The Key Information You Need to Know About the European Union Visa Policy Changes

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The European Union is executing some changes to its visa policy, which started in 2016. These changes include introducing the ETIAS visa waiver system and Entry-Exit System (EES). Changing the rules and ETIAS requirements is to ensure maximum security in Europe. Hence, European countries can take an accurate record of visitors they receive in a specific period.

What Are the Amendments Made to the EU Visa Policy?

The upgrade in EU visa policy ensures proper allocation of resources and implements new initiatives. Although some non-European countries could enter Europe without a visa, the introduction of ETIAS has changed this policy. ETIAS is not the same as the regular travelling visa, while visitors can apply and access it quickly. Also, it is for travellers who want to visit Europe for a short time, either for business, tourism, or journalism purposes. This will minimize irregular migration in Europe.
The EU commissioner for Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, announced the introduction of the new visa. He stated that Visitors who follow the proper ETIAS registration procedure would have little or no restrictions throughout their stay. However, there are exceptions to the freedom of visiting, which vary with staying purpose. The ETIAS visa has not been implemented yet; visitors can expect it to be in regulation by 2023. The proposed visa will also strengthen the bond and cooperation between European countries.
The upgrade in visa policy includes the fast rate of visa approval for visitors. Visitors are therefore guaranteed a response within 10 to 15 days of application. Foreign nationals could only apply for the Schengen visa three months before their visit, which has now been upgraded to six months. The EU visa application will be entirely based online, including the electronic signature. Travellers exempted from entering Europe with the Schengen visa can prepare for the ETIAS application.

Meaning of ETIAS, and Its Implication

Contrary to popular opinions, the ETIAS visa does not change the need for a Schengen visa. Countries that need to apply for Schengen visas will still need to do so. The ETIAS visa only applies to citizens of other countries who were initially permitted to travel to Europe without a visa. The visa also applies to visitors travelling within the Schengen area.
Travellers would not need to visit the European embassy or its consulate before applying for the ETIAS visa. However, this only includes additional requirements for non-Europeans who could enter Europe without a visa. Also, the ETIAS policy does not change the rules for non-Europeans who require a Schengen visa and those who do not.

Role of ETIAS in the European Union Policy

Although ETIAS is not the same as the Schengen visa, it plays a vital role in strengthening travel and commerce between alliance countries. The ETIAS visa is equivalent to other entry passes in some countries. The United States has the ESTA visa waiver, and Australia has the ETA. These visas improve the protection level of the concerned countries. The ETIAS creates stricter measures for immigrants who want to enter the country. It is easier to identify individuals who pose threats to European countries.

Does ETIAS Affect Your Travel to European Countries?

ETIAS does not primarily affect travellers who need to enter Europe, except certain nationalities. Travellers will need to enter their biometric information to receive the ETIAS visa. This will include your fingerprint, passport, and every other security detail. Eligible travellers will be contacted if the application eventually becomes successful. Once the ETIAS agency confirms your eligibility, you will receive a response via the email address or phone contact.

What to Expect in the Next Decade?

The ETIAS policy will keep improving as more countries will be added to the eligible status. However, the EU visa fee may not be the same again, as travellers should expect a price increase before the next decade. Also, consistent and familiar travellers with the embassy regulations may have no issue staying for about 2-3 years. These changes will ensure proper documentation of every visitor without putting any life at risk.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.

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