EU Quietly Delays ETIAS Visa Waiver Program. Again.

by SharonKurheg

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) was approved in 2016 and has been under development ever since. It’s planned to be a visa waiver program wherein those with non-EU passports from roughly 60 countries, including the U.S., would need to fill out an electronic form before traveling to the EU, for security purposes. They would have to be approved before traveling into the 26 European Schengen-zone countries.

The system was originally scheduled to be launched on January 1, 2021 and be fully operational by the end of that year, with “full implementation” by 2022.

But then there was a slowdown in the adoption of the ETIAS regulation and the integration of the Entry/Exit System, which tracks the movement of foreign visitors across borders while they’re in the European Union. That caused the program to be delayed, with a planned new launch date in late 2022, with a 6-month grace period. That would mean the visa waiver would go into full effect by May, 2023.

In October, 2022, the ETIAS program, which still wasn’t going to go live for another 7 months, was delayed yet again. This time it wasn’t going to happen until November, 2023.

“The launch delay can be attributed to the prioritization of both putting in place and subsequently lifting border measures and restrictions over the past number of years and months for the health and safety of travelers into European countries,” says Sandra Bailey Moffatt, Chair of the European Travel Commission (ETC) and Manager-Canada of Tourism Ireland. “Now that international travel has resumed, Europe can work towards finalizing the visa-waiver program. We also recognize the importance of ensuring that when this program is ultimately released, that it is fully operational and introduced as a simple straightforward process.”

In other words, “Thanks, Covid.”

And now, guess what? ETIAS is being delayed until sometime in 2024.

The European Union’s official website dedicated to ETIAS has quietly been changed to say, (boldface ours, for emphasis) “The rules of travel to Europe have changed. Starting from 2024, some 1.4 billion people from over 60 visa-exempt countries are required to have a travel authorisation to enter most European countries.”

Catch that? Not November, 2023. 2024. Although they haven’t said when in 2024.

I guess that way they won’t have to announce the next time they decide to delay it another 6 months? I dunno.

Anyway, once the ETIAS program is in effect, all citizens of visa-free countries, regardless of age, will be required to fill out an online application for ETIAS authorization to enter the Schengen-zone countries (the application is said to take 10-20 minutes to complete). Those aged 18-70 must also pay a fee of €7. Once approved, the visa waiver will be good for 3 years.

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GUWonder October 20, 2022 - 7:00 am

Frontex head honcho got canned a few months ago. Lots of crooked stuff there.

And the IT projects for ETIAS and EEA are going to continue to be problematic.

When even the national entry and exit systems tied in with the ABC gates in various EU countries can’t keep up and avoid going down, it’s wishful thinking to think that ETIAS and EES will make things any less ugly at passport control.

Greg February 28, 2023 - 3:26 pm

They know that people most impacted will be college folks doing last minute holidays from UK and the Americans who never check requirements. Which will impact tourism/massive negative publicity etc.

GUWonder February 28, 2023 - 7:52 pm

The latest line is that ETIAS won’t go live until a handful of months after EES is up and running. EES itself was pushed out from May 2023 to November 2023, with the excuse being that contractors couldn’t get their act together fast enough. The EC says they will help member states with any problems that arise because of the delays. I’m of the line of thought that the delay will help member states avoid problems that would arise because of EES and ETIAS implementation.


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