In its latest newsletter, eu-LISA—the European Union information and communication technology agency—has signaled an entry-into-operations date of mid-May 2023 for the proposed Schengen Area electronic travel authorization.
In October 2018, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) Regulation came into force, paving the way for EU governments to strengthen security checks on persons who travel visa-free to the EU—this currently includes nationals from over 60 countries. Once introduced, this system will bring the EU into line with countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, South Korea, and others that operate electronic travel authorization systems for visa-exempt visitors.
ETIAS had originally been scheduled to be operational by December 2022, but this latest communiqué from eu-LISA suggests a five-month extension to that deadline.
Here’s what else we currently know about ETIAS
- Once operational, visa-exempt travelers arriving in the following countries will be required to complete an ETIAS application in advance of their journey: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
- Applicants will complete an online application form and pay a small fee.
- Automatic application processing will check the traveler’s identity, travel documents, and background against several databases.
- In most cases, the authorization process will take just a few minutes to complete and responses to the applications will be received electronically to the traveler’s email address.
- ETIAS is electronically linked to a travel document and will be valid for up to three years, or until the expiry date of the linked travel document.
- With an ETIAS authorization in hand, travelers will be able to move freely across the Schengen Area.
The latest update from eu-LISA suggests that travelers visiting the Schengen Area in the coming year don’t need to worry about applying for ETIAS for now—the system won’t be operational before May 2023. In the meantime, international transport providers and travel companies should assess how the introduction of ETIAS is likely to impact their businesses and their customer experiences.
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