If you’re planning a trip to Europe next year, don’t get caught off guard by this new change.
- American travelers should plan for additional paperwork and a small fee when traveling throughout Europe in 2023.
- This change, planned for May 2023, will require planning, though it shouldn’t impact your vacation budget much.
- Travel authorization with the ETIAS, an electronic border-control system, will be valid for three years.
If you like to travel to Europe, or plan to next year, there’s an upcoming change you’ll need to consider. American travelers will need to complete new paperwork and pay a small fee to travel to many European countries by 2023. Here’s what you need to know.
Introducing the European Travel Information and Authorisation System
As a U.S. passport holder, it’s relatively easy to travel around Europe. When visiting any of the 26 countries that are in the Schengen area, American travelers can visit visa-free for up to 90 days every 180 days just by presenting their passport. But soon, there will be another step to complete, and it will require some pre-planning.
The European Commission plans to launch the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) in 2023. This system will help keep track of visa-exempt visitors, like Americans, who visit European countries within the Schengen area.
What it means for American travelers
Once the ETIAS is in operation, Americans planning to visit countries in the Schengen area will need to apply for a travel authorization. They will also need to pay a fee of 7 euros — which is less than $8. This new process won’t give you a visa. Instead, the ETIAS provides visa-free travelers with an electronic visa waiver.
Since this system will be largely automated, most applicants will receive authorization within minutes. But in rare cases, the process could take up to 30 days for some travelers. For this reason, you’ll want to plan appropriately so you don’t miss your trip.
Here’s the good news: Once you’re issued an authorization, it will be valid for three years. If you travel to other Schengen-area countries within those three years, you won’t be required to seek new authorization or pay an additional fee.
For now, your European travels won’t be impacted, and there’s nothing you need to do. While there is no set start date, the ETIAS is expected to be in operation by May 2023.
Will this impact your vacation budget?
The ETIAS application fee is an extra cost, but it’s not a big one. Since the fee is so small, this likely won’t drain your bank account or require you to change your travel plans. But it’s a small expense to consider as you outline your vacation budget.
It’s also important to consider this upcoming change for planning purposes. You don’t want to forget to apply or wait too long and not receive your authorization in time.
Now that you’re aware of this news, you can better plan your future European travels. Once the system is active, you’ll need to show your electronic authorization at border crossing points.
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