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November 22, 2023

Will I Need a Visa to Travel to Europe in 2024?

Unfortunately, the era of impromptu trips to Paris armed only with a passport is drawing to a close. Starting in 2024, a special travel authorization will become mandatory for 1.4 billion individuals, including Americans, seeking entry into Europe’s Schengen area, which includes France, Italy, and Spain. This stringent measure is part of a global initiative to bolster security. It’s similar to the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization — or ESTA — program that began in 2008.

Administered by the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), these new regulations were authorized in 2016 but encountered various hurdles, including the COVID-19 pandemic and insufficient infrastructure. Consequently, the program’s initiation, originally slated for 2022, has been rescheduled for 2024, with the precise date still pending confirmation.

ETIAS Requirements

Under ETIAS, travelers from previously visa-exempt nations, such as Americans and Britons, will need to apply for this travel authorization along with a nominal fee. This requirement applies to individuals intending to travel to participating countries for less than 90 days.

ETIAS’ primary objective is to identify “potential security risks, irregular migration patterns, and elevated epidemic threats associated with visa-exempt visitors,” according to the European Commission website.

Upon ETIAS implementation, 30 predominantly European nations will need travel authorizations. When entering these countries, travelers must present their passport, ETIAS documentation, and any other specified entry prerequisites to border officials.

For American citizens, the ETIAS authorization exclusively pertains to brief stays of 90 days or fewer; it does not include work visas. Notably, ETIAS data is interlinked with your passport. As such, if you replace your passport for any reason, you will also need a new ETIAS travel authorization.

An ETIAS Authorization is required if:

  • You are not a European Union national.
  • You are from a country, including the U.S., whose citizens are currently visa-exempt for short-term stays in European Union nations.
  • You don’t have a residency permit or card from any European countries mandating ETIAS.

Some travelers may be exempt from the ETIAS travel authorization requirement; verifying if you need one before submitting an application is advisable.

How to Get an ETIAS Authorization

To obtain an ETIAS, American citizens visiting Europe can submit their applications through the designated section on the ETIAS website once it is operational. Until then, you can register for email notifications on their website. As of July 2023, the ETIAS application fee stands at €7, which is about $8. However, this fee is waived for individuals below 18 years old or above 70.

An ETIAS authorization remains valid for three years, permitting travel within participating countries for up to 90 days within any 180-day period. It is imperative to ensure that your ETIAS authorization aligns with the duration of your stay whenever you travel to these nations.

Questions about the New ETIAS Travel Authorization?

While certain details and dates are still emerging, the seasoned immigration attorneys at Stacer, PLC can help answer your ETIAS questions and ensure you have what you need to travel when the requirement finally takes effect. Contact us today at 734-453-7878 or online to learn more.