Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Development of ETIAS System for Advance Checks of Visa-Free Travellers Moves Forward Despite COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic has not affected the development of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a system that will be used to make advance checks of visa-free travellers in 2022.

On Tuesday, June 8, the European Parliament adopted two amendments negotiated with the European Council and adopted changes to a third text on ETIAS access to the European Criminal Records Information System on Third-Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN) to lay the technical groundwork for ETIAS.

In a press release, the Parliament noted that the new amendments clarify that the flags about criminal convictions can be assessed only by the ETIAS Central System, and the same flags must be removed 15 years after their creation. Only flags for cases of terrorist offences will be kept in the system for a period of 25 years.

Also, the Central System will now notify Member State systems about false hits resulting from automated processing in a way that ensures the anonymity of data subjects,” the press release explains.

The idea behind such notification derives from an impact assessment commissioned by the Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee, which warns that false hits resulting from data quality issues had the potential to become an issue with the new legislation.

All three texts now have to be formally adopted by the Council and published in the Official Journal, after which they will enter into force in 20 days.

At the end of March this year, representatives of the EU Parliament and the Council Presidency reached a provisional deal on the rules connecting the ETIAS to the relevant EU databases like the Schengen Information System (SIS), the visa Information System (VIS), the Entry/Exit System (EES), etc.

Access to the relevant data in these systems will allow authorities to assess the security or immigration risk of applicants and decide whether to issue or refuse a travel authorisation,” the Council said, announcing the agreement.

The ETIAS is an electronic system introduced by the EU authorities in a bid to keep track of visitors from third countries under the Schengen visa-free travel regime. Through the system, the EU intends to strengthen internal security and prevent illegal immigration to the block, among others.

The ETIAS is set to go live by the beginning of 2022, and the same will become fully operational by the end of 2022, as confirmed last year by an official of the European Commission for

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