Planning a trip to Europe? Pay attention to this important travel update: starting in 2024, travelers to European Union countries will need to apply to the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS is an electronic travel authorization that all citizens of non-European Union countries must obtain before traveling to participating countries. The ETIAS is not a visa requirement, so don’t worry, the application process is very straightforward (see below).
The EU introduced ETIAS to strengthen its border security and streamline the entry process for travelers from non-EU countries. The system screens for potential security threats, increasing safety for both travelers and EU residents. An ETIAS is required for all entries into participating European Countries on a short-term basis (under 90 days). All trips beyond 90 days will require a Schengen Visa; no ETIAS required.
You must have an ETIAS prior to boarding a plane, sea carrier, or coach vehicle to enter a participating country. For instance, if you fly to London and then travel to France via sea or ground, you will still need the ETIAS to cross the French border. Trains are not mentioned, but we advise assuming this applies to train travel as well.
All current and future EU Schengen States and all European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Member countries will require an ETIAS. If you are traveling to any of the following countries, you will need to be approved by ETIAS:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It will also be a requirement for the following European microstates: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.
The ETIAS Application
To apply, you will need to visit the ETIAS website or download the mobile app. These will be available once the system goes into effect. American citizens will be eligible to apply in 2024, however an exact date has not yet been announced. The application will require entering some information, including your passport number and personal details, but only takes a few minutes. Upon completion, you can expect to hear back within minutes. Note that this application is online only.
Once this goes into effect, although the process is quick, we strongly advise you to apply before finalizing travel plans. At the very least, you should apply 96 hours prior to departure. If you are approved, you will not need to apply again for another three years or once your current passport expires, whichever comes first.
The cost of obtaining an ETIAS for travelers ages 18-70 will be €7 which, as of July 14th, 2023, is equal to USD $7.86. This is a one-time fee that will be charged at the time of applying. Children under 18 and adults over 70 will receive an ETIAS free of charge.
Travel to Europe with FTI
Been wanting to plan a group trip to Europe but don’t know where to start? Visit our Tour Finder to see some sample itineraries and get inspired. Whether you picture yourself strolling down the cobblestone streets of ancient Rome with gelato in hand, marveling at the architectural wonders of Barcelona, or immersing yourself in the vibrant culture of Berlin (or all the above), we’ve got you covered!
We can also help you book group and individual flights, and we negotiate special discounts and flexible terms for student, humanitarian, and other non-profit organization travel.
If you, like us, have an insatiable wanderlust, take the first step toward your dream trip by visiting our Request a Quote page.