Starting in 2024, the European Union will introduce a new travel document requirement called the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) for U.S. and other visa-free countries. The new system isn’t a traditional visa but requires an online application and approval prior to departure, costing €7 (about $8) and granting multiple entries over three years. Most travelers are expected to appreciate the simplicity of the process, and the introduction of ETIAS aims to tighten border security in Europe. The length of time for tourist stays will not change, but the exact date for the requirement’s implementation is still unclear.
- ETIAS Introduction: The European Union is launching ETIAS in early 2024, requiring American and other visa-free country citizens to apply for travel authorization before their departure to Europe.
- Application Process and Cost: Applying for ETIAS requires filling out an online form, and most applicants will receive authorization within an hour, though it may take up to 96 hours. The application costs €7 (about $8) and is required for travelers of all ages.
- Validity and Member Countries: Once approved, the ETIAS authorization is valid for multiple entries over three years or until the passport expires. It will be required for travel to all ETIAS member countries, including full Schengen members, EFTA countries, future Schengen members, and European microstates.
- Purpose and Reception: The goal of ETIAS is to increase border security and digitally screen travelers. While there was initial apprehension, travelers like business and leisure visitors have expressed relief at the simplicity of the process.
- Continued Visa-Free Stays: Despite the new requirement, U.S. passport holders can still stay up to 90 days within a 180-day period in Europe as tourists. Longer stays require a special visa, and the new system is not expected to deter travel to Europe.