From 2024 onwards, US citizens must be aware of a new travel mandate if they’re planning a trip to Europe. A prior visa-free experience won’t be possible anymore, as they must apply for authorization via the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) before setting foot in Europe.
Shifting Power Dynamics in Passport Rankings
According to a report published by ABC7 Chicago, as of now, American passport holders enjoy visa-free travel to 184 destinations worldwide, per the Henley Passport Index. The U.S. passport is presently the eighth most influential one. However, the upcoming ETIAS requirements for US visitors might lead to a change in these dynamics.
The ETIAS Application Process
The report noted that the application form can be found on the official ETIAS website or mobile app. The application charge stands at 7 euros or $7.79. All correspondence regarding the application process will occur via email.
Once the travel authorization is approved, it grants a stay of up to 90 days within 180 days in the European countries necessitating ETIAS. The approved ETIAS should be maintained throughout the stay.
Most applications should be cleared within minutes, but there may be a wait time of up to four days, extending to 14 days in case additional documentation is required.
Advice from the European Union
The report noted that the EU advises prospective travelers to apply for the ETIAS well ahead of their journey. Post-submission, applicants will receive a confirmation email with a unique reference number.
Travelers must confirm the correctness of their details, such as name and passport number, upon receipt of ETIAS authorization. Any inaccuracies may impede border crossing.
In case of application rejection, the email will contain the reasons behind the decision and the appeal process.
The Validity and Role of ETIAS Authorization
The report noted that the ETIAS authorization is valid for three years or until the associated travel document expires, whichever comes first.
This authorization will be linked to the individual’s travel document, like the U.S. passport, and both will be required for boarding flights, buses, or ships to ETIAS-requiring European countries.
Remember that having an ETIAS authorization isn’t a guaranteed right of entry. Border officials will ascertain entry qualifications and reserve the right to deny entry to those who fail to meet the criteria.
Learn more in the entire ABC7 Chicago report.