Starting in 2021, Antiguans and Barbudans travelling within the European Union will have to undergo a new form of travel clearance procedure.
The new measure will affect another 59 countries.
Efforts to reach government officials here for comment up to last night were unsuccessful as they were all in Cabinet, one official confirmed.
Meanwhile, the E.U. government explains that the new procedure is in keeping with recent security concerns regarding terrorism and the migrant crisis.
The new procedure is called ETIAS, which stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System, a complete electronic system that allows and tracks visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the E.U.
In a way, it resembles the U.S. Electronic System
for Travel Authorization, which serves a similar purpose.
The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS started in 2016, and the system is expected to be in place by 2021, the Schengen visa website indicates.
It further notes that the ETIAS will execute a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether they can be allowed entry into the E.U.
This means, even though someone has visa free entry into the E.U., they can be barred from entering the E.U. Zone.
This travel authorisation system will gather, track, and update necessary information regarding visitors to determine whether it is safe for them to enter E.U. countries, the site adds.
In addition to being used for business and tourism purposes, ETIAS will also allow people to visit E.U. countries for medical and transit reasons.
The E.U. government says ETIAS will decrease security concerns substantially through its information and data gathering systems.
What this means, is that the ETIAS will detect if a person is a threat in any way to the security of the E.U. countries.
They say that this will lead to the person being denied entry and avoiding the threat from being present inside E.U. borders. It will basically deal with a problem before it is even there.
News of the pending change comes just 14 months after Antigua and Barbuda lost visa-free access to Canada due to concerns linked to the twin-island state’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.
It’s yet to be known what impact this has had on the initiative which is heavily depended upon by the government here to fund a number of social and other programmes.