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Starting in 2024, US citizens traveling to 30 European countries (most of western Europe except for the UK, see list below), will need to get pre-approval from the EU authorities before traveling.


What is it: This pre-approval, which will be obtained through ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is not technically a visa. It will not require travelers to submit applications to an embassy or consulate or get a sticker or stamp in their passports. Rather, it will be a pre-travel clearance that is very similar to existing programs used by other countries to screen visa-free travelers, such as:

How is it transmitted:  Once approved, ETIAS authorization will be electronically linked to a traveler’s passport, with no need for the traveler to print the confirmation or carry any additional documents. Airline staff and immigration inspectors will be able to confirm your ETIAS authorization electronically through the ETIAS system.

When does it take effect: As of the date of this writing, ETIAS is not yet live. It is expected to go live sometime in 2024, but that could be delayed. Rollout was originally scheduled for early 2022 and has already been delayed 4 times. As of this writing, EU authorities have not yet announced an official launch date.

What are other key features: The new system will feature the following elements:

  • Online application
  • Cost of €7
  • Processing time of less than 96 hours in most cases, with some approvals issued within minutes.
  • Approvals valid for 3 years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.

Once the new ETIAS system is in force, it will be one more thing to add to your European travel to-do list – make sure your passport is valid, get your ETIAS approval, book your tickets, rent your car, and pack your bag.  Additional information about the program is available through the official ETIAS website at