Implementation of an equivalent of the American ESTA in Europe

Suggested since June by France and Germany, Europe will soon implement a European visa waiver program for international travelers. This is a Franco-German initiative that is carried out by means of a paid online registration. According to the spokesperson of the European Commission for Home Affairs, Natasha Bertaud, a first proposal will be made as early as this fall, in November to be precise.

Strongly inspired by the American ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), the future European ESTA joins the measures taken to strengthen security in Europe, especially after the last two attacks in January and November 2015 in France and the attack in Brussels last March.

As in the United States, this system will determine the eligibility of applicants to enter the country or not, and will “ensure that no one remains in the country illegally” according to Natasha Bertaud. The latter would like to congratulate France and Germany, the two countries that are the precursors of this proposal.

The ESTA is an authorization that allows a category of travelers to visit the United States without a visa. According to the French Minister of Defense, Bernard Cazeneuve, the principle remains the same for the European ESTA and it will be intended for a group of travelers who cannot have a visa for Europe.

European ESTA as a security device

The fight against terrorism is emphasized in the development of the European ESTA. Other security features are also included, such as

  • the ADEP pilot project which is a kind of “risk centre” between 6 member countries, and would allow the exchange and automatic transmission of criminal records between these countries;
  • free access to encrypted and mobile data made available to anti-terrorist services and bodies;
  • the establishment of a comprehensive crisis management system, the test phase of which is planned for the end of this year.

Other advantages of the European ESTA

In addition to the reinforcement of the so-called security devices, which is the first positive impact, the European ESTA will above all allow for the simplification of travel and entry procedures in Europe. The American ESTA, for its part, currently delights tourists for the advantages it offers to facilitate access to the country. The same results are expected for the European ESTA.