The travel authorization had been scheduled to become fully operational on May 2023. However, without any warning or official statement, the EU Commission has updated the date to November 2023.
“ETIAS is expected to be operational in November 2023,” the Commission has updated the information on an informative page regarding the ETIAS under the Migration and Home Affairs.
SchengenVisaInfo.com has contacted the EU Commission about the recent change of the date of ETIAS launch and the reasons behind it but has received no response so far.
The ETIAS is a travel authorization that over 1.4 billion travellers from over 60 world countries, including here Americans, Britons, Albanians, Australians, Canadians and more, will have to obtain before their trip to the EU countries. These travellers currently can travel to the EU visa-free, as their countries have a visa-free arrangement in place with the EU.
“Around 1.4 billion people from over 60 countries around the world benefit from visa-free travel to the European Union,” the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) pointed out in a press release issued at the end of last year.
The scheme was first set to become effective in 2022 and then was postponed to the end of this year. Later on, the date this requirement becomes mandatory for travellers was moved to May 1, 2023, and now the same has been pushed for another six months further, to November 23, without any prior notice or reasons behind such a move.
The requirement has raised lots of criticism, in particular in the former EU member, the United Kingdom, where many believe that the ETIAS is equal to a travel visa. In fact, ETIAS could not be more different than a visa, as travellers who need to obtain it only need to fill in a short form online and upload a scan of their passport. The fee for an ETIAS is only €7 and is paid online. There is no requirement for an appointment at an EU embassy or for providing biometrics.
Though the majority of Britons think the ETIAS is a bit excessive for them, some travel experts believe that the same will ease the delays at the borders between the EU and UK.
“Having an ETIAS means that Britons will be able to skip some of the checks they undergo now, as all their information will be available in their ETIAS. Border guards won’t even have to ask the questions that they ask now,” notes Besart Bajrami, founder of SchengenVisaInfo.com.
The UK is also working on a similar scheme that will be called the Electronic Travel Authorization, and the same will process nearly 30 million applications each year. Other world countries also have such schemes in place, including here the US, which asks travellers from about 40 world countries to obtain an Electronic System Travel Authorization, shortly known as ESTA, to travel to the country visa-free for tourism and business purposes.
Source – schengenvisainfo