Cochem, Germany. Photo by Kai Pilger, Unsplash

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While Americans and many other travelers have long traveled to Europe without a visa, that will soon change.

The new European Travel Information and Autorization System (ETIAS) is set to start in early 2024. When it launches, travelers from the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will need an ETIAS authorization to travel to countries in the European Union.

But don’t worry. The process of applying and receiving your ETIAS is simple and inexpensive. It only requires a quick online application, with approval delivered via email.

Here is what you need to know:

What Is the Purpose of ETIAS?

ETIAS acts as a pre-screening process to identify potential security risks before arrival. It does not replace the need for a visa if needed.

What European Countries Does This Impact?

ETIAS applies to all 26 countries in the Schengen Area, including popular destinations such as France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and others. It will also cover several non-Schengen European Union countries. You can check if this applies to a country you are traveling to, here.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. Photo by Roman Kraft, Unsplash
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. Photo by Roman Kraft, Unsplash

Do Visitors From My Country Need an ETIAS Authorization?

You can check if travelers from your country require an ETIAS authorization, here.

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What Is the Process?

Travelers must complete an online application for ETIAS, providing personal information, passport details, and travel itinerary, and answering security-related questions.

Palma, Spain. Photo by Tom Podmore, Unsplash
Palma, Spain. Photo by Tom Podmore, Unsplash

What Does ETIAS Cost?

The application costs €7 ( about $8) and is required for all travelers regardless of their age.

How Long Will the ETIAS Process Take?

After submitting the application and paying the fee, the ETIAS system will process the information provided. In most cases, pre-approval will be granted quickly, often within minutes. If further checks are required, it can take up to 96 hours. We recommend applying well ahead of your date of travel to ensure there are no issues.

Piburger See, Austria. Photo by Paul Pastourmatzis, Unsplash
Piburger See, Austria. Photo by Paul Pastourmatzis, Unsplash
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What Period of Time is ETIAS Valid for?

Once approved, the ETIAS authorization will be valid for multiple short stays over a period of up to three years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first.

This information is subject to change. We recommend always checking with your country of travel’s website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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Author Bio: Sandy Page is a life-long adventurer. In her free time, she reads and consumes copious amounts of hot beverages.

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