In order to improve the security of the Schengen Area that comprises the borders of 26 European states, European Union (EU) Council has introduced an automated IT system called the European Travel Information Authorisation System (ETIAS). The system has been created to ensure security of all the citizens living in these European states.
All of Europe has witnessed the footfall of millions of migrants in recent times and that is why authorities have decided to integrate an automated IT system with other existing information systems like the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS), the Entry/Exit System (EES) and many others. The ETIAS has been designed to help authorities to identify and asses the risks and threats carried out by the migrants trying to enter Europe through the Schengen Area. The system is designed to collect information of visa-exempt travellers, mostly non-EU citizens, prior to their arrival.
This automatic visa system has been integrated to minimize the gaps between existing information systems that have been managing all visa and migration-related issues for a long period of time. The ETIAS Europe visa system is here to help authorities to identify and restrict individuals from entering the continent. The system has taken security measures to the next level, as it has enabled officials to bar suspected individuals, mostly migrants, before they reach the Schengen area.
In addition, this has improved the functionality of human trafficking detection and prevention. Cross-border criminal activities are also a major concern for authorities and border security officials and the implementation of ETIAS has also helped them to tackle such issues effectively. Citizens of visa liberalisation countries are still capable of crossing the EU border even without a visa but the ETIAS has made the process a bit complex, as all the travellers from visa liberalization countries will now have to get visa authorisation before they enter the Schengen area.
All the data of travellers and migrants collected by ETIAS EU system is stored and protected in accordance of EU’s data protection laws and regulations. Domestic law enforcement authorities can access the information to detect, prevent and investigate terror and criminal offences.
This advanced system is designed to read and confirm the authenticity of the information provided by travellers and migrant attempting to enter Europe through the Schengen border.
ETIAS Plays a Key Role in Fighting Terrorism in Europe
The heat of the war, conflicts and terrorist activities in the Gulf, Middle-East and many other Asian and African countries was felt by the citizens of Europe too. Since Europe is connected to Asia by land, it was easy for migrants to head towards the continent for shelter and asylum.
Experts believe that many terrorist organisations sent their members to Europe at that time and it was very difficult for border security guards to identify those suspected individuals and keep them away. Pushing terrorists into Europe through the Schengen border is one of the key objectives for many terrorist organisations and that is why authorities managing the migration departments decided to step up the complexity of the visa approval procedure.
According to a special committee formed by the European Union to manage terrorism, ETIAS will help authorities to check terrorism across Europe, as the system will take care of issues like illegal migration, visa processing of suspected individuals, cross-border criminal activities and many other factors that pose a security threat for all the EU citizens.
A number of terrorist activities have been recorded across the continent in recent times that has been a red alarm for the authorities managing security-related issues across the EU. Now, the immigration and border security departments have made efforts to strengthen the security measures across the external and internal parts of the border.
ETIAS comes as the ultimate tool to check the entry of suspicious individuals belonging to different terrorist and extremist groups. The introduction and the application of the ETIAS were strongly recommended by the European Parliament and the EU Council. The proposal of the implementation of ETIAS and EES (Entry/Exit System) was made following the terrorist attacks on different European countries in the last couple of years.
The integration of the ETIAS has forced travellers to submit all the passport details along with some personal information. This has become mandatory for travellers who have entered the Schengen border area to enter the territory of the European Union.
All information of travellers and migrants collected through the ETIAS is accessed and verified by law enforcement departments that confirm the authenticity and validity of the information submitted by the applicants. The new system has enabled immigration authorities and border control officials to manage security-related issues more effectively.
ETIAS Makes Visa-Free Travelling Pre-Entry Control
In October 2017 the European Parliament’s committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs approved and adopted the ETIAS visa processing system that was designed to check the risk factors related to visa-free entry to the European continent. The ETIAS was a masterstroke of the EU that was introduced as a tool for tougher control over the existing system of visa processing for foreigners attempting to enter Europe.
In a statement, the committee of the EU Parliament said that this is an enhanced security measure that will supervise and control the trend of visa-free entry into Europe. This system has been put in place to identify individuals associated with banned and terrorist organizations. The parliamentary committee also mentioned that such security measures were the need of the moment and they hope the new automated visa controlling system will continue to deliver positive results.
The committee however also mentioned that the immigration authorities are trying to make the process of pre-registration easy for visa-free travellers. The process of online pre-registration will be supervised by the security officials and the ETIAS.
