It is widely agreed that in a globalised society, borders should be as open as feasible. As in the case of Europe’s Schengen Zone. Visitors can move freely inside the bloc once they have crossed its external borders, with the exception of a few member nations that have imposed temporary border checks.
Nonetheless, the need to confront and avoid dangers persists, and this can be accomplished through technological developments. The ETIAS is one such breakthrough that was demonstrated at the World Border Security Congress.
In 2016, the European Commission recommended the creation of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). Its goal is to increase EU security by tightening border security checks for visa-free visitors to the Schengen Area.
WORLD BORDER SECURITY CONGRESS AND EUROPEAN SECURITY
The multi-jurisdictional transnational congress brings together policymakers and decision-makers from the border protection, management, and security industries. The biennial conference explores the global difficulties that countries face in protecting their own borders as well as those of neighbouring states.
Frans Timmermans, First Vice President, stated, “Our first goal is to secure our borders and safeguard our citizens. By cross-checking visa exempt applicants’ information against all of our other systems, ETIAS will close an information gap. At the same time, the future ETIAS will be easy, quick, cheap and effective.”
ETIAS will use cutting-edge IT solutions to support the drive to ensure safe and secure travel inside the Schengen Area.
The European system will collect information on all citizens of visa-free countries visiting the European Union in order to prescreen tourists before they embark for the continent. This will enable advanced migration and security inspections, as well as faster border screening upon arrival in Schengen.
The visa waiver for Europe will enable the European Union handle its external borders more efficiently and strengthen internal security, which will aid in the battle against terrorism.
OTHER TOPICS ADDRESSED AT THE WORLD BORDER SECURITY CONGRESS
Other major topics tackled during the World Border Security Congress include:
- Implementing Biometrics
- Border Security Information and Coordination
- The Latest Threats and Challenges at the Border
- Future trends in International Border Management
- Pre-Travel Risk Assessment and Trusted Travellers
- Cyberborders and the challenges of developing them
- Surveillance Systems and Technologies on the Border
- Implementing Biometrics and Advance Passenger Information
- Latest and Evolving Threats and Challenges for Border Agencies
- Capacity Building and Training in Border and Migration Management
- The Future Trends and Approach to Alternatives for Securing Borders
- Smuggling & Trade in Illicit Goods, Antiquities and Endangered Species
- Migration and Human Trafficking Challenges on Global Border Management
- The developing role of Biometrics in identity management & document fraud
- Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Records (PNR)
- Border Management – from Risk Management to Foreign Fighter and CT Strategies
- Continuing efforts against foreign terrorist fighters, irregular migration, and human trafficking
- Securing the Littoral Border: Understanding Threats and Challenges for Maritime Borders
Industry experts also discussed how to implement biometrics while adhering to legal, privacy, and data protection standards.
The combined use of PNR and API data, as well as how it will improve the effectiveness of PNR data in the fight against terrorism and severe crime, is also being discussed.
One of the issues raised about ETIAS was how the visa waiver will make travel easier for genuine nationals by utilising new technologies and how they can be more effectively implemented and connected with Trusted Traveller Programs and other data sources to expedite the travel process.
Visitors to the EU from visa-exempt nations can enter Schengen simply by presenting a valid passport upon arrival until November 2023.
However, beginning in November 2023, these same travellers will be required to request for an ETIAS visa waiver at least three business days before their departure date.
All passengers from visa-free nations will be required to get a travel authorisation, which will grant them short-term admission into the 26 Schengen member states. Eligible citizens can apply for the ETIAS programme by completing a simple online form.