The European Commission (EC) recently announced new mandates for certain visitors traveling to one of 30 designated countries in the European Union (EU).
In 2024, select travelers will first need to complete an online travel authorization application via the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). The new process is designed to help identify security and irregular migration risks, according to the EC. ETIAS was initially intended to launch in 2022, but implementation has been delayed mainly due to technical issues and systems not being ready for operation.
Beginning next year, all EU countries except Ireland will require ETIAS travel authorization for entry. Those with an ETIAS approval may stay in the listed countries for up to 90 days within any 180-day period.
The EU’s website has not yet listed an official start date, but the new procedures will involve additional questions and fees for visitor entry.
When filling out the ETIAS application, applicants will need to have a travel document and credit card readily available. Applicants will be asked to provide details and a declaration of accuracy on:
- Personal information
- Travel documents
- Education and occupation
- Intended travel itinerary
- Any criminal convictions
- Past travels to war or conflict zones
- Whether the applicant has been the subject of a decision requiring them to leave the territory of any country
Additionally, applicants between 18 and 70 years old will need to electronically pay the €7 EUR (approximately $8 USD) application fee. Children under 18 will be fee-exempt; however, parents or legal guardians will need to submit applications on behalf of minors.
Passport holders from 59 of the 62 countries from which visa-free travel to Europe is permitted for tourism, business, or transit – including those with U.S. passports – will now require ETIAS authorization. This totals approximately 1.4 billion nationals, including nationals of the United Kingdom, a former EU member state.
The EC has confirmed that, in more than 95% of cases, ETIAS applications will be processed in minutes, and approved ETIAS travel authorization will allow multiple entries to European countries and will be valid for three years or until the expiration date of the applicant’s travel document.
Applicants considered a threat to security, including individuals with criminal backgrounds, may be denied ETIAS authorization.
Individuals whose ETIAS travel authorization is refused or revoked will have the right to appeal. Applicants will receive an email indicating the grounds for refusal and the authority that made the decision, as well as the European countries where appeals should be filed and the relevant procedures to follow.