U.S. Travelers to EU to Face New Fee, Paperwork in 2025

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is set to launch sometime in 2025.
Sally French
By Sally French 
Edited by Kevin Berry

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.


Traveling to some countries in Europe will soon require yet another piece of paperwork — and yet another fee. For Americans, that fee is just under $8 (7 euros) per person.

Sometime in 2025, the European Commission is set to launch what’s called the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, or ETIAS.

What is ETIAS?

The new ETIAS program is expected to be a largely automated process for identifying security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks. The program is designed for certain travelers heading to the Schengen Area, which consists of 26 European countries without border controls between them.

Austria. Belgium. The Czech Republic. Denmark. Estonia. Finland. France. Germany. Greece. Hungary. Iceland. Italy. Latvia. Liechtenstein. Lithuania. Luxembourg. Malta. The Netherlands. Norway. Poland. Portugal. Slovakia. Slovenia. Spain. Sweden. Switzerland.

The European Commission says the program is designed to “facilitate border checks; avoid bureaucracy and delays for travellers when presenting themselves at the borders; ensure a coordinated and harmonised risk assessment of third-country nationals; and substantially reduce the number of refusals of entry at border crossing points.”

The new ETIAS program applies to citizens of countries who don't need visas to enter the European Union, including the U.S.

That means Americans have one more task on their to-do list (and one more fee to pay) before entering Europe’s Schengen Area.

How ETIAS will work

First, you’ll have to fill out an online application form, which the EU uses to conduct various security checks. Submitting that form also entails a fee of around $8.

In most cases, visitors will receive travel authorization within minutes. But in some cases, it could take travelers up to 30 days to receive authorization.

Once you have your authorization documents, they’ll be checked along with other travel documents such as your passport by the border guards when crossing the EU border.

What ETIAS means for travelers

An extra cost

The extra fee could be a headache for travelers. Sure, about $8 is small potatoes in the grand scheme of a European trip. But it comes in an era where new fees are appearing everywhere, whether it’s hotel resort and amenity fees, or airline fees for things such as checked bags and seat selection.

Plus, the fee is per person, so if you’re bringing the family, you’ll need to pay and register everyone in your travel party.

More paperwork

ETIAS joins the list of ever-growing paperwork you need before boarding a flight. That includes needing to ensure your passport is up to date. If it’s not, that may pose its own challenges because it sometimes takes the State Department over two months to process passports.

A challenge for procrastinators (or last-minute travelers)

Given that ETIAS authorization could take up to 30 days, people booking last-minute travel may have to account for this change, as well as people who procrastinate on this particular paperwork.

Of course, the ETIAS program hasn't started, and there’s no clear initiation date.

In fact, any semblance of initiation periods have already been delayed. Back in late 2021, the European Commission stated that ETIAS would expected to be operational by the end of 2022. And from there, there was set to be a six-month transition period for the system to be implemented, meaning you would likely need to register with the ETIAS program sometime in 2023. But 2022 has come and gone.

As of October 2023, the European Union has said that it now expects ETIAS to launch in 2025.

And when it does become mandatory, add it to your growing pre-travel to-do list — and bake those $8 per person fees into your travel budget.

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.