To travel Europe, visitors will soon need to register with the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
Visitors from visa-exempt nations must give personal information as well as passport information. This information will be used to conduct security checks on those who are allowed to enter the Schengen Area without a visa.
ETIAS will also strengthen border security. All overseas visitors will be vetted before to arrival, assisting in the identification of travellers who pose a threat to public safety.
The EU has taken efforts to guarantee that ETIAS respects human rights and is fully compliant with EU data protection regulations because it handles personal information.
HOW ETIAS USES TRAVELLERS’ INFORMATION
To apply for ETIAS, travellers simply need to supply basic personal information and passport information. This information contains their entire name, birth date, and nationality. There are also some concerns about health and security.
Each applicant’s data will be cross-checked against EU and worldwide security databases using the ETIAS system. If no issues are raised, travel authorization will be provided in minutes.
Biometric data is not collected by the ETIAS. ETIAS gathers less data than a standard consular visa for the European Union since it does not impose visa-like responsibilities.
COULD ETIAS INFRINGE ON HUMAN RIGHTS?
ETIAS will not violate human rights. The EU’s travel authorization system is in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and all personal data is safeguarded.
ACCESS TO ETIAS DATA IS STRICTLY LIMITED
ETIAS data collection will be limited to what is necessary to ensure the security of EU citizens and residents.
Only law enforcement agencies from EU member states and Europol will have access to it. Data can only be accessed to prevent or detect terrorism or other major criminal offences.
Europol and law enforcement may only seek access to ETIAS data if they have reasonable reasons to believe it would aid their investigations.
ETIAS DATA IS STORED FOR A LIMITED TIME
Data from ETIAS will only be kept for as long as it is required. This might be for:
- The validity period of the EU travel authorisation (usually 3 years)
- 5 years from the last refusal, revokement, or annulment of the ETIAS
If the applicant expressly consents, ETIAS data may be maintained for three years following the validity term of the authorization.
When the retention term expires, the personal data is automatically erased from the ETIAS Central System.
WHY DOES ETIAS COLLECT PERSONAL DATA?
Travelers from visa-exempt third countries can visit European locations without having to apply for a visa.
Although this allows simple access to Europe, it also means that many people may travel without having to go through pre-departure inspections. ETIAS will keep visa-free travel, but will strengthen Schengen borders.
ETIAS data will enhance the passenger experience by assuring the following:
- Faster border checks that replace the stamping of passports with an electronic system
- Safer travel as all third country nationals will undergo security checks, not just those who need a visa.
- Protection against identity fraud by identifying applicants who submit false, stolen, lost or fraudulent documentation
ETIAS was regarded as “an vital instrument for the security of European individuals” by Agustn Daz de Mera, a Spanish MEP who authored the wording for the civil rights committee.
Mera further stated, “The technology will aid in the identification of terrorists and the recording of their travel history within the Schengen region.” We will be able to curb irregular migration of persons staying longer than their legal stay thanks to the new inspections.”
THE ROLE OF ETIAS IN EUROPEAN INTEROPERABILITY
The ETIAS visa waiver scheme is being intended to interface easily with other European systems.
The ETIAS is one of several plans being implemented by the EU to increase security, border control, and immigration regulation.
Among the systems that will collaborate with the ETIAS are:
- The Entry/Exit System
- Passenger Name Records
- The Schengen Information System (SIS)
- The ETIAS Watchlist
ETIAS will be crucial in ensuring the EU’s interoperability with other information and security systems. As previously mentioned, it will also allow appropriate EU agencies and Europol to access information in certain instances.
ETIAS AS PART OF EUROPE’S DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
The Smart Borders package from ETIAS and the EU is part of Europe’s digital revolution. The European Commission issued its statement on digital rights and principles in January 2022.
The draught statement serves as a road map for the European Union’s digital transformation. This involves putting people and their rights first, as well as enhancing safety and security.
The automation of border procedures via the Entry/Exit System and ETIAS is part of the European Union’s digitalization efforts. As a result, it will be *based on European principles and will respect human rights.
VISA WAIVER PROGRAMMES AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Although ETIAS is new to the EU, comparable systems exist in other nations.
Travel authorization forms, such as the US ESTA or the Canadian eTA, require applicants to provide information about their past immigration history.
To promote safer visa-free travel, ETIAS and other travel authorisation systems throughout the world employ basic personal data.
Complex visa exemption applications and high fees might be an impediment to travel. The decreased prices and streamlined application processes connected with electronic visa exemptions like ETIAS make international travel more accessible.