The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will help to safeguard the borders of the Schengen Zone, keeping dangerous criminals and suspected terrorists out while providing safe passage for everyone else. But it will only work if carriers are able to implement it effectively, so what plans are in place to make sure that happens?
How Will ETIAS Change Things for Carriers?
There are actually two systems that are set to change the game for travelers and carriers.
The first is the Entry and Exit System (EES). It replaces the usual passport stamps and is used to determine whether a traveler is a single or multi-entrant and whether or not they have overstayed.
The second is the ETIAS system itself. With ETIAS, everything is arranged in advance and travelers are required to apply for authorization before they present their passport to border officials.
Typically, the process takes just a few minutes to complete and authorization is confirmed via email and added to the user’s passport. However, it can take up to 72 hours, so it’s best to do this a few days in advance just in case there are any issues.
If a traveler has been granted an ETIAS authorization, it will appear when border control checks their passport. If there is no ETIAS or it has been revoked, that will also be evident to border control and the traveler will be turned away.
ETIAS For Airlines
Before ETIAS, airlines were required to present a passenger list to the border agency of the destination country. Officials then checked the list for any potential threats and dealt with them when they stepped off the plane.
After ETIAS, the process is quicker and simpler. The ETIAS system will essentially do all of the checking on behalf of border officials—carriers just need to make sure there is a valid ETIAS.
ETIAS for Coaches and Boats
It can be difficult to check coaches of travelers as they are able to get on and off the coach at any point, and drivers/tour guides are not qualified border agents or security agents.
However, there will be systems in place to ensure that the required checks are made. These will likely occur at border checkpoints, or via a process that requires coaches to submit lists of passengers to border agencies.
The same is true for ferries, although these often have passport checks in place at the point of departure.
In both cases, passengers will be asked to apply for an ETIAS before they depart for the EU and if they do not, they may be turned back.
Are Carriers Liable for Admitting non-ETIAS Passengers?
Carriers are expected to practice due diligence and ensure that all passengers have the necessary travel documents, including a passport, ETIAS, and COVID certificates. Failure to do so means that carriers could be in breach of ETIAS laws, which may lead to penalties.