- Once ETIAS becomes mandatory, visa-exempt third-country nationals will need to apply before travelling to Europe.
- This article explains when ETIAS will start, and when travellers will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver for Europe.
ETIAS is expected to be operational in November 2023.
In 2016, the European Commission proposed a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
The ETIAS Regulation was passed on July 5th, 2018 after being approved by the European Parliament.
ETIAS has been under development since 2018, and the launch date is rapidly approaching. Continue reading to learn when ETIAS will be implemented.
WHEN IS THE ETIAS START DATE?
The ETIAS launch date has been pushed back from 2021 to 2022, according to European officials. The delay gives border officials and travellers time to fully prepare for the new method.
Although the precise launch date is unknown, ETIAS is scheduled to be operational by November 2023.
WHEN CAN I START APPLYING FOR ETIAS?
As previously stated, ETIAS will begin in November 2023. Travellers who fit the ETIAS standards will be able to use the online register and apply for ETIAS in the near future.
Foreign people must be from a visa-exempt country and visiting Europe for tourist, business, or transit in order to apply for ETIAS. ETIAS allows a maximum stay of 90 days each 180-day period.
6-MONTH ETIAS GRACE PERIOD
It is possible that applying for the ETIAS visa waiver will not be required immediately away.
A 6-month ETIAS transition period could be implemented to allow travellers to become acquainted with the new entrance procedures.
During the grace period, information would be made available at Schengen Area borders to notify third-country people on the changes to the EU visa policy.
Although ETIAS may not be required until after the transition period is through, qualified travellers will be urged to apply.
ETIAS is valid for three years and several travels to Europe. Applicants who apply during the changeover period can utilise the permit for the next three years, unless their passport expires.
A grace period for ETIAS has yet to be announced.
PREPARING FOR THE EU VISA WAIVER START DATE
With the start date of ETIAS approaching, European institutions are preparing for its implementation.
Here are some recent examples of current preparations.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR FINLAND’S BORDER CONTROL PROJECTS
The European Union’s Internal Security Fund has granted €1.3 million to three border management projects in Finland.
A portion of the funds will be used to upgrade border control equipment, including self-service kiosks.
Finland is also working on a border control app for mobile devices that will be used on trains, ports, and other border crossing locations.
When the Entry/Exit system and ETIAS become live, these projects will help to ensure seamless passenger flow.
The financing also covers the costs of running a patrol vessel.
ETIAS CENTRAL UNIT OPERATORS COMPLETE TRAINING
In January 2022, the first cohort of ETIAS Central Unit operators graduated.
A three-month training session was completed by 28 ETIAS application handlers, two team leaders, and ten travellers and carrier support operators.
These operators will be performing tasks such as system testing until the ETIAS for Europe launch date. They will process applications and give help desk assistance once ETIAS is established.
Over the next two years, Frontex will hire 200 new employees to administer and operate the ETIAS Central Unit.
AIR, LAND, AND SEA CARRIER REGISTRATION ONGOING
Passengers travelling to the Schengen Area by air, sea, or overland coach can now register using the eu-carrier LISA’s interface. This will allow them to query the Agency’s IT systems.
When ETIAS is adopted, carriers such as airlines will be required by law to check it. Only passengers who receive the ‘OK to travel’ response will be able to board.
A Working Group for Carriers has been formed to promote coordination between eu-LISA, the European Commission, Frontex, and carriers in preparation for ETIAS.
EU-LISA INDUSTRY ROUNDTABLES
Industry Roundtables are organised by eu-LISA, the EU organisation in charge of the European Union’s large-scale IT systems.
The 16th edition, titled ‘EES and ETIAS – Getting Ready for Operation,’ was held on October 11-12, 2022. The event’s speakers presented and debated technology solutions and operational processes.
The eu-LISA roundtables bring together representatives from EU institutions, Member States, and the transportation industry. In the run-up to the new border management systems, stakeholders can share their thoughts and concerns.
HOW TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE IN 2022
ETIAS is not yet required for travellers. Visitors with valid passports from more than 50 visa-free countries can enter the Schengen Area.
Tourists and business travellers can visit Europe without a visa for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. They will need to register to stay visa-free after the ETIAS start date.
Additional COVID-19 admission requirements exist in some European nations. Before travelling, all international visitors must verify the most recent EU COVID-19 requirements.
More information about how to go to Europe in 2023, once ETIAS is implemented, can be found on EtiasVisa.com.
WHO NEEDS A VISA FOR EUROPE IN 2022?
Citizens of third-country nationals who are not eligible for visa-free travel will require a visa to enter the Schengen Area in 2022.
This need will remain unchanged once ETIAS is implemented. ETIAS is not a visa and only applies to those who are eligible to visit EU countries without a visa.
Visitors needing a visa for a short stay in Europe must still apply through an embassy or consulate.
ETIAS APPLICATION IN 2023
ETIAS applications will be accepted beginning in November 2023. Applicants must complete the online ETIAS application form with basic personal information and passport information.
There will also be inquiries concerning criminal records and visits to conflict zones on the form.
ETIAS processing will be quick, with most travellers receiving their authorization in a matter of days.
When crossing an external Schengen border, the approved ETIAS visa waiver will be linked to the passport used to apply and verified.
HOW TRAVEL TO EUROPE WILL CHANGE IN 2023
The way third-country nationals travel to Europe will alter once ETIAS is adopted.
Visa-exempt travellers must register for ETIAS before to departure. Passengers must obtain authorization to travel to Europe.
AT THE AIRPORT
Airlines and other international carriers will check if visa-exempt customers are authorised to fly. The carrier interface will be used to query the passenger information. Only passengers who receive a ‘OK to travel‘ response will be allowed to board the plane.
Border agents will continue to check that travellers have the necessary travel documents and that they meet the entrance requirements.
ETIAS AND IMPROVED BORDER SECURITY FROM 2023
From 2023, the online ETIAS application will increase border security and make European countries even safer.
The new ETIAS system will pre-screen visitors to ensure they are not a health or safety danger. Visitors who pass this screening will be permitted to enter the Schengen Area without a visa.
To cross-check applications, Schengen security databases such as the ETIAS watchlist, the Schengen Information System (SIS), and Europol data will be utilised.
Foreigners will need to apply for a visa to go to Europe if the ETIAS is denied.