Oct 20, 2023 - World

Europe-bound Americans will need travel authorizations starting in 2025

Tourists stand in St. Mark's Square in Venice. Photo: Christoph Sator/picture alliance via Getty Images

U.S. passport holders heading to Europe will need to receive prior authorization to travel starting in spring 2025, European officials said Friday.

Why it matters: The new date marks a delay in the rollout of the new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which had previously been expected to go into effect in 2024.

State of play: The new rules dictate that travelers from more than 60 visa-free countries — including the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. — will need to get an ETIAS authorization to enter Europe.

  • A European Commission memo about the new travel rules defined ETIAS as a "largely automated IT system" and emphasized that an ETIAS travel authorization is "not a visa."
  • The rollout of the new IT system has been in the works for years but has been delayed several times. The European Council says the new system will improve internal security, help prevent illegal immigration, and reduce public health risks and border delays.

In addition, the European Council's Justice and Home Affairs Council confirmed Friday that another travel requirement for Europe-bound travelers, known as the Entry/Exit system, is set to roll out in Autumn 2024.

  • The Entry/Exit system has also been much-delayed. It will register travelers' information and biometric data, such as fingerprints and face scans, replacing the need to stamp passports.

Details: Travelers will need to fill out an ETIAS application form prior to travel and pay a small €7 fee (about $8).

  • Some ETIAS applications might take up to two weeks if additional information is needed, or up to 30 days if the applicant is asked to do an interview, the EU has said.
  • Authorizations, if received, will be linked to the traveler's passport and valid for up to three years, or until the passport expires.

Go deeper: Europe-bound Americans will soon need a new authorization

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