There will soon be an extra step for travelers looking to visit Europe. Starting in November 2023, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will require U.S. citizens and travelers from 63 other visa-free countries to apply for entrance before departure.
ETIAS is not a visa. It is a travel authorization that prescreens visa-free visitors traveling for leisure or business purposes for less than 90 days.
The European Union decided to implement this new travel authorization program to protect and strengthen its borders amid ongoing international security concerns in Europe.
The fine print: A transitional period of six months will enable travelers to cross borders without the ETIAS. This will be followed by an indefinite grace period. The ETIAS requirement will apply to everyone except travelers entering Europe for the first time since the end of the transitional period.
U.S. citizens traveling to the 26 members of Europe’s Schengen Area will need to register with the ETIAS at least 96 hours prior to departure. It is similar to the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which requires EU citizens to submit information and require confirmation before flying to the United States.
Travelers can complete the ETIAS application online in approximately 10 minutes. They’ll need:
A series of security- and health-related questions will accompany personal information requests.
Travelers will receive an email confirming that their ETIAS has been approved within 96 hours or less. If additional documentation is needed, the application could take up to 4 weeks to process.
The ETIAS is valid for three years or until a traveler’s current passport expires.
Though ETIAS has been discussed for years, the rollout has been delayed several times. Travel managers need to stay abreast of updates and keep the new regulations front of mind for European-bound travel in 2023, since non-compliance could prevent team members from entering Europe.
“The well-known adage, ‘all good things come to those who wait,’ will be tested once ETIAS is finally rolled out,” said Ray Rackham, Managing Director for Business Development at CIBT, a global travel visa service. “With the enhanced border security ETIAS is intended to bring, it also sparks greater compliance hurdles to overcome for European-bound travelers in 2023. We are excited to have this conversation with travel managers, to create elevated travel pathways and experiences for travelers into Europe.”
CIBT has a robust capability to obtain travel visas for corporations and individuals worldwide. Passport and visa service companies like CIBTVisas can help companies stay on top of changes.
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