assess the application and investigate why it was alerted. They will check the information and the applicant’s identification against security databases by hand.
This is a fast procedure. The findings are then forwarded to the ETIAS National Unit of the Schengen nation where the tourist wishes to initially arrive.
The National Unit then takes the ultimate judgement on whether to grant the applicant access.
Most of the time, the passenger will be found not to pose a security danger and will be permitted to enter.
If they do not fulfil the ETIAS conditions, or if it is determined that they constitute a risk to the Schengen Area’s security, the ETIAS visa waiver may be rejected.
If this occurs, the applicant will be notified by the National Unit. They will also tell them of their right to file an appeal and how to do so.
The Central Unit advises and supports the National Units in order to guarantee the security of the Schengen Area for inhabitants and tourists alike, while also protecting travellers’ rights.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF FRONTEX IN THE ETIAS CENTRAL UNIT?
Frontex (the European Border and Coast Guard Agency) is in charge of creating and running the ECU.
It has already educated the first group of Central Unit operators, which includes application handlers, traveller and carrier support operators, and team leaders.
Frontex is also assisting with the establishment of ETIAS National Units in each Schengen Member State, as well as training operators who will cooperate with those in the Central Unit.
The agency is in charge of organising the project and its many components.
Frontex intends to employ and train an additional 200 personnel for the ETIAS Central Unit before the online visa waiver system is completely functioning.
ETIAS CENTRAL UNIT VS NATIONAL UNITS
The ETIAS Central Unit will collaborate closely with the ETIAS National Units to screen visa waiver applications and support carriers and travellers.
There is just one Central Unit, which is located in Warsaw.
Every Schengen member state will have its own National Unit.
The Central Unit will initially evaluate ETIAS applications that have been detected by the automated system. After that, the ECU operator will report their results and suggestions to the appropriate National Unit.
The National Unit’s responsibilities include the following:
- Conducting risk assessments on flagged travellers
- Give a final verdict on whether to grant applicants a visa waiver
- Inform travellers of the appeal procedure
- Maintain the ETIAS watchlist
Travellers and carriers who require assistance are more likely to contact the Central Unit through the Assistance Centre.
Individuals who have a problem with their application, on the other hand, will be contacted by one of the National Units and are less likely to deal with the Central Unit.