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EU Lawmakers Adopt Prescreening For Visa-Exempt Nationals

BRUSSELS – The European Parliament has adopted a plan to screen travelers who don't need a visa to enter the EU’s Schengen visa-free travel zone.

Under the plan adopted by European lawmakers on July 5, travelers from 60 non-EU countries -- including Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and most Western Balkan states – will be screened before they arrive at the Schengen border, using the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

The idea behind the screening is to “detect criminals, terrorists, or anyone else posing a risk before they arrive in the EU,” a statement said.

The proposal still needs to be formally adopted by EU member states. After that, ETIAS can be operational by 2021, the EU says.

The ETIAS application is expected to take close to 20 minutes to fill out online and will cost seven euros per application. It will be free for people under 18.

The new ETIAS system is similar to the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), according to the bloc.

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