Here, you should know that the ETIAS is not like obtaining visas, as there are many different obligations associated with the process. In this process, there is no need for an applicant to visit the office of the consulate. The ETIAS travel authorisation is a fast and small procedural step that is mandatory for travellers to go through when entering Europe. The automatic visa authorisation process is not against the status of the visa-free travellers and it is not going to scrap their rights if there is no suspicious or incorrect information found in the process.
The system is designed entirely to restrict individuals who are linked with banned outfits from entering Europe and it has nothing to do with the right of visa-free travellers. In this process, a traveller will have to submit basic personal information like name, address, date of birth, etc. The system will scan the information automatically and match them with the existing information from its database. Once all the information provided by the traveller is matched, the system will send a verification email to the applicant’s registered email address. The procedure is mandatory for each and every traveller aiming to enter Europe with the visa-free right. The ETIAS will not allow individuals who have provided incorrect information or have links with any banned outfit.
New Computer Systems for European Visa and ETIAS
In order to enable immigration officials, border security guards and other involving officials to enjoy a seamless and systematic processing of data obtained from the travellers, the European Commission has decided to introduce advanced computer systems. According to the commission, the new systems will eliminate the possibility of computing bottlenecks and other malfunctions that can turn out to be a major security threat for the people of Europe.
The sole aim of the proposal is to improve the security measures and provide all the involving officials with a fast and effective way of computing. The new computing system will help officials to control migration and illegal activities across the borders. The efficacy of the new ETIAS authorisation system has made it easy for officials to process tons of data and verify it in a flash.
Information verification at the immigration department is a time-consuming process and the immigration department cannot let any person in without completing the verification process. The slow and insecure data verification process might have made it easy for terrorists and illegal migrants to enter Europe in the past, but the new ETIAS has made everything fast and accurate, where the information of every individual is read and verified precisely.
The European Commission has also stressed on updating a number of existing systems; the visa information system, Eurodoc fingerprint system and the Schengen system. Their aim is to upgrade the entire visa process and other important computing systems that manage all immigration-related issues. Entry/Exit system and ETIAS are some of the newly introduced systems that are designed to minimize the possibility of security lapse.
The EES system has abolished the system of manual passport stamping at the entry points and introduced the system of automatic logging location-based biometric timestamps. EU ETIAS on the other hand is a visa authorisation system that collects personal information of travellers of foreign countries trying to enter the territory of the European Union through the Schengen area.
According to the proposal, the advanced computing system will have a visa search portal that will enable immigrants and law enforcement officials to search data quickly and effectively. The new system will also help officials trace the recorded fingerprints of the applicants within a flash and match other personal data more quickly. The overall computer system upgrade for European visa and ETIAS will definably be a boost for the immigration department and border security officials.
Supporting Infrastructure Has Made the EU ETIAS Effective
No matter how strict the process of the EU ETIAS is, its sole purpose is to keep all the citizens of Europe safe from external threats by identifying and detaining all the individuals who are associated with banned organizations or have criminal records.
The implication of this new and advanced visa authorisation system will empower the security management system at the Schengen border. The system will not only keep terrorists and criminals away from the bordering area but also make the process hassle-free for the legal travellers enjoying visa-free travel rights. The process has abolished the standard visa checking and made entry a fast and comfortable procedure.
The new visa authorisation system has brought about an easy but mandatory process, where an applicant has to go through several different steps including application, submission, processing, decision and enforcement. These are the stages each and every traveller intending to cross the border has to clear at the entry point.
These steps will determine whether the applicant is clear or have some criminal or other unwanted records in the database. A third party national will have to fill out an online application form, where he or she will have to submit some personal information like name, address, date of birth, details of travel documents like the passport. Here, you should know that the identity as described by the applicant in the form should be proven, otherwise, the application can be rejected. The applicant also needs to pay a nominal fee when submitting the application form.
The application will be verified in the next stage, where an automated data processing system will check the authenticity of the information as provided by the applicant. If everything has gone well, the application will get the approval for authorisation following which the applicant will get a confirmation email. Now, the travel carrier will ensure if the traveller is subject to travel authorisation. The carrier may prefer to access the database of the ETIAS Central System to match information for accurate processing.
ETIAS has been successful in checking the entry of illegal migrants and terrorists into Europe. The new system has not only improved security measures at the entry point but also reduced the possibility of technical snags to pave the way for a fast and error-free visa authorisation.