Next year, the majority of U.S. travelers planning to visit Europe will encounter a slightly more complex and costly process, owing to the implementation of new visa requirements. As per the official travel site of the European Union, travelers from over 60 visa-exempt countries, including the U.S., will need to obtain approval through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) before embarking on their trips. Commencing in 2024, ETIAS visas will be electronically linked to the traveler’s passport, replacing physical documents.
Currently, U.S. nationals enjoy the privilege of traveling to most E.U. countries without requiring prior authorization. However, this ease of movement will be altered once the new law takes effect.
As stated in E.U. documentation, ETIAS serves as an entry requirement for visa-exempt nationals visiting any of these 30 European countries. The government further clarifies that ETIAS approval is designated for short-term stays, allowing visitors to stay for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.
Next year, when the ETIAS requirement takes effect, the E.U. will offer applications through an official website and mobile app.
To apply, travelers will be required to furnish their passport information or other applicable travel documents suitable for visa attachment.
For minors under their care, parents and legal guardians have the option to apply on their behalf.
The validity of ETIAS approval lasts for three years or until the expiration date of the registered passport, whichever occurs earlier.
The ETIAS processing fee is fixed at 7 euros ($7.74), but individuals aged below 18 or above 70 can apply free of charge.
As per the E.U., ETIAS approval is expected to be granted within minutes for most applicants, but in some cases, it may take up to 30 days. Travelers are encouraged to apply well ahead of their planned trip and are strongly advised to obtain their ETIAS approval before booking flights or hotel accommodations
Indeed, travelers will still be subject to border formalities upon arrival, and it’s essential to note that an ETIAS visa does not guarantee entry, as per the information provided by the E.U.
Most of travelers from developing countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, etc like to have things simple and affordable when traveling to a foreign country for leisure. These additional formalities will cause unnecessary hassles for these travelers and will result in a significant fall in travel to Europe.
According to Rooturaj Pattanaik, founder of Limo Trust and MyVisitingHours.org, “additional paperwork will increase tour package prices and this will force travel agents and travelers to consider alternative destinations. This is because the travel agents will need to do the paperwork on behalf of the travelers and they will add this to their service fee, thereby raising overall package costs.”