Americans and Canadians heading to Europe next year will face new paperwork requirements and fees, but the impact on European travel is likely to be minimal for most travelers.
The European Union announced that the proposed European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will go into effect sometime in 2024.
Approved by the EU in 2016, the ETIAS program was originally slated to begin previously been slated to begin in January 2021, then delayed until January 2023. Now it’s supposedly going to start next year, although no firm start date has been announced.
When it does finally launch, ETIAS will require Americans, Canadians and visitors to Europe from a total of 63 “visa exempt” nations to complete an entry application prior to boarding an aircraft, boat, or vehicle for Europe. The requirement includes travelers who are merely transiting one of the 27 EU member nations en route to another destination.
Travelers will be advised to complete the ETIAS application 96 hours prior to travel. The form requires a variety of disclosures, including the applicant’s name, date and place of birth, nationality, parents’ first names and contact information. Also required are passport details—passports must not expire within 90 days of entry into Europe—education and occupation information, reason for visit, and intended length of stay.
Travelers also will be asked about any prior criminal convictions, travel to war zones and whether they have previously been required to leave another country.
Filling out the form will not guarantee admission to Europe: immigration officials may refuse entry but must state a reason, and there will be an appeals process.
ETIAS Approval is Good for 90 Days in Europe
Applying for entry via ETIAS will include a nonrefundable fee of 7 Euros (about US$7.40 at the current exchange rate). Approval for entry is good for up to 90 days in Europe.
Susan Farewell, founder and owner of Farewell Travels LLC, said ETIAS makes sense from a security perspective.
“Adding more form filling out to the trip planning process is a headache for our clients and ourselves,” said Farewell. “However, the planned process appears to be very simple and the fee quite low, so it will become another item on the checklist along with trip insurance, etc., when advising our clients. If you survived the COVID documentation and multiple testing, getting a simple ID such as this isn’t a big deal.”