EU’s new ETIAS and EES travel updates

EU’s new ETIAS and EES travel updates

Here is the most recent information on when the EU’s proposed new digital border entry systems ETIAS and EES travel updates will be implemented, whether there will be any grace periods after introduction, and the websites passengers need to be aware of.

The EU is set to announce a revised timeline for the launch of the EES and ETIAS systems affecting non-EU travellers to the Schengen area at the October 19th Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting. The rollout’s phased timeline is pending approval at EU institutional levels and involves member states’ readiness. Preparations for EES and ETIAS implementation are ongoing, with details on post-launch border checks yet to be confirmed.

When might the rollout take place?

    • EES introduction is likely in late 2024, with ETIAS to follow in spring 2025.
    • Launch dates won’t coincide with summer or Christmas/New Year periods due to high travel volumes.
    • France has requested an EES delay until after the Paris Olympics in July and August 2024.
    • EES’s potential start date: is autumn 2024.
    • ETIAS is expected six months after the EES rollout, earliest in spring 2025.
    • EU Commission remains committed to making both systems operational, according to Anitta Hipper, spokesperson for home affairs.

Educational Drive

    • A global information campaign is being prepared to educate travellers about the EES and ETIAS systems.
    • Airlines’ industry associations urged European authorities in January to plan a communication campaign for non-EU nationals regarding the new requirements.
    • EU-LISA, responsible for the technology, confirmed that the public information effort will commence six months before ETIAS goes live.
    • The campaign will cover 19 languages, including 13 non-EU languages, and will target third countries, major travel hubs, and border crossings across 30 European nations.

Preparations for airlines, ferries and rail companies

    • Air, land, and sea carriers are preparing for the new border system and will be responsible for pre-boarding passenger checks.
    • For EES, carriers must verify if passengers have used the authorized entries allowed by their visa.
    • For ETIAS, carriers must ensure passengers possess a valid travel authorization.
    • Previously, carriers checked passports at check-in; now, they will send verification queries to passengers 48 hours before departure through a dedicated web service called the ‘carrier interface.’
    • If a carrier boards a passenger without using the interface and the traveller is denied entry, the company will face penalties and must return the passenger.
    • If a passenger is refused entry despite an ‘OK’ from the interface, there will be no penalties, but the carrier still has to repatriate the person.

Getting ready for the passengers

    • A web service is under development to allow non-EU citizens to check their authorized stay status in the EU.
    • ETIAS applications will be accessible through an app.
    • Currently, the website offers information about the ETIAS program, and efforts are being made to optimize its search engine visibility.
    • While third-party applications will be permitted, Frontex has cautioned against unofficial websites and scams emerging in this context.

Will there be a period of grace?

    • After the ETIAS launch, there will be a six-month transitional period.
    • During the initial six months, travellers lacking a valid travel authorization will still be allowed entry if they possess a valid travel document and meet entry requirements.
    • Subsequently, a six-month ‘last chance’ grace period will follow.
    • During this grace period, first-time Schengen area entrants without ETIAS can cross the border if they meet all entry conditions.

What about storing data?

    • EES data will be retained in databases for three years, with the period resetting at each entry.
    • ETIAS validity lasts for three years or until the passport used for application expires, whichever occurs first.
    • Travelers will receive an email notification 120 days before their ETIAS expires, offering the option to apply for a new travel authorization.
    • If an ETIAS application is declined, revoked, or annulled, the associated file will be stored in the EU database for up to five years.

A reminder of what our EES and ETIAS

    • The EU’s EES digitally records non-EU citizens’ border crossings.
    • EES replaces passport stamps, enhances security, and enforces 90-day stays in 180 days for non-EU visitors.
    • ETIAS requires visa-exempt travellers to obtain a €7 travel authorization before short Schengen trips.
    • Exemptions apply for those under 18 or over 70, as well as family members of EU citizens or certain nationals.
    • Similar authorizations exist in the US, Canada, and Australia, with the UK planning its version.

The rollout of the EU’s new digital border entry systems, ETIAS and EES travel updates, is eagerly anticipated but still subject to confirmation. Preparations are underway for both travellers and carriers, including information campaigns and the development of web services. While ETIAS introduces a grace period, it’s crucial to understand the entry conditions and data storage rules for these systems.

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