By Felicia J. Persaud
News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. July 28, 2023: American citizens looking to travel to Europe next year will have to play by the region’s new immigration rules as well.
No longer will Americans be able to simply fly to Europe and show up with their passport at immigration in any of 30 European countries including full Schengen members like Spain, France, and Italy; European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries like Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland; future Schengen members such as Bulgaria and Cyprus; and European microstates like Andorra and Monaco.
Every American citizen will have to apply for an ETIAS or European Travel Information and Authorization System travel authorization before travelling, though it’s not a visa.
The EU says the goal of the ETIAS is to tighten border security, as well as digitally screen and track travelers entering and leaving EU countries, something the US does through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, (ESTA), program.
But the ETIAS travel authorization will be needed to enter any of 30 European countries as often as you want for short-term stays – normally for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
You can fill out the application form using either this official ETIAS website at https://travel-europe.europa.eu/etias_en and pay EUR 7 or USD 7.79. Fill out the online form providing details about basic biographical information, travel plans and travel history, as well as other security questions.
Most applicants will be granted travel authorization within an hour and the authorization emailed. But if further checks are required, the process could take up to 4 days. This period could be extended by up to 14 days if you are requested to provide additional information or documentation, or up to 30 days if you are invited to an interview. This is why you should apply for an ETIAS travel authorization well in advance of your planned journey once it goes into effect.
When you get your ETIAS travel authorization please make sure your name, passport number and other information is correct: if there is any mistake, you will not be allowed to cross the border.
The ETIAS travel authorization will be valid for up to three years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. If you get a new passport, you need to get a new ETIAS travel authorization.
If your application is refused, the email will provide the reasons for this decision. It will also include information about how to appeal, details of the competent authority, as well as the relevant time limit to appeal.
Remember that the ETIAS authorization is linked to your travel document, such as your U.S. passport. Both documents will be required for boarding flights, buses, or ships to enter European countries that mandate ETIAS.
However, a valid ETIAS will not guarantee entry. When you arrive at immigration, a border guard will ask to see your passport and other documents and verify that you meet the entry conditions, just like when a visitor arrives at a US Border.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News. She can be reached at fe*****@ca*****.com