Starting in 2023 Travel to Europe Will Require an Extra Step

In mid-to-late 2023, U.S. citizens and nationals of over 60 other countries will need an electronic travel authorization to visit much of Europe.

Travelers to any Schengen-zone country will have to register with a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). ETIAS will be similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) already used in the United States.

How will it work?

Most travelers have no need to worry. The process will involve a quick online application and a €7.00 credit card payment. According to the European Commission, “ETIAS will be a simple, fast and visitor-friendly system, which will, in more than 95% of cases, result in a positive answer within a few minutes.”

The authorization will be valid for unlimited entries within a three-year period – or until the date of the applicant’s passport expiry, whichever is sooner – so travelers who frequent Europe won’t need to apply every time. Without a visa (ETIAS is not a visa), U.S. citizens will still need to limit their travel to 90 days within any 180-day period (the current limit). Those seeking to travel for purposes such as work or study will still require a visa.

Americans will need an electronic authorization to visit Europe

Americans will need an electronic authorization to visit Europe
Image courtesy of Pixabay

If I’m traveling to Europe, when should I apply for ETIAS authorization?

Until 2023, ETIAS authorization will not be required. Once it goes into effect travelers should be able to obtain the authorization online within minutes, in most cases. Of course it’s better not to wait until the last minute. In rare cases applicants may be asked for additional information, which could take a few days or longer to process.

Which countries does this apply to?

ETIAS authorization will be needed for travel to any country that is part of the Schengen Borders Agreement, as well as countries that are European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Members, European Microstates With Open Borders, as well as Future Schengen Members (“Home ETIAS Countries”). This includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

I’m not a U.S. citizen. Will this affect me?

ETIAS will apply to anyone who travels visa-free to the Schengen area. This includes nationals of over 60 countries. More information can be found within the European Commission’s press release regarding ETIAS.

James manages the programs for U.S. citizens at InterExchange.

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2022: Last chance to visit Europe before ETIAS

european comission

This makes 2022 the last year for travellers before ETIAS becomes operational. Although a short implementation period is expected, visa-exempt nationals should be prepared for the upcoming changes to entry requirements.

Information about travelling to Europe with ETIAS from November 2023

ETIAS is being implemented to improve external Schengen border management and increase security across the region. By pre-screening non-EU nationals who do not need a visa, health and safety threats can be prevented from reaching Europe.

ETIAS is not a visa. It is an electronic travel authorisation or visa waiver for visa-exempt non-EU nationals. ETIAS will be operational from November 2023.

Once fully implemented, visa-exempt visitors to the Schengen Area will need to apply online. The ETIAS application process is fully electronic.

Countries that can apply for ETIAS authorisation from November 2023

Citizens of more than 50 countries will be able to apply for ETIAS from November 2023. It will become an entry requirement for Europe soon after its implementation.

Some of the countries whose citizens will need an ETIAS to travel to Europe are:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • The United States

ETIAS will be required to visit all Schengen member countries including France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

The same travel authorisation is valid across the Schengen Area, a separate permit is not required for each individual member state.

Development and implementation of ETIAS

The European Commission proposed the introduction of a travel authorisation scheme in 2016 and the regulation was approved in 2018. ETIAS is currently being developed by eu-LISA and will be operational from November 2023.

ETIAS was previously scheduled to enter into operation in 2020 and later in 2021. ETIAS has been delayed numerous times due to COVID-19 and to ensure interoperability with other systems such as the Entry-Exit System (EES).

The current start date oF November 2023 makes 2022 the last full year before the travel authorisation becomes available. Once ETIAS is implemented, border authorities will begin verifying ETIAS authorisations attached to the passports of non-EU visitors.

ETIAS’ chronological progression

The European Union has reached the following milestones towards the ETIAS becoming fully operational:

Five European countries —Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands— signed the Schengen Agreement to achieve the gradual abolition of common border controls.

The Schengen Agreement proposes the total abolition of systematic international border controls as well as a shared visa policy for member nations.

The European Commission publishes the first draft of the regulation of the European Parliament and the Council establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).

The European Commission proposes the improvement of the EU’s information systems in terms of security, border control and migration by efficiently integrating the existing systems with the upcoming ETIAS.

After reaching a political agreement on ETIAS, the European Council approves and adopts the regulation for the establishment of the ETIAS protocols by the European Parliament.
The decision to assign the ETIAS project —an automated information system— to the eu-LISA Agency is made. The ETIAS will, therefore, be managed by the same company that is currently in charge of Large-Scale IT Systems in the areas of Freedom, Security and Justice.

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The European Commission implements new measures to prevent the entrance of individuals that may pose a risk to the security of the EU. Furthermore, the EC also adopts regulations that make it much harder for people to acquire weapons or purchase ingredients that may be used to manufacture homemade explosives.

