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European Parliament backs tougher rules for visa-free travelers

Monitoring Desk

PARIS: Non-EU nationals exempt from visa requirements will have to get an authorization before travelling to the EU, under new rules backed by the European Parliament (EP) on Thursday.

According to a press release issued by the European Parliament, the new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which should be operational in 2021, was passed with 494 votes in favor, 115 against and 30 abstentions.

“The ETIAS will bridge the existing information gap on visa-free travelers, by assessing whether they constitute a security, illegal migration or high epidemic risk before they arrive at the external border,” Kinga Gal, Parliament’s rapporteur told members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

“This new system will significantly contribute to enhancing security for EU citizens. It is therefore an important step forward towards stronger and smarter information systems for borders and security,” Gal added.

Under the new rules, travelers from more than 60 countries and territories exempt from visa requirements will face advanced checks and those considered to pose a security, irregular migration or epidemic risk will be denied access.

The authorization will cost 7 euros and will be valid for 3 years and travelers will have to answer questions on criminal record and trips to conflict zones. The legislation will have to be formally adopted by the Council of Ministers and then published in the Official Journal. (AA)

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