Travel to Europe is about to get a little more complex.
U.S. passport holders will need to apply for a travel authorization through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) to visit 30 European countries starting in 2024.
While U.S. passport holders currently enjoy visa-free access to these countries, come next year, they will have to take this extra step before packing their bags.
Here is what you need to know about the ETIAS.
What is the ETIAS? How does it work?
ETIAS is an electronic travel authorization connected to a traveler’s passport. Travelers from over 60 visa-exempt countries, including the U.S., can enter 30 European countries for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.
However, just because you successfully obtained an ETIAS does not mean you will automatically gain access to your desired country. A border guard at your point of entry will determine if you have all the entry requirements.
What is the application process like?
Most ETIAS applications take a few minutes to process. But sometimes, it can take up to 14 days, if you need to submit more information or documents.
If there is an interview needed, the process can take up to 30 days.
This is why travel experts advise that you apply for your ETIAS travel authorization many weeks before your European trip.
How do you apply for an ETIAS travel authorization?
You can fill out the application form on the ETIAS website or app to request the travel authorization.
Keep in mind that you cannot apply for an authorization just yet. The European Union has not opened the application process and will not do so until well into next year.
How much does it cost to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization?
An ETIAS travel authorization is $7.79 translated into American dollars. However, some travelers can get an exemption from paying this fee.
Check the application requirements on the website for more information.
What documents and information do you need to apply?
You need a valid travel document where a visa can be placed, according to the ETIAS website.
The travel document, such as a passport, should not expire within three months and not be older than 10 years.
You will need to provide personal information, including your name, surname, date and place of birth. You will also need to show the details of your travel document, your level of education and current occupation and intended travel and stay in the countries where ETIAS is required.
You will also be required to show details of any criminal convictions, past travels to war or conflict zones and if you were recently the subject of a decision requiring you to leave the territory of a country.
More details about the necessary requirements for an ETIAS application are listed here.
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