ETIAS Launch Delayed Until 2024

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The launch of ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) has been delayed until 2024, the European Commission has confirmed.

The EC had previously announced that the ETIAS visa waiver would launch in November 2023. However, it has been postponed due to associated systems not being ready for the implementation.

These include the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the Schengen Information System (SIS). The latter is currently being upgraded and is expected to launch soon.

“We are modernizing our EU border management system”, a source at the European Commission told HandyVisas. “The success of these systems depends on them being able to talk to each other. This is why it is vital we make them interoperable”.

Other factors in the postponement include delays in the preparation for the necessary equipment to use the EES at Schengen border crossing points.

ETIAS Launch Delayed Until 2024

Why the ETIAS Launch Relies on the Readiness of EES

Once ETIAS launches, it will become mandatory for visa-exempt foreign travelers to Europe. They will need to submit an ETIAS application to travel to European Union countries in the Schengen Area, associated microstates, and 4 non-EU Schengen countries.

The aim of ETIAS is to identify potential security risks to EU borders before visa-free travelers arrive in the region. It does this by scanning passenger data against a number of security databases, including SIS.

The EES is also a key component in this process. “ETIAS is being developed closely with the Entry/Exit System”, our EC source explained. “This means that ETIAS relies on data provided by the EES for the identification of risks”.

The EES is key to upgrading electronic checks and eliminating manual passport controls. This in turn will speed up queues for entry to the Schengen Area and improve security.

When the ETIAS Visa Waiver Will Launch in 2024

The exact date that the ETIAS visa waiver will be launched in 2024 has yet to be confirmed. However, it will be published on HandyVisas as soon as it is available.

“We expect that the IT system enabling the operation of ETIAS will be available in the course of 2023”, our EC source confirmed. “The entry into operation of ETIAS can only take place 5 to 6 months after the entry into operation of the EES”.

The EES was originally planned to launch in May 2023. However, it was postponed after the agency responsible for its implementation, eu-LISA, revealed that the date was no longer realistic due to delays by contractors.

The source stressed that the timeline for the full entry into operation of EES is due to be discussed at the upcoming Schengen Council meeting on March 9.

“The Commission will continue working very closely with Member States and eu-LISA to minimize the impact of the unfortunate delays and deliver interoperability under this mandate”, our source concluded.

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