How does this new "visa" requirement work?
Update (3/2/23): As of March 1st, 2023, the EU has delayed the start of the ETIAS until sometime in 2024. It will no longer launch in November of 2023 as previously stated.
For years, US citizens were allowed to travel to and within the European Union (EU) with just a US passport for a maximum of 90 days at a time. This has changed and a new law has introduced a "visa" that must be submitted before traveling. But good news - it is not as difficult as it might seem!
Starting in November 2023, all travelers from the US must complete an application that will grant them entrance into the EU (with a small fee, of course). Let's break it down:
This new policy is introducing the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)*. You will still be able to travel to and within the EU up to 90 days at a time with your passport, but you will also have to fill out an application, pay a fee, and get approved before doing so. They describe this system not as a "visa," but as a "visa waiver" or an "electronic travel permit."
As we mentioned, the process is relatively easy - just a tad annoying as it adds to the to-do list before traveling. You complete the application online and should be able to complete it in a few minutes providing details like your name, place of birth, contact details, passport information, first point of entry in the EU, as well as health-related information. You will also have to pay a fee of 7€. If you are under 18 years old or over 70 years old, the application is free. The application should be fairly straight forward and they say it should be processed in minutes, although they also say it could take longer. They advise to complete it at least 3 days in advance of travel in case of delays.
Once the application is approved, you will receive an email with the official ETIAS visa waiver. You will have to print it out and present it at the European border control officers (at your destination in Europe).
Some more good news: Once your application is approved, your visa is good for 3 years!!
And that's it! Just a little extra step before enjoying your culinary tour abroad!
*Get more info here.