This would be the last year in which travellers from over 50 eligible countries have the opportunity to travel to Europe before ETIAS enters into operation.

ETIAS is scheduled to be operational from November 2023. It will become an entry requirement following a short implementation period.

When will ETIAS become mandatory?

ETIAS is expected to be voluntary for the first few months after it is launched. ETIAS would not be mandatory but travellers would be encouraged to apply.

An ETIAS authorisation will remain valid for 3 years, or until the applicant’s passport expires. Passengers who apply during the implementation period will be able to use their visa waiver for future trips to Europe without having to reapply.

This ETIAS timeline will be updated with the latest information. Travellers are advised to stay up to date with the latest information in the lead-up to the November 2023 ETIAS start date.

Robert J. Benoit

Robert J. Benoit has been writing about the travel industry for years, producing content for a number of different publications. He is particularly interested in the Schengen acquis and the effects of Brexit on travel throughout Europe. His content ranges from breaking news coverage to sensible travel recommendations.

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Travel to Europe in 2022: What Will Be Different?

Travel to Europe in 2022: What Will Be Different?

The pandemic rendered travel unrecognizable. At least for a span that stretched from early 2020 well into 2021. Between the coronavirus, border closures, and widespread doubts about the industry as a whole, it seemed like travel as we knew it was gone for good.

Now that we are getting ready to turn the calendar to 2022, optimism about travel is starting to coarse throughout the industry.

Thanks largely to the foundation for a successful vaccination campaign executed on a global scale, international travel has perked back up in regions across the world that welcomed millions upon millions of visitors per year.


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International tourism has recorded 250 million international arrivals this year

One such region is Europe and, more specifically, the European Union. Europe receives astronomical numbers of tourists each year. The incredible diversity of the many nations comprising the European Union offers visitors almost anything they could imagine. Furthermore, they do so in a way that facilitates easy travel within and between those countries.

To maintain a sturdy level of security regarding whom the EU allows to visit, travel officials have developed a new online visa waiver system that they are preparing to deploy at the end of 2022.

The ETIAS is the Electronic Travel Information and Authorization System. Instead of being a traditional visa, it is a visa waiver that will allow applicants to quickly apply online for pre-approval to enter Europe.

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Find out more about who can apply for an ETIAS and then read on for more information about travel to Europe in 2022.

Learning More About the ETIAS for 2022

There are currently around 60 nations across the world that are not required to apply for a visa before entering Europe. Among those countries are The United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, and more. Passport holders from those countries will be required to obtain an ETIAS when it is launched.

As Europe works to rebuild financially, part of the key to that plan is to once again welcome as many tourists as would be sustainable.

While adding a step to the pre-trip process may feel arduous and antithetical to the idea of welcoming tourists, the steps for acquiring an ETIAS will be as simple as possible. In addition, the extra security it will provide will help ensure that Europe remains as attractive a destination as possible.

Applicants for the ETIAS will only need to provide a few bits of personal information like the details from their passports. Also, their phone number, address, and, most importantly, a valid email address.

An email address is crucial to acquiring an ETIAS because the valid visa waiver will be issued directly to the applicant’s email after just a few business days.

Once the ETIAS has been delivered, it is wise to print out a hard copy in case the border officials wish to double-check their records.

When Will the ETIAS Become Mandatory?

As of the end of 2021, the plan remains for the ETIAS to be launched roughly within a year. That is to say sometime around the end of 2022. Anybody who is a passport holder from an ETIAS eligible country who is planning to visit Europe in 2022 should continue to monitor the implementation of the ETIAS while they make their travel arrangements to avoid any issues.

In addition to the lack of a firm date, European officials are also considering a six-month grace period from the time the ETIAS is made available to the time when its absence will be enforced by border control.

That does not mean that it is wise to ignore the ETIAS until the middle of 2023, simply that potential travelers should continue to update themselves with the most current information.

Which European Destinations Should Vacationers Visit in 2022?

Every year, countless websites put out their list of the top European destinations for that year. The writers of these articles mention cultural events that will take place in those locations as proof as to why you should visit.

Often these events involve huge gatherings of people from all over the world. While some people may be ready to get in among the crowds, it is okay if you are perhaps still anxious about that thought following a few socially distanced years.

With that in mind, that makes 2022 the perfect year to take a trip to that remote town in Italy or Spain you have always wanted to visit. Instead of going to see the Vatican in Rome, why not visit a hilly or coastal town where you can relax and breathe easily?

It isn’t that visiting big cities is a bad idea, just a reminder that although as far as continents go Europe isn’t the largest, there are still plenty of small, wonderful places to escape to for a relaxing getaway.




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