Young man sitting in airplane passenger seat and checking his bag

U.S. Passport Holders Will Require Travel Authorization To Visit Europe In 2024

If you’re already daydreaming about your next getaway, there’s some recent news to keep in mind–especially if a European adventure is on your horizon. Starting in 2024, things are going to be a bit different for U.S. passport holders when it comes to traveling to Europe.  

Travelers will need to get a special thumbs-up through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) before jetting off. Before you start worrying about all the things you need to do before your next trip, we’ll break the new travel authorization requirements down for you.  

This new system is all about making international travel safer and more seamless. It is designed to boost security while making sure travelers can smoothly hop from country to country without a hitch. 

As you gear up for future adventures, just remember that a little digital nod from ETIAS will be part of the journey. This new precaution, much like travel medical insurance and other precautionary measures, is all about keeping travelers safe and making sure trips to Europe are as amazing as ever. 


What Is ETIAS? 

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is a significant development in the realm of international travel, aimed at enhancing security measures while streamlining the entry process for non-European Union (EU) nationals. Thirty European countries will soon require an ETIAS travel authorization for travelers from over 60 countries, including those from the United States. 

At its core, the ETIAS serves as a pre-screening mechanism that enables European authorities to assess and identify potential security risks before travelers even arrive at their intended destination. 

By collecting essential personal information from applicants, such as their name, passport number, and travel dates, the system facilitates a comprehensive background check that can help safeguard the Schengen Area from possible threats. 

ETIAS first got the green light back in 2016, and the initial plan was to launch it in 2022. However, the Coronavirus pandemic threw a bit of a curveball in its adoption, and some “not-quite-ready-yet” infrastructure caused a slight delay.  

This innovative system is set to take effect from 2024 and will be a mandatory requirement for individuals who are exempt from obtaining a visa when visiting the Schengen Area–a collection of visa-free European countries.  

ETIAS form placed on letter pad 

What Is The Application Process? 

Although the ETIAS application process has not gone live yet, it is designed to be user-friendly and efficient. Prospective travelers will need to create an online account, provide requisite personal details, and respond to a series of security-related questions. 

The application process is only expected to take about 10 minutes, making it a convenient and hassle-free step for those looking to explore Europe. In terms of cost, the ETIAS is quite affordable, with a fee of €7 (roughly $8 USD) per application. Travelers under 18 or over 70 will not need to pay the fee. 

This nominal amount grants travelers’ access to a three-year authorization or until the expiry of their passport, depending on which comes first. This flexibility not only aligns with the evolving nature of travel but also ensures that travelers can enjoy multiple trips to the Schengen Area during the validity period. 

Man walking through the airoprt

A Streamlined Travel Process 

It’s crucial to note that while the ETIAS facilitates a streamlined entry process for visa-exempt nationals, such as Americans traveling to Europe, it does not replace the need for a visa for citizens of countries that require a visa to enter the Schengen Area. 

This distinction underlines the nuanced nature of international travel requirements and highlights the complementary role that the ETIAS plays in enhancing both convenience and security.  

The ETIAS represents a pivotal advancement in travel regulations, bringing together innovation and security to provide a more comprehensive and efficient experience for visitors to the Schengen Area. 

As the implementation date approaches, prospective travelers should take note of the process, requirements, and benefits associated with the ETIAS, ultimately contributing to a safer and more enjoyable travel experience in Europe. 


Improved Security 

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is a new security measure that will be required for visa-exempt nationals traveling to the Schengen Area from 2024. The ETIAS will allow European authorities to screen travelers before they arrive and will help to identify potential security threats. 

The ETIAS will not replace the need for a visa for nationals of countries that require a visa to enter the Schengen Area. However, it will make it easier for visa-exempt nationals to travel to Europe and will help to improve security in the Schengen Area. 

Starting in 2024, this special travel authorization will aid in creating safer and more seamless journeys for travelers and European residents. 

This new system isn’t just about formalities; it’s a step towards enhancing the international travel experience. With security at the forefront, ETIAS is designed to ensure our explorations are not only exciting but also well-protected. 

Officers handing over passports

Who Will Need to Apply? 

This new travel authorization impacts individuals who aren’t citizens of the EU, don’t have a residence permit from a country that’s part of ETIAS, or who currently don’t need a visa for these countries.  

Individuals who hold passports of 59 of the 62 countries that travel visa-free will need to obtain an ETIAS waiver to travel to Europe. Doing so will allow them to stay for tourism, business, or transit for 90 days out of any 180-day period. 

Here is a list of all countries that will need ETIAS approval prior to entering ETIAS member countries. 

Although it’s another step to take care of before traveling, obtaining ETIAS approval is all about making sure everyone is on the same page when traveling.  

6 blue flags hosted

Key Points About The ETIAS 

  • The ETIAS will be required for visa-exempt nationals travelling to the Schengen Area beginning in 2024. 
  • The ETIAS can be applied for online and takes about 10 minutes to complete. 
  • The ETIAS fee is €7 per application. 
  • The ETIAS is valid for three years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first. 
  • The ETIAS does not replace the need for a visa for nationals of countries that require a visa to enter the Schengen Area. 
  • To apply for ETIAS, you’ll need a valid travel document, like a passport, to attach it to. 

passengers queueing in airport counter

Safer Travel With ETIAS  

As you eagerly anticipate your upcoming adventures, keep in mind the exciting changes that await travelers when voyaging to Europe. Starting in 2024, a special travel authorization, ETIAS, will be your passport to a safer and more seamless journey across the European continent. 

This new system isn’t just about formalities; it’s a step towards enhancing the international travel experience. With security at the forefront, ETIAS is designed to ensure explorations are not only exciting but also well-protected for European visitors and residents alike. 

For even safer travel, consider getting a quote for a travel health insurance plan to keep you covered on your next trip!