Thursday, June 13, 2024

EU’s ETIAS travel system set for further delay

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The European Union is set to further delay the implementation of its ETIAS travel system for non-EU visitors into 2025, according to reports.

ETIAS, also known as the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, has already suffered a series of delays due to technical problems and in February it was further postponed to 2024.

Now specialist website SchengenVisaInfo.com is reporting that the launch of ETIAS has been pushed back to May 2025 due to continued delays with the introduction of the related Entry-Exit System (EES), which needs to be operational before ETIAS can be implemented.

An EU official told SchengenVisaInfo.com: “We had initially hoped for the EES to become operational by the end of this year or, at the latest, the beginning of the next year.

“Due to unforeseen delays, it has become evident that this timeline is unattainable. As a result, the implementation of the ETIAS has been rescheduled to May 2025, with the possibility of further postponement.”

The European Commission has yet to officially confirm this latest delay to the implementation of the ETIAS regime.  

“The date of the entry into operation of ETIAS is not yet known. It is expected to be announced at the end of 2023,” said the commission on its website. 

Once ETIAS is launched, visitors from outside the EU who currently have visa-waiver status, including travellers from the UK and US, will have to apply for an ETIAS to visit any of the 26 countries in the Schengen Zone. 

ETIAS applicants will pay a €7 fee through an official website or app, and once granted, each ETIAS will be valid for three years or until the expiry date of the travel document.

Meanwhile, the UK is ploughing ahead with its own version of ETIAS, which is known as the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) and will start being rolled out from October when it will initially apply to Qatari nationals visiting the UK.

The UK’s Home Office is holding an online educational session about the ETA on Thursday (28 September) between 2pm and 3pm. This will include an overview of the new system and give participants the chance to ask questions. The webinar is open to anybody interested in learning about the ETA.

Martin Ferguson, head of public affairs at American Express Global Business Travel, urged corporates, travellers and industry suppliers to be “ready for these changes by learning about the scheme via the online government resources available”, including this week’s webinar.

“We want to help raise awareness of the Electronic Travel Authorisation entry scheme so travellers are prepared for upcoming changes to UK entry requirements,” added Ferguson.

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