TORONTO — The European Union has pushed back the launch of its new visa waiver program for the third time.
According to several news outlets, ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) will now launch some time in 2024, three years after its original launch date in 2021.
Prior to this, the program was first pushed back to May 2023 and again to November 2023.
The new launch date was quietly updated on the European Union’s official website, which states that the rules of travel to Europe have changed.
“Starting from 2024, some 1.4 billion people from over 60 visa-exempt countries are required to have a travel authorisation to enter most European countries,” reads the website. It also states that “ETIAS is currently not in operation and no applications are collected at this point.”
The ETIAS visa waiver program applies to residents of 63 non-EU countries, including Canada, who wish to enter 30 European countries. With a valid ETIAS travel authorization, travellers can enter these countries as often as they wish for short-term stays (normally for up to 90 days in any 180-day period). Application to the ETIAS program must be done online prior to their trip, at a cost of €7. All citizens of visa-free countries, regardless of age, will be required to apply for ETIAS, however, only those ages 18-70 will need to pay the fee. ETIAS approval will be valid for three years, or until a traveller’s passport expires, whichever comes first.
For more information go to https://etias.com/.