The ETIAS system of travel will be launched in Europe in late 2022 and covers travel throughout the Schengen Zone. Similar to the ESTA system in America, this new authorization for travel is expected to be fully functioning by 2023.
US citizens who previously did not need any kind of travel authorization to visit Europe for up to 90 days may now be wondering whether they will need to apply for this new travel document. The ETIAS system covers citizens of visa waiver countries, of which, the US is one.
The ETIAS system does not require as much legwork as a visa and can be filled out and applied for very quickly. US citizens will need this new kind of authorization for travel into Europe from 2023 onwards.
To find out all of the most up-to-date information on the ETIAS system, you can check here
What is an ETIAS?
So, what exactly is an ETIAS?
An ETIAS, or Electronic Travel Information and Authorization System, is a means of authorizing travel into and around the Schengen Zone in Europe. The application system is quick and, once approved, an ETIAS will be electronically attached to your passport and is then valid for three years.
The ETIAS allows you to travel in the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days in a 180 day period. This means that all the time spent in this region is counted into 90 days, no matter if you spend it in three different countries.
Citizens of visa waiver countries, who previously did not need travel authorization for travel in Europe, will need to apply for an ETIAS before traveling into the Schengen Zone. Anyone from outside of these countries will need to apply for a visa, as usual, to travel into Europe.
An ETIAS covers you for most activities including tourism, business, medical treatment, and transit. Always ensure your travel authorization covers the activities you intend to do in the country.
Do US citizens need an ETIAS for travel to Europe?
Yes, as a visa waiver country, US citizens who are intending to travel into one of the Schengen Zone countries in Europe will need to apply for an ETIAS as of January 2023. Once approved, you will be able to move through the Schengen Zone using just your passport, to which your ETIAS is electronically attached.
Note: The ETIAS is only valid for 90 days in a 180 day period and so any visit that will exceed this limit will require a different kind of travel authorization; usually a visa.
Though an ETIAS allows you entry into the country, border control has the final say on whether you may enter and so it is not a guarantee. US citizens should apply for an ETIAS at least 96 hours before their departure to ensure that the application goes through and to allow time if more information is needed.
Where can I go with an ETIAS?
AN ETIAS allows you entry into the twenty-six countries in the Schengen Zone as well as San Marino, Vatican City, and Monaco. It should be noted that some European countries, including Ireland, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus, and Bulgaria, have different regulations and are not part of ETIAS.
The ETIAS system is relatively new and updates may occur in years to come so always make sure you check the kind of authorization for travel that the country you’re visiting requires before you travel.
What is the purpose of an ETIAS?
The ETIAS system was introduced to streamline applications and border control to allow for smoother movement at the borders within the Schengen Zone, but the main purpose was to add additional security for countries in the region.
The ETIAS system allows countries in the Schengen Zone to keep a track of visitors to their countries that do not require a visa. The application for an ETIAS asks a number of security questions to help protect the borders of the Schengen Zone countries in a way that wasn’t possible with visa waiver agreements.
In addition, the ETIAS system may help to curb irregular immigration while also helping to streamline regular immigration
What will I need to apply for ETIAS as a US citizen?
Like all applicants to the ETIAS system, US citizens will need an e-passport that is machine-readable as well as an email address for your application.
You will also be asked questions concerning previous criminal convictions, health checks, and any travel plans you have for the region.
ETIAS and US citizens
From 2023, US citizens will need to have an ETIAS to be able to travel into the twenty-six countries of the Schengen Zone. The ETIAS application is quick and requires only a passport. You should apply at least 96 hours before your departure.
The ETIAS system was launched in 2022 to help with security across the Schengen Zone and is a requirement for travel for any visitors from visa-waiver countries.