Spain —as well as all 25 other Schengen member countries— is taking measures to make sure travelers, residents and nationals are safer than ever before.
Some of these measures taken by the EU include the implementation of ETIAS for Spain, an electronic travel authorization for Europe that has been under development since 2016.
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System and is set to launch towards the end of 2022.
The ETIAS will increase security within Spain and continue to advance in the fight against terrorism by verifying all visa-exempt travelers before they visit the continent.
ETIAS Pre-Screening Travelers to Spain
Foreign nationals planning a trip to Spain must first go over the ETIAS requirements and have them all at hand in order to apply for the travel authorization.
Visa-exempt travelers from over 60 nationalities will have to register online for an ETIAS Spain visa waiver prior to their departure.
After applicants have filled out the travel authorization form with their personal information, passport data, and travel details, their request will go through an automatic assessment.
ETIAS Security Databases
The automated ETIAS verification process will cross-check applicants’ information against multiple security databases, including:
- ETIAS Watchlist
It is expected that a vast majority of applications will be automatically approved within less than 24 hours after the request has been processed.
A small number of ETIAS Spain applications may receive a hit during the automated pre-screening. These applications would then need to be manually revised in order to assess whether the applicant poses a threat to the safety of the European Union, or not.
ETIAS applicants with a criminal record may still have a chance to obtain the travel authorization. This is due to the fact that ETIAS regulations are geared towards preventing individuals involved with terrorism, human and drug trafficking and other serious crimes from legally entering Schengen.
Should manual processing be required, the ETIAS Spain may take a little longer to arrive in the applicant’s email inbox.
It is recommended to apply at least 3 business days in advance to allow enough time for the application to be assessed.
European Information Systems
The Schengen Information System (SIS) and the Visa Information System (VIS) are both being adapted in order to seamlessly integrate with ETIAS.
Both systems play a key role in protecting Spain —and the whole Schengen Area— and will take part in the ETIAS verification procedures.
SIS is being adjusted to introduce new alerts for activities tied to terrorism, wanted, or missing individuals.
SIS is also incorporating a biometric search service that will support authorities in the identification of dangerous or conflictive individuals.
VIS, on the other hand, will assist border authorities in the verification of traveler visas and the recognition of fraudulent travel permits. This, in turn, will protect individuals from identity fraud and theft.
All of the aforementioned helps in the prevention, identification, and investigation against crime and other illegal endeavors.
The European Union is also working on new information systems to further enhance its internal security such as the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).
EES is being programmed to register border crossing of visa-exempt travelers into the Schengen area and any failed attempts to do so. This will help authorities prevent and tackle irregular migration risks.
Furthermore, ECRIS is being developped to facilitate authorities’ access to criminal records of foreign citizens convicted in a Schengen country.
Accessing these files will help authorities determine whether the individual poses a risk to the safety and wellbeing of the European Union and its citizens, and to take the necessary precautionary actions.
Safe and Secure Travel With ETIAS Spain
As soon as ETIAS launches to the public in late 2022, visiting Spain’s most popular tourist destinations will be safer than ever.
A few examples of wonderful Spanish destinations that tourists will be able to enjoy with the increased security that the ETIAS Spain visa-waiver program, include:
- The Sagrada Familia —Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece in Barcelona
- Madrid’s Museo del Prado
- The Alhambra in Granada