The delay in the introduction of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will not influence the date when Kosovo nationals will be allowed to travel visa-free to the 27 Schengen Area countries, an EU official confirmed to etiasvisatoeu.com.
The source further stated that the legislation on visa liberalisation for Kosovo will be presented to the Council for consideration at its meeting next week, on March 9.
“After the document is accepted by both the Council and the European Parliament, the exemption from the visa requirement will apply from the date ETIAS begins operations or from January 1, 2024, whichever date comes first,” the official stated in an email discussion with etiasvisatoeu.com on March 1.
This implies that, while the ETIAS will not go into effect on November 1, as previously planned, but rather somewhere in the middle of 2024, people of the Republic of Kosovo will be allowed to travel visa-free to the Schengen Area beginning January 1, next year.
On Tuesday, February 28, the EU Commission’s Spokesperson for Home Affairs, Migration, and Internal Security, Anitta Hipper, confirmed to SchengenVisaInfo.com that the current expected date for ETIAS to be fully operational is 2024, approximately five to six months after the Entry/Exit System (EES), which is set to go live at the end of the year.
“We estimate that the IT system enabling the functioning of ETIAS will be available in the course of 2023. ETIAS is currently projected to be completely operational in 2024. “The ETIAS can only go into operation five to six months after the EES goes into operation,” she explained.
She also stated that the EES’s full operational date would be debated at the EU Lisa Management Board and subsequently before the Justice and Home Affairs Council in June, but its implementation is on the agenda of the next Schengen Council on March 9.
The reasons for the EES delay, according to her, are connected to delays in creating the system at the central level by the contractor, but also in the Member States, since some of them have failed to provide the requisite equipment for the use of the EES at border crossing points.
The EU Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Areas of Freedom, Security, and Justice (eu-LISA), which also controls the EES and ETIAS systems, has already implemented corresponding sanctions.