Update on European Travel: ETIAS Launch Postponed to 2025

Jon Miksis Jon Miksis clock Updated July 4, 2024 tourism Travel News
by Jon Miksis
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Looking to visit Europe in 2024? Expect no additional fees or paperwork to enter the European Union next year.

The EU’s latest travel authorization system (ETIAS), which was slated to go into effect in 2024, has faced yet another delay. The updated launch date for this new system is now planned for mid-2025.

Here’s everything you need to know about the ETIAS, including the latest developments and upcoming changes for visitors looking to visit Europe.

What is ETIAS?

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is a new security measure by the European Union, targeting non-EU travelers. It’s similar to the U.S. ESTA system in the way it screens travelers and charges a fee to enter Europe. Before traveling to the Schengen Zone, visitors will need to obtain ETIAS authorization.

According to the European Commission, the ETIAS will apply to 1.4 billion people from over 60 visa-exempt countries. This authorization will be required to enter these 30 European countries.

This system is designed to enhance border security. It involves a straightforward online application, a small fee, and a quick background check. Once approved, ETIAS authorization is valid for three years and allows multiple entries into Schengen countries.

ETIAS is not a visa. It’s less complex and quicker to obtain. It applies to countries currently enjoying visa-free travel to the EU. This includes the USA, Canada, and Australia, among others.

Understanding ETIAS is crucial for hassle-free travel to Europe. It ensures a secure and streamlined entry process, enhancing your European travel experience.

The Old Towns of Europe draw millions of travelers each year
The Old Towns of Europe draw millions of travelers each year

The Latest ETIAS Delay – Explained

The European Union’s decision to postpone the ETIAS launch to 2025 is due to the entry/exit database not being ready. This system has been in development for almost a decade, aiming to streamline entry for travelers from visa-exempt countries like the US. The extra time will help address technical complexities and integrate the system across all member states.

Once operational, ETIAS will require an online registration and a fee of 7 euros. It’s designed for travelers from countries currently enjoying visa-free access to most EU nations, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

The EU anticipates that most applications will be processed swiftly, within minutes. However, some cases may take longer, requiring days or weeks and additional information. Therefore, travelers are advised to apply well in advance of their trips.

The delay reflects the EU’s commitment to a smooth transition for travelers. By pushing the launch to 2025, the EU aims to minimize disruptions and confusion. This ensures that when ETIAS is implemented, it enhances travel security without compromising convenience.

Woman hiking in the Swiss Alps
The Swiss Alps: Don’t delay in planning your European adventures in 2025

Impact on Travelers

With the ETIAS now set to launch in 2025, travelers have more time under the current visa-free travel norms.

This means that, for now, Americans can continue visiting Schengen areas as they have been, without needing additional authorization. This postponement is a boon for travelers, giving them ample opportunity to get acquainted with the upcoming ETIAS requirements and prepare accordingly.

When planning European trips going forward, note that the ETIAS application form will be available on the official website and a mobile application, with a fee of 7 euros.

Most applications should be processed within minutes, but some may take up to 14 days if additional documentation is required.

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Be sure to stay informed about potential requirements for additional documentation.

The good news is, once granted, the ETIAS authorization will allow for multiple visits to Schengen countries. Though note that your stay cannot exceed 90 days within a 180-day period.

Until 2025, it’s business as usual for travelers heading to Europe.

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But staying ahead of these changes will ensure a seamless transition when ETIAS eventually rolls out.

Traveler filling out the ETIAS form at a cafe in Paris

Preparing for ETIAS

As we edge closer to 2025 and the launch of ETIAS, here’s how you can get ready for this new travel requirement:

  1. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on official updates about ETIAS. The official ETIAS website and mobile application will be key sources for accurate information.
  2. Gather Necessary Documents: You’ll need a valid passport to apply for ETIAS. Ensure your passport has sufficient validity, as ETIAS authorization will be linked to it.
  3. Budget for the Application Fee: Set aside the 7 euro fee (approximately $7.79) required for the ETIAS application. This fee is a small but essential part of your travel budget.

  4. Plan Your Application Timing: Apply well in advance of your trip. While most applications will be processed quickly, some might require additional time or documentation.
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  5. Understand the Application Process: Familiarize yourself with the online application process. It’s expected to be straightforward, with most applications processed within minutes. However, be prepared to provide additional information if requested.
  6. Check Your Authorization Status: Once you receive your ETIAS authorization, verify that all details, especially your name and passport number, are correct. Any discrepancies could lead to issues at the border.
  7. Be Aware of Duration and Validity: Remember, ETIAS allows for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period in the Schengen Zone. The authorization is valid for three years or until your passport expires.

By preparing in advance and understanding these key aspects of ETIAS, you can ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable European travel experience.

European traveler in the Schengen Zone

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