WHAT IS THE ETIAS NATIONAL UNIT RESPONSIBLE FOR?
When the new ETIAS visa waiver system goes live, the ETIAS National Unit will play a critical role in keeping Europe secure.
Article 8 of the ETIAS rule clearly defines the obligations of each Member State’s National Unit, as stated below.
MAKING THE FINAL DECISION ON ETIAS APPLICATIONS
The ETIAS National Unit’s most significant job is to analyse and make a final judgement on whether or not to give access when there has been a hit in the automated system.
When a traveller files an ETIAS request, their data is immediately cross-checked against numerous international security databases, including Interpol, the Schengen Information System (SIS), and Europol.
In the vast majority of situations, nothing will be raised, and the ETIAS will be issued right away.
There will be a hit in the system in around 5% of cases (total applications), and the application will be submitted to the ETIAS Central Unit, which will validate the information.
Following data verification, it is expected that 3-4% of the first hits will obtain a favourable decision. The remaining 1-2% will be directed to the ETIAS National Unit, which will determine if the individual constitutes a risk to the public and, thus, whether they can be granted travel authorization securely.
Additional information may be requested in some circumstances. The ETIAS National Unit will contact the applicant through email to request more information. The ETIAS National Unit will only interview an individual under rare situations.
WHICH MEMBER STATE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MANUALLY PROCESSING APPLICATIONS?
The Member State responsible for manually analysing an ETIAS request is the one that entered the data that resulted in a hit in the system.
This country’s ETIAS National Unit handles the manual processing of third-country citizens’ data.
ISSUING ETIAS VALID FOR A LIMITED NUMBER OF EU COUNTRIES
If necessary, the ETIAS National Unit may issue a travel authorization with restricted geographical validity. This may be essential for humanitarian reasons, national interests, or to comply with international responsibilities.
In most situations, travel will be restricted to the Member State that issued the ETIAS. However, in some situations, it will encompass a number of Member States. In certain cases, the ETIAS National Unit will liaise with the Member States to which the travel authorization extends.
PROVIDING APPLICANTS WHO HAVE BEEN REFUSED ETIAS WITH APPEAL PROCEDURE INFORMATION
Individuals who have been refused an ETIAS travel authorisation have the right to appeal. The ETIAS National Unit of the responsible country must ensure refused applicants have the information they require to make an appeal.
Refused applicants are provided with the address of the ETIAS National Unit of the Member State as a point of contact.