The European Union has once again postponed the launch of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to 2024. The system, which will see Brits travelling to the Schengen area having to fill out a document and pay a small fee before travelling, was originally meant to launch in 2021, before being delayed several times.
ETIAS launch date has now been quietly changed to an unspecified date in 2024, by the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs at the European Commission in Brussels. Brits visiting the Schengen area were preparing to pay for the £6 “e-visa” from November 2023, but it is now expected the ETIAS “will be operational in 2024.”
The ETIAS will require people entering the EU and Schengen Area to fill out a form online and pay €7 (£6) for a three year ‘visa’. The system has been in the works since 2016, with the UK being a part of the project before leaving the union.
Brussels has previously claimed that the ETIAS is in fact not a visa, but a “simple, fast and visitor-friendly system” that will “save travellers time and hassle”. But head of EU Exit for the Dover Harbour Board, Tim Reardon, told a House of Lords committee: “It is not called a visa and it has a different status in law, but the practical effect is the same.”
The new authorisation system was due to be implemented in 2021, but has been repeatedly postponed. In order for the system to work, it relies on another system, the Entry Exit System (EES) to also work.
EES will require every “third-party country”, which includes the UK, to have fingerprints and facial biometrics checked upon entering and leaving the EU and Schengen.
The system has been tested by Slovenia, who said: “It was found that it takes up to four times longer to do the new process – border check + enrolment + verification.” The system is planned to be implemented in November 2023, but may also be postponed.