Here is yet another travel requirement we really don’t want to hear, but should pay attention to because ignorance can’t always be bliss: starting November 2023, you will have to pay a visa fee for some countries in Europe.
The new rule is being rolled out because the European Union (EU) is introducing a new electronic visa program called ETIAS, the European Travel Information and Authorization System.
In order to enter the EU, international travelers must pay a fee known as the ETIAS Program. The program was created to screen people entering 27 countries where travelers are required to provide details such as their name, date of birth, contact, and passport information online. Additionally, you’ll be asked about your criminal record, where you’re traveling to, and any previous trips to Europe. ETIAS is still available to people with minor criminal records.
A 95 percent approval rate is reported for applications submitted within three days of being submitted. The travel authorization is valid for three years and allows for multiple short stays in Europe and any documents that present a health or security risk cannot be accepted, but travelers are able to appeal.
Why this, and why now?
A terrorist attack in France and Belgium spurred the creation of the ETIAS in 2016 to improve security measures for entering the region. The system was created to gather information on potential terrorist incidents, information on people traveling visa-free to the European Union, and to identify those traveling to Schengen countries who have security concerns.
With this new electronic authorization system, the EU hopes to enhance border security and digitally screen and track travelers entering and leaving the EU.
How much does this cost, and do I need it?
For those between the ages of 18 and 70, the ETIAS application fee is €7, and for all other ages, it is free.
The ETIAS waiver is required for passport holders of 59 of the 62 visa-free countries. It is mandatory and affects about 60 countries, including the United States, for tourist, business, or transit stays of 90 days in any 180-day period.
The good news is you have until November to get your travel in before this new rule goes into effect!