New visa-free rules: how Ukrainians will be allowed into the EU from 2022

The European Union has agreed on the launch of a travel registration system for third-country nationals. Soon people visiting the EU will need to register in a special system every three years and pay a fee. How it will all work when the system is implemented and what will change in the rules of visa-free travel, read the article.

System in ETIAS: what is it and why?

ETIAS is a European travel authorization and information system. The main goal of this innovation is to automatically check people for violations of EU migration legislation. The system will look to see if the person’s document is in the databases of Interpol, Europol, in the lists of wanted persons or those who are prohibited or restricted from entering the EU, and whether the person belongs to specific risk groups.

A similar task is now performed by European border guards in the windows when they scan the passport of tourists at the airport. With the ETIAS system, truly “machine” verification will be possible, no subjectivity.

When the new system becomes mandatory (more on the terms – below), a traveler from Ukraine who travels or flies to the EU will need to go through electronic authorization every three years – to confirm his right to use a visa-free regime.

To pass authorization, you will not need to contact the consulate, visa center or intermediaries. It will be possible to fill out the questionnaire yourself online on a special website: http://etias.eu/

It is also allowed to obtain authorization from someone else’s name. That is, children can easily help their parents.

It will take about 20 minutes to fill out the questionnaire. You will need a passport and a card to pay the equivalent of € 7.

ETIAS: what information is needed?

The ETIAS electronic application form will need to indicate:

  • gender, first name and surname (if it changed, then the previous surname too)
  • other citizenships
  • passport number, date and place of birth
  • parents’ names
  • address, email and phone number
  • education and employment data
  • expected country of first entry
  • transferred dangerous diseases from the list
  • convictions (if any, in which country)
  • the reason for trips to countries where there is a war (if such trips were)
  • whether there have been deportations from EU countries over the past 10 years.

What certificates are needed for ETIAS?

For authorization in ETIAS, you do not need a certificate from work (if you remember, then for a visa it is a must). You don’t even have to indicate the name of the company you work for in the application form.

It is enough just to choose the type of profession from the list provided. The same is with education: we are talking only about the choice of categories “basic”, “secondary”, “higher” or “absent”.

This data will not affect the authorization decision in any way. They are needed for the EU to collect statistics and better understand the “social portrait” of those wishing to come to the EU. But, in any case, it is better to write the truth in the questionnaire.

How quickly will the confirmation or refusal of entry to the EU come?

The peculiarity of ETIAS is that the person who filled out the questionnaire will immediately know if they can travel to the EU.

A response with permission to enter (or a refusal, if, for example, there was deportation in the past) will come by e-mail within a few minutes after sending the questionnaire.

Applicants whose questionnaires are considered suspicious by the system (according to forecasts, this is no more than 1-2% of applications) and will recheck in more detail, will have to wait longer. The maximum processing time is 96 hours, but the EU claims that in most cases the decision will already come to the traveler’s mail a couple of hours after registration in the system.

In exceptional cases (for example, if information about the presence of a person in terrorist dangerous zones comes up, and he hid this information), the system may ask the applicant to provide additional documents.

But almost all applicants from Ukraine will be able to receive an answer in a few minutes. If you suddenly forget to log in, you can do it from your phone right at the airport, before checking in for the flight.

You do not need to print the questionnaire. The main thing is that the data is in the electronic system.

Why is the EU introducing this system?

Travelers who travel on a visa-free basis arrive or arrive at the EU border without those checks that are mandatory for visa recipients. Right at the border, it sometimes turns out that a person has recently been deported from the EU. There are also foreigners who avoid paying fines in one of the EU states or are suspected of terrorism and cannot enter the EU. The “reversal” of such people is already at the border and many hours of proceedings at the airport are a burden for the EU. Such issues will be solved in advance with the help of the new system.

Why are the rules for entering the EU changing for Ukrainians?

ETIAS is being introduced not only for Ukrainians. The system will operate for citizens of all states who have the right to visa-free entry to the European Union.

When will it work?

Schengen is still closed, but the member states themselves are actively demanding from Brussels to open the borders. Partial opening of the Schengen area for foreigners is expected this year. If vaccination reduces the incidence of covid, then in 2022 we can expect a return to a more or less normal travel regimen.

New travel rules to Europe will be introduced gradually. The EU has foreseen a number of transition periods.

Most likely, the ETIAS system will technically work in January 2022. Registration will be voluntary at first. During the adaptation period, European border guards will not require tourists to confirm their registration in the ETIAS database, but they will definitely inform about it and recommend that they undergo such registration next time. This transition period will last for a minimum of six months. It can be extended at most twice.

With the start of the second transition period, registration with ETIAS will become mandatory. The second transitional period will last from six months to one and a half years. If you arrive in the EU and do not have an ETIAS, you may be asked urgently to check in directly at the airport.

Where will the new system operate?

In the Schengen zone, as well as in the EU countries that are not included in it but have a visa-free regime for Ukrainians – these are Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and the island of Cyprus.

How much will it cost to enter the EU?

Registration in ETIAS will cost € 7 for three years (or until the expiration of the passport) ..

Authorization is not needed if:

  • you have a visa in your passport and you are traveling with it. If you have a work or student visa allowing you to enter the EU.
  • you have a residence permit in the European Union.

The presence of a visa or residence permit indicates that the person has already passed a thorough check.

  • If you are the owner of a Ukrainian diplomatic or service passport (in the eyes of the EU, you are a 100% safe traveler).

Authorization is completely free for those who are over 70 or under 18. These people also need to fill out a questionnaire before crossing the border, but they do not need to pay a fee.

Please note that the rule of free authorization is valid not by the date of the trip, but by the date of filling out the questionnaire. So, a questionnaire for a child can be filled out shortly before his 18th birthday and receive three years of free authorization.