The EU has announced this week that they have delayed the release of the new ETIAS e-visa that was originally to launch this year. The ESTA-style visa scheme is now expected to see its release in the winter of 2023.
Since the UK left the EU as part of Brexit in January of 2020, it is now classed as a third country in relativity to the EU, falling into the list of countries that will be required to apply for the visa programme in order to stay in Europe long-term. The ETIAS fee is expected to come to €7 (£6) per application for those over the age of 18, those under 18 will not be charged any fees. In comparison, the ESTA scheme used for US visas costs $21 (£17) at present.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will require travellers from third countries to apply in advance of travel to the bloc and pay the fee, a scheme commonly compared to the US ESTA system and the Canadian ETA system (to find out more about which countries are required to apply for an ETIAS before travelling to the Schengen Area, check out the Schengen Visa website).
Travellers will be required to complete online forms covering health, education, and criminal convictions in order to apply for an ETIAS that will cover their travel to the EU for three years. However, while this was originally set to launch in 2022, and then pushed back to May 2023, it will now not be launched until November 2023.
This programme has been criticised by some UK politicians, while many believe that ETIAS will speed up border crossings from the UK and could relieve delays that are being experienced in airports at present, UK travellers will not have to undergo checks with the ETIAS system in place.
Despite this launch being pushed back to November 2023, the launch of the automated Entry/Exit System (EES) is still set for launch in May 2023. This system will require all non-EU arrivals to scan four fingerprints and have a photo taken.
The biometric data will be captured on their first entry to the EU only. It will register the name, travel documents, and the date and place of entry and exit for the traveller. This EES system is set to replace the need to stamp British passports when they are entering the EU.
A similar scheme to the ETIAS is being worked on in the UK at present. Foreign visitors may be required to use the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) which is expected to process nearly 30 million applicants a year after its launch.
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