ETIAS: Seven Euro Tax and Application Form for Entering the EU has No Bearing on Visa Liberalization
“ETIAS is not a visa. Fulfilling ETIAS requirements means that you do not need a visa to enter the Member-States”, states the website of the European Travel Information and Authorization System, which will be introduced next year thereby the travellers who are not citizens of EU Member-States must fill in application forms and pay seven Euros before entering the European zone. The main identified benefit of the introduced ETIAS is the availability of traveler’s database as an attempt to strengthen the security of the members of the Schengen Zone, and the idea of its implementation dates back to 2016
“ETIAS is not a visa. Fulfilling ETIAS requirements means that you do not need a visa to enter the Member-States”, states the website of the European Travel Information and Authorization System, which will be introduced next year thereby the travellers who are not citizens of EU Member-States must fill in application forms and pay seven Euros before entering the European zone. The main identified benefit of the introduced ETIAS is the availability of traveler’s database as an attempt to strengthen the security of the members of the Schengen Zone, and the idea of its implementation dates to 2016
The introduction of the ETIAS System, demands travelers who are not citizens of EU Member-States to fill in application forms and pay seven Euros before entering the European Zone. It also opened the issue of whether it burdens or liberalizes visa requirements. Euro-sceptics stick to the rhetorics that all citizens are not equally invited to visit EU Member-States.
But, is that really the case and what is ETIAS?
ETIAS is the abbreviation of European Travelers Information and Authorization System, i.e., security programme for travelling. This programme checks applicants to identify possible security risks when entering EU Member-States.
The idea behind the introduction of the ETIAS dates back to 2016. The system should contribute to the reduction of security, health and immigration risks, and it refers to EU non-member-states whose citizens can travel visa-free in the Schengen Zone. In addition, the system can also be a “booster” to the EU in times when the revenue levied by the European Commission has significantly decreased.
This idea – after long preparations – will be implemented in the next 2023. That means that holders of passports from 59 out of a total of 62 countries that currently travel visa-free, will have to use ETIAS to visit the EU for the purposes of tourism, business or transit for a 90-day stay in whatever period of 180 days.
ETIAS was made in accordance with the American ESTA system, where the travelers who are not from the USA pay 21 American Dollars to enter the country. In 2016, Canada also introduced a similar ESTA system called ETA.
In the case of ETIAS, the seven Euro payment would be valid for more visits of any of the EU Member-States in the course of three years. At least 96 hours before travelling, travelers will have to fill in application forms. Travelers below 18 and over 70 will be exempt from payment.
The approval is expected to come through, in most cases, within minutes. The system is connected with the possession of a passport, and if someone has a new passport, he/she should have a new ETIAS travel approval. The rules, ultimately, require the presentation of a passport when entering the country as the usual practice so far, while the border services may request other documentation to check whether the person fulfills the requirements for entering the given country.
ETIAS is not a visa. Fulfilling the ETIAS requirements means you do not need a visa to enter a Member-State. If you do not have an approved travel authorization ETIAS or if you do not meet the ETIAS requirements, you can still apply for a Schengen travel visa. By using the criminal records and the security databases of European penal-legal institutions of Europol and Interpol, ETIAS is creating a security network that cares about the security of European citizens and visitors, reports the official website of ETIAS.
Officially, ETIAS is planned to become operational in May 2023, but there will be a 180-day grace period.
According to the explanations on ETIAS website, the six-month grace period should secure sufficient time for the European authorities to get used to the new protocols, including the period required for checking the technical problems of the system that might occur.
The six-month grace period expires in November 2023, when the official use of the system is expected to begin.
The main specific benefit from the introduction of ETIAS is the provision of a database on travelers, in the attempt to strengthen security the Member-States of the Schengen Zone. Another benefit is that it can bring about the very much needed “booster” for the EU in a time when the revenue levied by the European Commission has significantly decreased. Every ETIAS applicant will have to pay a minimum state fee of 7 Euros. Subsequently, the first year after launching the system, an amount of approximately 200 million Euros can be expected in 2023, specifies ETIAS website.
What will the application form for travelling contain?
Online application form will request basic personal data of the traveler in order to determine his/her identity.
- Valid information about the passport/travel documents
- Name and surname
- Dual citizenship status
- E-mail address
- Telephone number
- Date of birth
- End destination Member-State
The ETIAS application form may also request data about convictions, travels to war zones, previous trips to European countries, drug-use etc.
Which countries will require ETIAS?
With the introduction of the system, the citizens from the region, including North Macedonia, must obtain ETIAS approval to enter the following 30 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourgh, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Citizens will need ETIAS to visit the European micro-states with open borders such as Monaco (via France), San Marino (via Italy) and Vatican (via Italy).
Vice Prime-minister in charge of European Issues, Bijan Marichikj and the Ministers of European Issues from the Western Balkan countries will require from the European Union (EU) to postpone the Decision on the application of the European Travelers Information and Authorization System.
We deem that it should not be introduced and I can inform you that we are already communicating with the Ministers of European Issues from the whole region to compose a joint letter and send it to the European Commission and the EU Member-States requesting postponed application of the Decision or making the EU acceding countries exempt from this Decision. I think that the citizens really feel that this decision is unnecessary, and we also think that it is not necessary at this stage. Western Balkans did a great deal for the European Union and I think that such a decision can at least be postponed. As the Government of North Macedonia, with all of the governments from the region, we will do everything to convince the EU to postpone this decision, stated Marichikj.
ETIAS was discussed on the World Border Security Congress as well, specifying that “although the global World recognizes as open borders as possible, ETIAS is an excellent example of how technological progress can be used to prevent any kind of security threats”. The conclusion of the Congress was that the system was fully acceptible and simple.
The first Vice-President of the Congress, Frans Timmermans, declared that the security of the borders was a priority as well as the protection of the citizens. Exactly that will be the reason for introducing instant approvals for entering EU Member-States. Namely, the European system will collect information on all citizens going to the EU and who do not have a visa and will assess whether there is a problem that could prevent them from travelling.
All information provided by the travelers from countries obligated to obtain ETIAS approvals will be processed automatically in the EU and Interpol databases to determine whether there is ground for rejecting an approval for travelling.
ETIAS application can be rejected if the applicant has a criminal record, if he/she is dangerous for the society or if he/she is on the list of monitored trips related to suspected terrorists. In addition, giving false information as well as travelling from epidemic/pandemic areas due to which the applicant could be a public health threat, can be ground for rejection.
This article has been produced within the project Fact-Checking the Progress of North Macedonia towards the EU, implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation. The article, originally published by Truthmeter,, is made possible by the support of the American non-profit foundation NED (National Endowment for Democracy). The content of this article is the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, NED or their partners.