If you’re a US passport holder, you currently don’t need a visa or any advanced authorization to visit 26 European countries as long as you stay less than 90 days. If you want to get ahead of your travel plans for next year, you should know about a new security measure European countries will be taking. Starting in 2024, US passport holders will need to apply for travel authorization before embarking on their travels.
US passport holders can apply through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). While ETIAS may seem like a visa at first glance, it is actually something slightly different.
What is ETIAS?
While the idea of applying for a visa may seem daunting, ETIAS is essentially a travel authorization form. Once you complete the form and receive a decision, you can travel to 30 European countries. However, the ETIAS website notes that just because your ETIAS is approved does not mean you will be granted access once you arrive. You will still need to meet entry conditions before you are allowed to cross the border. You can see the full list of countries that will require ETIAS here.
How to apply for ETIAS
You can apply on the ETIAS website or mobile app. Since ETIAS is not currently in effect, the official ETIAS website is not taking applications at this time. Make sure you apply with the travel documentation–such as your passport–you plan to travel with. More details on what you need to apply can be found here.
The ETIAS website notes you shouldn’t have to wait long for a decision; usually, you will know in 4 days, although there is a chance the process could be extended up to a month, so it’s advised to apply before your travels.
How long does ETIAS last?
Once your ETIAS application is approved, it is valid for 3 years or until your passport expires.
How much does ETIAS cost?
The application fee is only 7 Euros, which at the current conversation rate, is roughly 7.61 US dollars. The application is free if the traveler is under 18 or over 70.