...poning of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) launch date will not affect the date when Kosovo citizens will finally be able to travel visa-free to the 27 Schengen Area countries, an EU official has confirmed for SchengenVisaInfo.com.
The official has also pointed out that the regulation on visa liberalisation for Kosovo will be put for adoption by the Council at the meeting set to be held next week, on March 9.
“Once the text is adopted by both the Council and the European Parliament, the exemption from the visa requirement will apply from the date on which ETIAS starts operations or from January 1, 2024, whichever date comes first,” the official said on March 1, in an exchange of emails with SchengenVisaInfo.com.
This means that though the ETIAS will not become effective on November 1, as it was previously scheduled, but rather some time by the middle of 2024, the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo will be able to travel visa-free to the Schengen Area starting from January 1, next year.
Last week, it was reported that the ETIAS roll out date had been changed on the website of the EU Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs from November 2023 to only 2024.
On Tuesday, February 28, the EU Commission’s Spokesperson for Home Affairs, Migration and Internal Security, Anitta Hipper, confirmed for SchengenVisaInfo.com that the current expected date for ETIAS to be fully operational, is 2024, around five to six months after the entry into operation of the Entry/Exit System (EES) which is scheduled to come into force at the end of the year.
“We expect that the IT system enabling the operation of ETIAS will be available in the course of 2023. The current expected date for ETIAS to be fully operational is 2024. The entry into operation of ETIAS can only take place five to six months after the entry into operation of the EES,” she said.
She further noted that the date for the EES full operation will be discussed at the Management Board of EU Lisa and then the Justice and Home Affairs Council in June, though its implementation is on the agenda of the upcoming Schengen Council on March 9.
According to her, the reasons behind the EES delay are linked to delays in developing the system at central level by the contractor, but also in the Member States as several of them have failed to prepare the necessary equipment for the use of the EES at the border crossing points.
The EU Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA), which also manages the EES and ETIAS systems, has already activated relevant penalties in this regard.
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