The European Union has further postponed the launch of its visa waiver scheme for travellers from outside the EU, including the UK, according to reports from Brussels.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) was due to be introduced in May 2024 following several delays.
However, the EU is thought to have pushed back the launch to May 2025 at the earliest due to problems with a new automated border entry and exit system (EES).
The ETIAS cannot operate until the EES is fully operational.
A report by Schengenvisa.com claims that EU officials have confirmed that the EES won’t be up and running as planned by early next year, forcing a delay to the introduction of the ETIAS until at least May 2025.
The publication quoted an official saying: “We had initially hoped for the EES to become operational by the end of this year or, at the latest, the beginning of the next year.
“Due to unforeseen delays, it has become evident that this timeline is unattainable. As a result, the implementation of the ETIAS has been rescheduled to May 2025, with the possibility of further postponement.”
Schengenvisa.com said the postponement had also been confirmed by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but it has not specified a more precise date for its introduction.
ETIAS was originally due to be introduced in 2021 for all arrivals from countries that don’t need a visa to enter the EU, but it has been delayed several times. When it is introduced, it is expected to cost €7 (£6).