Tourists and business people numbering hundreds of thousands may have to go through an online security check (costing €5) if a proposal of the European Union to impose stricter controls on visa-free international travellers is passed.
Expected to be backed by the European Commission on 16 November, the scheme would allow travellers identity documents and residence information to be scruitinised using many of the crime and security databases of EU.
This move comes in the wake of terror attacks in France and Belgium and the surge of migrants and refugees arriving in Greece. The EU executive believes that it can stem the flow of criminals, militants and other migrants who might be entering Europe with the idea of staying back there illegally.
Reuters says that this move would affect citizens belonging to about 60 countries who are eligible to visit Schengen area in Europe for a short stay without having to apply for a visa initially. Among those who would be impacted are American nationals, Japanese and the UK citizens too based on how Britain negotiates with the EU before exiting it.
To be sent to the governments of the countries within the EU and the European Parliament for approval, the system expects to finance itself via the application fee.
According to the EC, the scheme’s implementation would cost about €200 million while its running costs annually are pegged at €85 million.
To be referred to as ETIAS, it would be akin to the US ESTA scheme, under which it would be able to give most applicants a five-year clearance to travel to the region multiple times.
EU officials are expecting it to be implemented and fully functional after its approval by early 2020s.
If you are planning to travel to any of the European countries, approach Y-Axis to get counselling to file for a visa from one of its 19 offices located in major cities of India.