Visa Free Regime

European Parl’t Supported Regulations Requiring Permits for Visa-free Third Countries

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The European Parliament supported new regulations today October 25 for third countries that can travel visa-free in the Schengen zone, requiring travelers to get travel permits and enter information online regarding their criminal and medical records. The regulations will apply to Georgia as well. It is not yet clear when the regulation would go into force.

The draft regulations were initially discussed in the EP’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. 42 delegates voted for the regulations and 12 were against.

477 MPs of the European Parliament today voted for the regulation, and 139 voted against. MPs explained that the introduction of the new rules for entry into the Schengen area is due to security issues and an increased influx of travelers in recent years.

According to the new regulations, citizens of third countries who can travel without visa in the Schengen area will also have to obtain travel permits in the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). The application costs five Euros for persons above age 18.

To obtain the permit, a third country citizen must specify data from their personal and travel documents on a specially-created website, as well as indicate information about their education and occupation. The applicant's health status is determined regarding whether they carry any infectious diseases. The website also checks the criminal record of the applicant and any experience in a war zone.

The applicant's data starts to be processed after the payment for the application is verified. The data entered by the citizen will be reviewed by corresponding agencies of Europol and Interpol.

Applicants receive a response within a few minutes; if their documents are accepted, they receive the permit immediately. The permit is valid for a five year period.

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