ETIAS: What It Is, How it Works and What Does It Mean for Travel?

Starting in 2025, U.S. travelers will require ETIAS authorization to visit most of Europe.
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Written by Sean Cudahy
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One benefit U.S travelers to Europe have long enjoyed is a visa waiver, as many countries have allowed Americans to visit for of up to 90 days for tourism without a visa.

However, starting in 2025, U.S. travelers will have to go through a few more steps to visit much of Europe.

More than two dozen countries will soon require visitors from the U.S., United Kingdom and many other visa-exempt countries to apply for a pre-travel authorization through the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, commonly known as “ETIAS.”

Here’s what you should know about ETIAS.

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS is a travel security program set to launch in 2025 for travelers from visa-exempt countries to enter the Schengen Area. Affected travelers include U.S. citizens.

The program is being implemented as a method of protecting the region’s borders. It requires an online application and fee, and approval is needed for all short-term stays including vacations and business trips.

Though not a visa, it is an additional clearance step for visitors to the region. An ETIAS approval allows you to visit the included countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

When is the estimated ETIAS start date?

According to the European Commission’s latest update in October 2023, ETIAS is set to launch at some point in the first half of 2025, though an exact date has yet to be announced. The program has already been delayed multiple times in the past, so an official start date is still to be determined.

Is ETIAS approval required for U.S. citizens?

ETIAS is required for travelers from visa waiver countries — those whose citizens can enter the Schengen area without needing to apply for a visa — which includes the U.S.

Along with ETIAS for U.S. citizens, those from 59 other countries will also need to apply to visit Europe. These countries include, but aren’t limited to, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

A full list of countries that will require ETIAS approval to visit Europe is located on the official ETIAS webpage.

Which destinations will require an ETIAS application for entry?

If you’re headed to one of the countries listed below, you’ll need to fill out an ETIAS application prior to traveling.

  • Austria.

  • Belgium.

  • Bulgaria.

  • Croatia.

  • Cyprus.

  • Czech Republic.

  • Denmark.

  • Estonia.

  • Finland.

  • France.

  • Germany.

  • Greece.

  • Hungary.

  • Iceland. 

  • Italy. 

  • Latvia. 

  • Liechtenstein. 

  • Lithuania.

  • Luxembourg.

  • Malta. 

  • Netherlands. 

  • Norway. 

  • Poland. 

  • Portugal. 

  • Romania. 

  • Slovakia.

  • Slovenia.

  • Spain. 

  • Sweden.

  • Switzerland.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Travelers to the United Kingdom and Ireland will not need authorization through ETIAS to enter.

What are the ETIAS requirements?

Once the program has launched, the ETIAS application can be completed online. You’ll need to fill out an application on the program’s official website or mobile app.

You’ll be asked to provide personal information like your name, date and place of birth, nationality, address, parents’ names, email address, phone number and passport number.

The application may also ask questions about your level of education or occupation as well as details about your trip and what you intend to do while traveling. Finally, you’ll need to disclose any past criminal convictions and/or travels to war or conflict zones.

How much does ETIAS cost?

The application fee for ETIAS is expected to be 7 euros, which is about $8.

Applicants under the age of 18 or over the age of 70 will be exempt from the fee, as will family members of EU citizens.

What happens after you apply for ETIAS?

Once you pay the fee and submit your application, you’ll get an email confirming the submission. This email will include your unique ETIAS application number — keep this handy.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Once you are given your ETIAS application number, verify that all information you submitted is correct — if it’s not, you could run into problems at the border.

Soon after, you’ll likely receive another email informing your approval status. Most decisions come within minutes of submitting your application.

Even after you receive an approval, you’ll still have to go through passport control upon arrival in your destination country and meet all other entry requirements. You’ll also need to carry the same passport and/or travel document you used for your ETIAS application.

What if I am not approved?

There is a chance you’ll be asked to submit additional documentation or even attend an interview rather than approved. In that case, it could take up to 30 days to receive a decision, so it’s best to submit your application well in advance of your trip.

How long does ETIAS approval last?

Once your ETIAS application is approved, it’s valid for three years or until your passport’s expiration date, whichever comes first. If you get a new passport, you’ll need to re-apply with your new passport information.

ETIAS, recapped

Starting in 2025, U.S. travelers will need to apply online and pay a fee to visit much of Europe through a new program called ETIAS.

Once the program begins, you’ll be able to submit an application online. If it’s approved, it will be valid for three years or until your passport expires. You’ll be able to use the approval to visit any ETIAS-eligible country for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

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