Last updated: 10:21 AM ET, Wed November 16 2016

European Union Adding New System of Security Checks

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | November 16, 2016

European Union Adding New System of Security Checks

Photo via Thinkstock 

On Wednesday, the European Union announced plans for a new system of security checks for travelers permitted to enter Europe without visas as part of an effort to thwart potential extremists.

According to The Associated Press, the new security checks would require travelers from 60 visa-waiver countries—including the United States—to pay five Euros and fill out an online form to be issued clearance to move within Europe’s 26-nation ID check-free area.

The hope is the added layer of security would help EU security officials spot “problem individuals” and stop them from entering the ID check-free areas, according to EU security commissioner Julian King.

The new automated system of security would check visa, criminal and stolen document databases when examining the identification of each traveler. EU officials said filling out the form would take 10 minutes, and the clearance would be valid for five years and multiple trips.

Approval is usually immediate, but for some travelers it could take up to 72 hours.

EU migration official Dimitris Avramopoulos said the changes will help identify people who “may pose security threats, also irregular migration, or health risks, before they arrive at our borders. It will bridge somehow the existing information gap by gathering information that could be vital to national authorities.”

Officials in the U.S. added a similar travel authorization system after the Sept. 11 attacks, and recent attacks across Europe have forced the EU to implement the new system of security checks.

In addition to the new security measures, EU officials are also looking to add a new entry and exit scheme that would check all travelers, including European citizens, entering or leaving the passport-free area.

The European Union hopes to have both systems fully in place by 2020.

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