EU institutions are moving towards the creation of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which is set to become fully effective by the end of this year.
In a press release on January 28, the European Border Agency Frontex announced the graduation of the first batch of ETIAS central unit operators. The operators, who have completed the three-month training course, include 28 application wizards, two team leaders, and ten support operators for travelers and carriers.
“The operators include 19 women and 21 men. They are now expected to undergo further training in the use of the system provided by eu-LISA. In the next two years, Frontex plans to hire an additional 200 employees to manage and operate the ETIAS central unit,” the agency notes.
According to Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex, in the past year alone, the ETIAS division of the European Border Agency has grown from nine to 52 employees.
“Extensive work is also underway in the individual member states that create their own national ETIAS units as well as in two of the sister agencies involved in this important project: eu-LISA which develops IT systems and Europol, which will provide data for security screening of applications,” Congratulating the new graduates, said Director Legere.
ETIAS is a system whereby travelers from more than 60 countries in the world, who can now travel to the Schengen area without a visa, must obtain a permit before their trip to the borderless area. It is estimated that 1.4 billion travelers from these countries will have to apply for ETIAS by the end of the year.
The system is scheduled to become effective by the end of 2022, and the European Union agencies responsible for its activation have made continuous progress in this regard.
In mid-October last year, TheSchengen.com reported that eu-LISA had opened registration for air carriers, sea carriers and international road carriers for ETIAS.
eu-LISA, the European Union agency for the operational management of large-scale information technology systems in the field of freedom, security and justice, will enable carriers to receive the information necessary in order to prepare for the time when the ETIAS Act has entered into force.
At the same time, once ETIAS is in effect, all carriers will be required by law to check whether each passenger carries a valid ETIAS before leaving the board.