The European Commission has again delayed the launch of its ambitious new travel system, scheduled for 2021, until 2025 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new travel system, known as the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), will require non-European citizens travelling to the Schengen area to apply for and obtain authorisation before entering the region.
The Executive Vice-President for Migration and Home Affairs, Margaritis Schinas, said in a statement that “the pandemic has shown the need for increased preparedness to manage non-essential travel to the EU”, and that “we must lay the technological and legal foundations [for ETIAS] as soon as possible”.
The ETIAS system will be used to vet visitors to the EU by checking information against various databases, such as Interpol’s crime database and Europol’s counter-terrorism database. It will also be used to assess the risk posed to the EU by travellers entering from outside the region.
The system is designed to bolster the EU’s existing border controls, making them more efficient and further strengthening the security of EU citizens travelling within the region.
Once operational, travellers to the Schengen area will be required to register online and pay a fee. Those who pass the ETIAS check will be granted an authorisation that will be valid for up to three years.