New EU Visa Program (ETIAS) Delayed Again

The long-talked-about visa program for inbound travelers to Europe is reportedly delayed yet again.

According to Schengen Visa Info, which cited European Union (EU) officials, the start of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) program has now been delayed to May 2025 at the earliest because of issues launching the Entry/Exit System (EES) that would track visitors into Europe.

“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,” the official said, according to Schengen Visa Info.

When the EU first announced the ETIAS, which has been in the works since 2016, the plan was to start it in November 2023. It would have required all non-Europeans, including those in the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada, to obtain an electronic travel permit ahead of arrival.

However, that timeline was pushed to “at least 2024” earlier this year and then reportedly again this week, though the ETIAS website, and the EU website, are both still showing a 2024 launch date.

When it is launched, the ETIAS will cost each applicant 7 euros (approximately $7.40 US or $9.55 CAD) for a permit that will be valid for three years. According to the ETIAS website, the application process should take no longer than 10 minutes, and 95% of applicants will be approved within minutes. Travelers will only need their passport, a credit card, or a debit card to pay for the permit, and no biometric data will be collected during the application process.