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European Parliament gives ETIAS green light

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The European Parliament has given its final approval for the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).

First proposed in November 2016 and revisited in June 2017, ETIAS was given initial approval in April 2018.

This final approval also relates to eu-LISA, the European agency for operational management of large-scale IT systems in the field of freedom, security and justice.

Under the new system, visitors from countries that aren’t required to obtain visas to travel within the Schengen Zone will have to request an ETIAS online ahead of their trip. Applications will cost €7 (about £6) for every applicant regardless of age and nationality.

The system is similar to the US’s Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA).

Currently, 62 non-Schengen area countries are entitled to visa-free travel for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

There has been some speculation that citizens of the UK may be required to apply for an ETIAS after the country leaves the EU, dependent on whether the Brexit deal can secure visa-free access to the EU.

An alternative proposal for Brits travelling within the EU would require them to obtain a visa for £52.

Welcoming the ETIAS approval, Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, said: “A stronger eu-LISA will be the nerve centre of our information systems for borders, migration and security, and the ETIAS will ensure that we no longer have an information gap on visa-free travellers.

“Anyone who poses a migratory or security risk will be identified before they even travel to EU borders, while the travel of bona fide travellers will be facilitated.”

Julian King, commissioner for the security union, added: “ETIAS will pre-screen visa-free visitors for potential security problems, while the reinforced eu-LISA will allow us to continue to modernise EU-wide information systems for law enforcement and border management.”

Both the ETIAS and eu-LISA will need to receive final approval by the European Council and the president of the European Parliament will need to sign them into law.

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