The European Union had been preparing to introduce the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) from May 2023, but it has now been delayed until November. It wasn’t clear why the delay was implemented, but it should make travelling from UK to Europe a little less fraught than might have been the case during next summer.
However, the Entry/Exit System (EES) that will require all non-EU arrivals to have fingerprints scanned and a photograph taken is still set to come into force in May. The biometric data will be stored for future checks as the European Union takes back control of its borders.
UK travel industry professionals are lobbying for a delay to the start of the EES, which will provide an electronic record of entry and exit. At present British passports are ‘wet-stamped’ on entry and exit, the date stamp being the measure of whether a UK visitor is within the 90-day rule.
If the EES goes ahead in May, this will require UK nationals to get out of their cars at ports to be processed in the presence of French border officials, as required by French law. It will also present a major challenge for Eurostar and Eurotunnel, both of which were conceived at a time of free movement between the UK and the rest of Europe.
The ETIAS can be applied for online, lasts two years, and costs seven pounds. It will resemble the Esta needed for visitors to the US, allows visa-free travel and UK citizens 90 days out of 180 to be in the European Union.
FILE PHOTO: Long waits at French border control booths at Dover in July Reuters