US citizens currently enjoy visa-free access to most E.U. countries, however, this privilege is set to change soon.
According to the official travel site of the European Union, visitors from more than 60 countries that are visa-exempt will be required to apply for European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) approval ahead of their trips starting in 2024. Visitors will need to pay about $8 to apply for ETIAS authorization when traveling to European countries.
The new travel authorization program is being implemented by the Europen Union to protect and strengthen its borders amid mounting terror threats in Europe.
”The rules of travel to Europe have changed. Starting from 2024, some 1.4 billion people from over 60 visa-exempt countries are required to have a travel authorisation to enter most European countries,” the EU website noted.
Notably, ETIAS is an electronic travel authorization linked to a traveler’s passport.
All U.S. citizens who want to travel to the 27 member countries of Europe’s Schengen Zone will need to register with ETIAS or risk being turned away at the border. Once the authorization is secured, however, it is valid for up to three years or until the visitor’s passport expires.
According to ETIAS, most applications should be processed within minutes, but in case an application takes longer, decisions will be sent within four days or up to 14 days if the applicant is asked to provide additional documentation.
”With a valid ETIAS travel authorization, you can enter the territory of these European countries as often as you want for short-term stays — normally for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, it does not guarantee entry. When you arrive, a border guard will ask to see your passport and other documents and verify that you meet the entry conditions,” the EU’s website reads.
According to the Henley Passport Index, American travelers have visa-free access to 184 global destinations,