The European Union is introducing the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in 2024, which will require travelers from visa-free countries, including the United States, to apply for travel authorization before departing. Unlike traditional visas, ETIAS is an online application with a quick approval process, designed to tighten border security and digitally track travelers in and out of EU countries.
- The European Union will launch ETIAS in early 2024, requiring travelers from countries currently enjoying visa-free access to apply for travel authorization before departure.
- ETIAS is not a traditional visa but an online application requiring basic biographical information, travel plans, and history. The authorization process typically takes an hour or up to 96 hours if further checks are needed, with a fee of about $8.
- The authorization will be valid for multiple entries over three years or until the traveler’s passport expires and will be required for travel to all ETIAS member countries, including full Schengen members, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, future Schengen members, and European microstates.
- The implementation of ETIAS aims to strengthen border security and digitally track travelers entering and leaving EU countries. Its role and application process is similar to the US’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program.
- While ETIAS introduces an additional travel step, the maximum duration American tourists can stay in Europe (90 days within a 180-day period) will not change. The exact date of ETIAS’s enforcement remains unclear.