Having applied for, and being granted, an ETIAS travel authorisation there are rules and regulations pertaining to its use that must be adhered to. Possession of an approved ETIAS does not automatically entitle the holder to travel freely within the ETIAS member states as the final decision always rests with the border authorities of the countries being visited. A traveller can have his or her ETIAS denied, annulled or revoked for a number of reasons.
Arriving at a country’s border check point, particularly at a European Union external border, with a valid ETIAS may not be enough. Border authorities have the absolute right to deny entry if:
- The holder fails to produce a valid passport or other travel documentation used for verification purposes on the application form
- The passport has been reported as lost or stolen
- The ETIAS is due to expire before the end of the intended stay
- The passport holder’s name appears on an updated ETIAS Watchlist
Border authorities are also empowered to deny entry to their country if there are grounds to believe that the traveller poses a criminal or security risk whether his or her name appears on the Watchlist or not.
All information contained in the ETIAS application form must be true, up to date and verifiable. Submitting false details regarding contact numbers, past criminal record and medical conditions may not be picked up immediately by the Central Unit’s checking system which will automatically grant approval to the majority of submitted applications. However, false details and inconsistencies may be discovered in time and a notification revoking the ETIAS will be issued to the holder. Common grounds for revoking an approved ETIAS include:
- The travel authorisation was obtained by fraudulent means such as giving false personal information or omitting criminal or medical details.
- The terms and conditions of the ETIAS are no longer being adhered to. For example, the address, contact details, occupation and other information have since changed but not been notified to the ETIAS National or Central Units.
- A new alert exists in the ETIAS database regarding refused entry to a country or overstaying the allotted time in an ETIAS member country.
- The holder’s passport has been reported as lost or stolen in the ETIAS security database but not been notified to the relevant ETIAS authority.
A notice revoking the ETIAS will immediately be sent to the holder who has an automatic right to appeal the decision. The notification will clearly state the reason(s) why the ETIAS has been revoked and include detailed information on how to lodge an appeal and a guide to the appeal process.
An ETIAS can be annulled for similar reasons to a refusal but an annulment will be issued only when information has been discovered regarding the application after it has been approved. Where it is determined that information contained is incorrect, misleading or deceptive the holder will be notified of the annulment.
As with a refused ETIAS application, grounds for an annulment include the following:
- Conditions stipulated for ETIAS approval were not adhered to at the time of acceptance. This may be because of genuine errors made by the applicant but the ETIAS will be annulled pending clarification usually by means of the appeal process.
- New information regarding the ETIAS holder has come to light and the nature of this information invalidates the data contained in the application. This information could pertain to a potential security or criminal matter or even a medical issue.
The holder will be informed of the annulment and supplied with details as to how to lodge an appeal although a record of the reasons justifying the annulment will be stored with the original application file in the ETIAS Central Unit’s database.
Avoiding ETIAS Problems
Although an appeal can be lodged in the event of an annulled or revoked ETIAS it is better to avoid the time and hassle involved. This can be achieved by:
- Ensuring the application is completed honestly and accurately
- Ensuring the ETIAS is valid for the duration of the stay
- Always carrying a valid passport or other pertinent travel documentation
- Never overstaying the allotted time allowed in any ETIAS member state
ETIAS is being implemented to increase security within the European zone by screening intending visitors before arrival. While ETIAS approval and a valid travel document should be enough to ensure entry to the ETIAS member states it is the border security forces that have the final say and what is acceptable in one country may not be sufficient in another. Correct documentation and any details regarding the visit, accommodation, travel plans (although not a necessity) are worth having to hand and will help ensure a smooth entry into the destination country.