U.S. citizens have enjoyed the ability to take spontaneous trips to Europe for decades, but soon there will be an extra step to take before leaving for Europe. Currently, a U.S. passport is suffient documentation to enter European Union countries for periods of less than 90 days. But that is changing next year. Beginning in spring 2023, U.S. citizens, as well as travelers from 58 other countries, will require an European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) visa waiver to travel to any of the Schengen-zone countries for short stays.
Back in 2016, the European Commission approved developing ETIAS as a screening tool to help prevent terrorism and illegal immigration. The automated electronic screening measure is “created to identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks posed by visa-exempt visitors,” according to the ETIAS website.
The United States of America will be a launch member of the ETIAS
American citizens will be eligible to apply for ETIAS in 2023
American citizens will benefit from a using an online application system to apply for ETIAS
Other ETIAS Requirements
American citizens can apply for ETIAS online
ETIAS is valid for arrival to Europe by air, sea or overland
Travellers must have an e-passport that is machine readable
ETIAS is for short tourist, business, transit and medical visits
Applicants under the age of 18 or over the age of 70 will receive their ETIAS free of charge
Although U.S. travelers will still not need a Schengen visa, they will be prescreened before arrival into European Union countries. No biometric data will be collected; Americans will need to provide their passport information and answer “a series of security questions in regards the traveler’s health, and whether they have been to conflict zones in the past,” per ETIAS.com.
The new travel authorization will be required for every to every member country in Europe’s Schengen Zone. Right now, that includes 22 EU member countries, four non-EU countries and four European microstates.
ETIAS registration will be necessary to enter Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The same goes for trips to the microstates of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City.
An ETIAS travel authorization will be good for three years and will cover multiple trips to EU countries. Travelers between the ages of 18 and 70 will need a valid passport, an email address, and a debit or credit card to pay the nonrefundable €7 application fee. Children and teens under age 18 and seniors over age 70 will need to fill out an ETIAS application but will not be charged the fee.
Once the ETIAS program launches, Europe-bound airlines will be required by law to check passengers’ ETIAS authorizations before allowing them to board.