The launch of the highly-anticipated European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) was originally due to be launched in 2021 but a global pandemic has pushed it back multiple times and now its speculative due date is in 2024.

No exact date was given in sight of the continued disruption and little warning with this latest change by the European Union that appeared in a website update.

One reason for the delay could be unforeseen technical issues or resourcing issues as well as budget.

The push back will give travellers more time before they must obtain an ETIAS and likewise allow providers to improve their data capture capabilities for broader biometric checks into and leaving the EU and Schengen Area territory.

Once implemented, non-EU citizens that obtain visa-waiver status, now applying to the UK and US, will have to apply for a ETIAS to enter any of the 26 countries in the Schengen Zone.

Similar schemes are implemented to enter the UK (Electronic Travel Authorization) which processes nearly 30 million applications each year and the Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA) which manages travel into the U.S. from 40 countries.