The workforce working in the central unit of the European Union’s Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) has more than quadrupled in recent months to ensure that everything is ready for the system’s introduction in November 2023.
According to a press release issued on November 17 by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, the Frontex staff is working hard to meet the deadlines so that travellers from over 60 world countries who do not require a Schengen visa to enter the Schengen Area will be able to obtain an ETIAS without difficulty a year from now, according to etiasvisatoeu.com.
The agency also reports that 56 new personnel have joined Frontex, mostly as applications handlers and traveller and carrier support operators.
“Once ETIAS is operational, they will process and screen visa-exempt traveller applications and provide helpdesk assistance to ETIAS applicants and carriers,” the government states in a news statement.
The Director of ETIAS Division of Frontex, François Laruelle, commented on the work being done to achieve all ETIAS deadlines, saying that the team in this division has its hands full due to the strenuous preparations for the system’s debut in November 2023.
“ETIAS will signify a substantial transformation for European border management. We’ll have a lot on our plates in the following months, and the launch preparations are rigorous. “Our operators will be working around the clock to make border crossings as easy as possible for travellers while keeping Europe secure,” Director Laruelle stated.
Frontex also stated in its news statement that the ETIAS will reduce the number of control operations at external EU borders, reducing traveller wait times.
It further stated that the ETIAS will boost border management and the EU’s visa liberalisation strategy by, among other things, assisting in the prevention of illicit migration and aiding the fight against terrorism and organised crime.
The system was supposed to go live in May 2023, however the EU Commission discreetly postponed the debut until November 2023.
When that happens, travellers will be able to apply for an ETIAS online via an official website that has yet to be announced, but an EU source has verified to SchengenVisaInfo.com that the ETIAS website would be under the Europa.eu domain.
Travelers must fill out a form with basic information such as their name, date and place of birth, passport details, occupation, and background security questions. Tourists must also upload a picture of themselves and pay a €7 cost.
Many other nations, notably the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, run similar programmes for citizens of countries with visa-free access, while the United Kingdom is working on developing a similar travel permission mechanism.
Frontex reports that it is already working closely with the authorities of the 26 Schengen Area countries, as well as Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania, to ensure that the ETIAS system is ready on time.