After a series of delays, the new European Travel Information and Authorization System will officially launch in 2024. This system, passed into legislation in 2018, requires all non-E.U. passport holders to apply for pre-trip permission to enter E.U. countries.
ETIAS aims to improve security within the European Union by storing data on travelers from 59 of the 62 countries with visa-free access. With increased visitation to these countries in recent years, ETIAS will strengthen border security against migration-related abuses, terrorism incidents, visa-free arrangements and other security-related issues. The system also allows countries to monitor and deter potential criminals.
The system was originally scheduled to launch November 2023, but several setbacks see the system now plan to launch next year. Setbacks included the COVID-19 pandemic; funding challenges for many airports, ports, land crossings and railway stations; and technological concerns pertaining to capturing fingerprint and facial data to feed into ETIAS.
What does this new system mean for U.S. travelers venturing to E.U. countries? Non-E.U. nationals, including U.S. citizens, who currently don’t need a visa to enter E.U. countries will be required to get permission to enter and pay a small fee. So, those coming from countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and many others fall under the ETIAS-eligible category. This small fee, expected to cost around $7.50, will cover the traveler for the next three years. Comparatively, the entry fee for non-U.S. citizens coming to the United States is $21 for two years.
The enactment of the new system serves as a type of pre-screening and entry authorization system. The United States has its own system, ESTA, for incoming travelers who are not U.S. citizens.
Starting 2024, U.S. travelers planning a trip to a country in the European Union for tourism, business or transit must fill out and be approved for an ETIAS entry waiver within the European Union for a maximum of 90 days. An approved waiver is good for three years.
To apply online for ETIAS, applicants need a passport, email address and debit/credit card. Most applications will be processed within minutes, with all applications checked across a series of security bases.
The good side of this new system not only comes in the form of increased safety and border security for countries, but also for travelers. Border wait times and a more streamlined entry are expected, as well as other reduced wait times associated with entering a country.
What are your thoughts on this new enactment for 2024? Will it affect you on your future travels? Tell us your thoughts. Email us at [email protected]. Please include your full name and location.
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