Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Electronic Travel Authorization

Canada now requires a eTA (electronic Travel Authorization) for Visa-exempt countries.

The 'grace period' for travels to Canada is running out in September of this year.

Clint Eastwood - still from the movie "Unforgiven" - I just picked this image out of the blue to make this post more interesting. 

For some time now, the USA requires similar, called ESTA.

The whole idea of Visa-exemption is that countries (or in this case, the EU) reciprocate in kind, that is, allow Canadian and American visitors to visit without a Visa. Fine. So why not return the favor and ask US and Canadian visitors to EU countries to get similar travel authorization in order to visit? 
I had recently gotten a ESTA for the US, and the application process is somewhat similar to getting a visa, except it is electronic and you don't need a stamp in your passport or some such document. The questions you are asked are the same as for a visa application. (I checked them both out). 

So this is what I say, since I have to jump through those hoops to travel to Canada or the US:
MAKE THEM DO THE SAME IN EUROPE - lets get similar requirements for visitors from US and Canada for Europe, and see how that feels! A lot of paperwork that doesn't stop terrorists from entering the country - one of the questions on the application for a US ESTA is if you are planning to carry out terrorist activities!?! 
Well duh - a terrorist will fill this out dutifully and truthfully, lol!

But kudos to the US Homeland Security - about another question I have to say this: The Canucks didn't think things through and their application process hangs up on stupid details that are eliminated by the kind of questions the Americans ask. Like the question about convictions and charges. The Americans define it precisely: "Have you ever been convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority?" Now this question I could honestly answer with a NO. The Canadians on the other hand ask: have you ever been arrested or convicted .... as in maybe spitting on the sidewalk! So if you are honest, you have to say yes, and then they want a bunch of documents, such as court records etc. - now such a question, if answered honestly would eliminate more than half of the people in the town (I had lived in Canada for a long time) to ever travel anywhere!

My "handycap" is that I am travelling with an Austrian (EU) passport - now if I had a Syrian passport, I would be welcome with open arms!  But don't get me started on Syrian passports! There is enough evidence that ISIS had captured passport blanks and facilities to issue genuine Syrian passports in the towns and regions that they occupied.

WYRMSPAWN - Inside Kobani
digital artwork using my drawing and a news picture of Kobani

A U.S. government agency report has warned that Islamic State has the ability to create fake Syrian passports 

- REUTERS Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:06pm EST

.... driving me to drink ........