The first batch of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) Central Unit operators graduated today after completing a three-month training course.
The graduates include 28 ETIAS applications handlers, two team leaders and 10 traveller & carrier support operators. In the months to come they will further contribute to the development of the ETIAS Central Unit hosted by Frontex, test the system developed by eu-LISA and, once ETIAS becomes operational, they will process applications from travellers who apply for an ETIAS travel authorisation and perform helpdesk assistance functions to support ETIAS applicants and carriers.
“It is great to see the European Travel Information and Authorisation System taking shape here in our Warsaw headquarters. Over the last year, ETIAS Division in Frontex has expanded from nine to 52 staff members and we are now seeing the first group of operators graduating,” – said the Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri during the ceremony. “Intense work is also going on in the individual Members States setting up their respective ETIAS National Units as well as in two of our sister agencies involved in this important project: eu-LISA which is developing the IT systems and Europol which will provide its own data for the security screening of the applications” – he added.
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 additional 200 staff members to manage and operate the ETIAS Central Unit.
Starting in May 2023, nationals of over 60 visa-exempt countries will be required to apply for an ETIAS travel authorisation before they start their trip to Europe’s Schengen area. The launch of ETIAS will help maintain a high level of internal security in Europe as it allows for assessing whether visa-exempted travellers pose a security, public health, or migratory risk before they start their travel. The EU will not be the first to introduce such a system: for many years now, visa-exempt travellers have had to apply for a travel authorisation to enter the US, Canada or Australia.