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EU Commission Proposes Pre-Screening In Visa-Free Schengen Zone

The EU will propose requiring people who travel to the visa-free Shengen zone to be pre-screened before entry.

BRUSSELS -- The European Commission on November 16 will propose pre-screening for everyone who enters the EU's Schengen zone from a third country, even if that country's citizens normally enjoy visa-free travel.

The pre-screening plan, unveiled on November 16, is similar to a system used in the United States, which requires that people pay a fee and fill out a form providing details about themselves before being granted entry.

The fee will be 5 euros and people's profiles will remain in the system as long as their passports are valid. The commission expects 97 percent of those pre-screened to be allowed to enter without problems, with the response to the screening coming the same day as the request.

Citizens of all countries granted visa-free status will have to apply when they travel to the EU. This includes most countries in the Western Balkans and Moldova, and eventually Ukraine and Georgia, which currently are in the process of getting visa-free status.

EU counties outside the Schengen zone such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Romania, and the United Kingdom are exempt from the new system.

EU member states and the European Parliament are expected to approve the proposal and have it up and running by 2020.

Reporting by RFE/RL's Richard Jozwiak in Brussels
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