On 9 June 2017, the Council agreed a general approach on the proposal for a European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS). The general approach constitutes the Council's position for negotiations with the European Parliament.
"ETIAS will help improve our security and protect our citizens. It will require all those who do not need a visa to be checked before they travel to the Schengen area. Anyone posing a risk can be prevented from coming."
Maltese Presidency of the Council
ETIAS will allow for advance checks and, if necessary, deny travel authorisation to visa-exempt third-country nationals travelling to the Schengen area. It will help improve internal security, prevent illegal immigration, limit public health risks and reduce delays at the borders by identifying persons who may pose a risk in one of these areas before they arrive at the external borders.
Functioning of the system
The Council position includes the following elements.
The system will apply to visa-exempt third country nationals, as well as those who are exempt from the airport transit visa requirement. They will need to obtain a travel authorisation before their trip, via an online application.
The information submitted in each application will be automatically processed against other EU databases to determine whether there are grounds to refuse a travel authorisation. When no hits or elements requiring further analysis are identified, the travel authorisation will be issued automatically within a short time. This is expected to be the case for the large majority of applications.
If there is a hit or an element requiring analysis, the application will be handled manually by the competent authorities. In this case, the ETIAS central unit will first check that the data recorded in the application file corresponds to the data triggering a hit. When it does or when doubt remains, the application will be processed manually by the ETIAS national unit of the responsible member state. The issuing or refusal of an application which has triggered a hit will take place no later than 96 hours after the application is submitted or, if additional information has been requested, 96 hours after this information has been received.
Before boarding, air carriers, sea carriers and international carriers transporting groups overland by coach will need to check whether third country nationals subject to the travel authorisation requirement are in possession of a valid travel authorisation.
The travel authorisation will not provide an automatic right of entry or stay; it is the border guard who will take the final decision.
A travel authorisation will be valid for three years or until the end of validity of the travel document registered during application, whichever comes first.