ETIAS Launch to Delay Until 2024
Last week, the European Commission confirmed that the ETIAS launch will be delayed until 2024.
According to the previous announcements made by the EU, the ETIAS visa waiver was expected to be operational yet in November 2023.
Unfortunately, it must have been postponed due to some delays in the operation of the Entry/Exit System as well as the Schengen Information System, which are not ready yet.
The SIS is currently being upgraded, and its soon launch was announced. The functioning of both systems is crucial to ensure their interoperability.
Among other factors that influenced the postponement of the ETIAS launch were some delays in preparing the required equipment, without which it is impossible to run the EES at Schengen borders.
ETIAS and the Operation of the Entry/Exit System
Once ETIAS is finally launched, all visa-exempt foreign visitors to Europe will be required to submit the ETIAS application to travel to the EU countries within the Schengen Area and 4 non-EU Schengen countries.
ETIAS aims to identify potential security risks and scan all visa-free travelers before they enter the territory of the EU.
Their data will be verified against a number of security databases, including the Schengen Information System.
Both EES and SIS are key components of the entire process which means that to make ETIAS fully operational, all the systems must interoperate together.
The Entry and Exit System is necessary to upgrade the electronic checks on the border, which will eliminate manual passport controls.
As a result, it will prevent long queues at the borders and improve security in the Schengen Area.
The Launch of ETIAS in 2024
The European Commission postponed the ETIAS launch until 2024 without specifying the new date.
EU representative confirmed that the ETIAS needs around 5-6 months to become operational since the EES' introduction.
Regarding the EES, it was initially expected to be launched in May 2023. Nevertheless, due to some issues with the reliability of the data, it was delayed too.
On March 9th, the Schengen Council plans to discuss the timeline for the EES's full operation.
The approved ETIAS will have a 3-year validity, and as a multiple-entry authorization, it will cover numerous visits to the Schengen Area countries.
Each stay with ETIAS can last up to 3 months and can be related to leisure, transit, medical treatment, as well as business.