HAVANA, July 7th The European Parliament approved the European Travel Information and Authorisation System in 2016 to improve border security. ETIAS pre-screens travellers from visa-exempt countries before they enter the Schengen Area.
It was originally expected that ETIAS would take around 5 years to become operational, by the end of 2021, and be fully implemented by 2022.
However, it has now been confirmed that ETIAS will be released in 2023.
WHEN WILL ETIAS BECOME OBLIGATORY TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE?
ETIAS will be fully operational from May 2023. There could be an implementation period lasting a few months before the travel authorisation becomes mandatory.
2023: ETIAS will be available from mid-year
The EU Commission has confirmed the 2023 ETIAS implementation date. The system will be fully operational by May 2023.
There could be a short implementation period after ETIAS is launchd. In this case, ETIAS registration would not be mandatory for at least 6 months after going live. Applying for ETIAS would be optional for trips to Europe at this time.
During the first few months of 2023, ETIAS information will be provided to travellers. Schengen member states will provide information about the new travel authorisation — passengers may be provided with leaflets at Schengen border checkpoints.
The leaflet will also be distributed to the embassies and consulates of all Schengen Area countries where mandatory ETIAS registration will apply.
ETIAS becomes mandatory for visa-exempt visitors in 2023
The 2023 ETIAS requirement allows travellers and carriers time to adapt to the new system. Although registering online will not be compulsory during the initial months, it will be encouraged.
After the initial implementation period, ETIAS will be compulsory for eligible travellers. Tourists and business travellers from eligible non-EU countries will need ETIAS to visit visa-free.
THE EXTRA ETIAS GRACE PERIOD
At the end of the first 6 months of ETIAS implementation, an extra grace period of 6 months could come into effect.
During this time, authorities would allow visa-exempt travellers without an ETIAS to cross Schengen external borders. They would need to meet all other entry conditions and be crossing the border for the first time since the end of the first grace period.
The EU source also added that this second grace period could potentially also be extended for an additional 6 months to allow travellers and border guards to adjust to the new requirements.
The ETIAS grace periods have not yet been confirmed.
ETIAS registration from 2023
After ETIAS becomes mandatory, travellers from visa-exempt countries will need to register online before trips to Europe. ETIAS will be required to visit any Schengen country.
ETIAS is similar to the United States. ETIAS is not a visa but will be an essential travel document. With ETIAS, tourists can visit all Schengen countries for up to 90 days, for tourism or business.