17:06 PM

European trips due to require travel authorization in 2024

The European Union is set to launch the European Travel Information and Authorization System next year, specifying that travelers from the U.S. and other nations that don’t currently need visas will have to get approval before visiting any of 30 countries.

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Americans planning a trip to Europe should be aware of a change set to take effect next year that will require them to register for authorization before making the trip.

Scheduled to launch in early 2024, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will affect passport holders from more than 60 countries – including the United States and Canada – that currently are allowed to visit European countries visa-free.

The European Union’s system will authorize travelers to visit the 27-country Schengen Area, which encompasses most of continental Europe, plus Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania. Notably, the requirement will not be in effect for the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland.

Some information about ETIAS authorization erroneously calls it a visa, but it is technically a visa waiver that helps member countries know who is entering their borders. The European Commission says ETIAS is designed “for the identification of security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors.”

Travelers will get authorization by logging onto the ETIAS website in the future and providing some personal details like an address and phone number, any criminal history and information about their travel plans.

The process will cost applicants 7 euros, or about $8. Only travelers 18 to 70 years old will have to pay the fee, but every traveler must get authorization in advance. ETIAS approval will be linked to the traveler’s passport, which will be checked before they are allowed to depart for their destination.

No concrete timeline has been set for the launch, but when the system is in place, online authorization should take only minutes for most people. Approval may take longer for some as the information is cross-checked with government databases.

This authorization will allow visitors to stay up to 90 days within a 180-day period, and will last three years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. Any travelers looking to stay longer than 90 days will have to apply for a visa.

For more information on ETIAS travel authorization, click here.