The launch of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) has been delayed for another six months by the European Union.
The ETIAS, which will be valid for three years, is a travel visa that will need to be purchased by more than 1.4 billion travellers, from more than 60 non-EU countries across the world, before travelling to an EU country.
Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need an ETIAS.
The system will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example, Albanians, Americans, Australians, Brits and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders. So for example, it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany.
At present, these travellers can visit EU countries visa-free, because an arrangement between their country and the EU has been met.
The new travel scheme was first set to become effective earlier this year but was postponed until the end of 2022. It was then re-scheduled to become fully operational from May 1, 2023, however, the EU Commission has once again extended the date to November 2023.
No official statement has been given but the information page regarding the ETIAS under the Migration and Home Affairs, has been updated reading “ETIAS is expected to be operational in November 2023.”
Many believe that the ETIAS is equal to a travel visa, however, this isn’t the case. In fact the ETIAS couldn’t be more different.
In order to obtain an ETIAS, travellers simply need to fill in a short online form and upload a scan of their passport. There is no need for an appointment at an EU embassy and the small fee of seven euros is also paid for online.
Although many Brits feel that the ETIAS is a bit extreme, some travel experts feel that it will actually help ease delays at the EU and UK borders.
Besart Bajrami, founder of SchengenVisaInfo.com noted that “Having an ETIAS means that Britons will be able to skip some of the checks they undergo now, as all their information will be available in their ETIAS. Border guards won’t even have to ask the questions that they ask now.”
The UK is currently also working on a scheme called the ‘Electronic Travel Authorisation’, a scheme that is quite similar to the ETIAS and one that will see nearly 30 million applications processed each year.
Many other countries across the world already have these schemes in place, including the USA, which ask travellers from roughly 40 countries to obtain an Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA) in order for them to travel for business as well as tourism purposes, visa-free.