Millions of people who visit Europe from 60 countries, including the US, will be subject to new approvals through a new system in 2021.

European Council President Donald Tusk, right, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker participate in a media conference at the conclusion of an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018.
European Council President Donald Tusk, right, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker participate in a media conference at the conclusion of an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (AP)

The European Union will start to introduce a new US-style electronic travel authorisation system for people visiting from a particular set of countries, including the US, that previously had unfettered access to EU and Schengen member countries.

Visitors who have a ‘good track record’ on security issues and are not viewed as a security threat to the EU can enter without a visa.

The EU Travel Information & Authorisation System (ETIAS) is similar to the US ESTA system, which is already in use for all European visitors despite a visa-free agreement between the two sides.

ETIAS will monitor the security records and charge a fee, of just over $7 for people visiting the EU for tourism, business, medical or just in transit. After approval from the ETIAS system, visitors can stay in European countries a maximum of 90 days.

The system will not apply to people who need a Schengen visa to enter the EU.

“There was no indication in the report that British people would be subject to this new Europe ETIAS but he did say that any negotiations with the United Kingdom could only begin after Article 50 has been triggered,” the statement said.

UK Article 50 in Europe are required to apply to Britain for any immigration requirements because they may be counted as 3rd country nationals after Brexit.

It would also cover countries associated with the EU’s zone of control-free travel, meaning Britons would also have to pay to travel to Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein since they are part of this so-called Schengen zone even though they are outside of the EU.

After Daesh attacks in France and Belgium and the chaotic mass arrival of migrants and refugees in Greece, the EU hopes screening can close loopholes at its borders for violent militants, criminals and would-be illegal immigrants. 

The system is described by the EU as ‘not’ a visa but rather a visa waiver.

It was approved by the European Commission in 2016 in order to combat illegal immigration and terrorism.

“Securing our borders and protecting our citizens is our first priority. ETIAS will close an information gap by cross-checking visa-exempt applicants’ information against all our other systems,” the Commission’s deputy head, First Vice President Frans Timmermans, said in 2016.

Source: TRT World