ETIAS delayed again, new target 2024
The launch of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) has been delayed by the European Union once again, according to the EU Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs site.
Initially scheduled debut in 2021, the project has been paused four times, most recently in December. The EU now is floating a November launch. The ETIAS site hedges, saying the system should be ready by 2024.
ETIAS is a proposed digital authorization system for visa-exempt visitors to the EU and its Schengen Area. If approved, a visa waiver would be linked to a traveler’s passport and will be linked to their passport for €7 (US$7.42).
Previous delays have been blamed on Covid and “other headwinds.” No official reason has been provided this time.
“Delaying the ETIAS launch will benefit intermediaries and service providers in the travel industry, particularly those that service travel to European Union countries,” reads an article published by consultant ETIAS.com. The delay will enable these providers to “ramp up their capabilities and ensure their systems are prepared” to capture biometrics, as required for the EU’s closely connected entry-exit system (EES).
EES was also was postponed, twice (the second time in January reportedly due to undefined contractor issues).
The ETIAS waiver will be similar to the United States’ ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).
EU officials expect 1.4 billion people from more than 60 visa-exempt countries to apply for travel authorization after the ETIAS goes live in 2024.
This post was updated at 7:17pm Eastern on March 2, 2023 to correct the role of biometrics in the respective systems and clarify the source of the reported reason for the delay.