The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) has already hired 41 new employees to work on the ETIAS Central Unit in order to make sure that the system goes fully effective by the end of 2022.

In a press release issued by the Agency on October 13, the same points out that it intends to grow the number of employees working on the ETIAS Central Unit to 200, in order for the same to be able to handle the number of travelers applying for an ETIAS.

Around 1.4 billion people from over 60 countries around the world benefit from visa-free travel to the European Union. Starting at the end of 2022, these visa-exempt travelers will be required to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization before they start their trip,” the agency points out.

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System, shortly known as the ETIAS, is a system on which the EU has been working since 2016. The idea behind it is to enhance security in the EU and Schengen Area countries by obliging travelers to apply for an entry authorization before their trip.

The system will then check the application against other EU security databases, such as SIS, VIS, EES, Eurodac, and ECRIS-TCN, and decide whether the traveler should be permitted to travel to the EU and Schengen Area countries or not.

It is estimated that around 97 percent of the travelers will be granted authorization through an automated procedure within 96 hours. The other three percent of applications will be processed through the ETIAS National Units.  

Each application will cost €7 and will be valid for three years for the entire territory of the Schengen area.

Among those that will need to obtain an ETIAS by the end of 2022 are also US nationals, Britons, Albanians, Australians, Kiwis, etc.

>> Do I Need an ETIAS?

Commenting on the issue Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri said that the system will be an important part of border management, in particular in the post-COVID world.

ETIAS is an important part of the digitalization process of our border management, helping to ensure the resumption of international mobility in the post-COVID world with higher security and safety standards,” Leggeri said.  

According to Frontex, the block is not the first to introduce such a system, as other countries also have similar schemes in place, including the US, which has ESTA – Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

In its press release, the agency noted that one of the main challenges during the procedures to create the system was connecting it to the other EU security databases.