Scottish travellers will have to pay a fee for entry to the European Union under a new scheme expected to come into force next year.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will require a payment of £6 before travel to any EU states, to allow a security check created to “identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors” into Schengen member states.
ETIAS is expected to launch next year after having first been proposed in 2016, before the UK had voted to leave the EU in 2018.
The system is not to be confused with a Schengen visa – described instead as a “visa waiver”, the system will conduct checks against EU information systems for borders and security and issue a travel authorisation within minutes.
UK passport holders may be turned away at the border if their ETIAS application is not approved, similar to the ESTA visa waiver scheme Britons use to travel to the USA.
The visa waiver system will apply to travellers from 49 other non-EU countries as well.
The EU’s ETIAS webpage states: “This prior verification of visa exempt non-EU citizens will facilitate border checks; avoid bureaucracy and delays for travellers when presenting themselves at the borders; ensure a coordinated and harmonised risk assessment of third-country nationals; and substantially reduce the number of refusals of entry at border crossing points.
“Schengen participating States will be able to manage their external borders more effectively and improve internal security. Travellers will have early indication of their admissibility to the Schengen States, making legal travel across Schengen borders easier.”
Unlike a Schengen visa, the ETIAS will not require travellers to go to a consulate to make an application, no biometric data will be collected, and significantly less information will be gathered than during the visa application procedure.
The system will require travellers to complete a ten-minute online application, with information they can find in their travel documents (passport or otherwise). In cases where the applicant is unable to fill in their own form for any reason, it will allow another to submit their application.
The automated assessment process will start as soon as the fee payment of £6 (or €7) is confirmed, and 95% of applicants are expected to receive authorisation within 15 minutes of submission.
More information about the process can be found on the EU’s webpage for ETIAS.