In a recent announcement, the European Union (EU) has once again postponed the rollout of its travel authorization program, the European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme (ETIAS), affecting approximately 1.4 billion individuals from over sixty visa-exempt countries. The delay, now pushing the implementation date to mid-2025, impacts citizens entering the 27 EU member states, along with Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland.
Originally slated for introduction in 2019, the ETIAS program has faced successive delays, with its most recent postponement attributed to the complexities of coordinating with the EU's Entry-Exit System (EES). The EES system, designed to check biometric data for third-party nationals entering and exiting the EU, is expected to become operational in the autumn of this year.
Under the ETIAS framework, individuals from visa-exempt countries, including British nationals and residents of British Gibraltar, would need to register online and pay a seven-euro fee for a three-year permit to travel within the EU and the broader Schengen area. It's important to clarify that ETIAS is not a traditional visa but rather an authorization linked to a traveller’s passport. Valid for up to three years or until passport expiration, individuals obtaining a new passport must acquire a new ETIAS travel authorization.
The application process involves completing an online form and submitting the required fee, with authorization typically issued within minutes. However, the ongoing delays have sparked concerns and uncertainties among travellers and stakeholders, highlighting the need for comprehensive communication regarding the revised timeline for the implementation of ETIAS.