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By 2023, US travelers can expect to pay an entrance fee to travel in Europe

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If you’re planning a trip to Europe next year, don’t be surprised by this new change.

Key points

  • American travelers should plan for additional paperwork and a small fee when traveling through Europe in 2023.
  • This change, planned for May 2023, will require planning, though it shouldn’t affect your vacation budget much.
  • The travel authorization with ETIAS, an electronic border control system, will be valid for three years.

If you like to travel to Europe, or plan to travel next year, there’s an upcoming change you’ll need to consider. American travelers will need to complete new paperwork and pay a small fee to travel to many European countries by 2023. Here’s what you need to know.

Introduction to the European Travel Information and Authorization System

As a US passport holder, it is relatively easy to travel around Europe. When visiting any of the 26 countries that are in the Schengen area, American travelers can visit without a visa for up to 90 days every 180 days by simply presenting their passport. But soon there will be another step to complete and it will require some advance planning.

The European Commission plans to launch the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in 2023. This system will help keep track of visa-exempt visitors, such as Americans, who visit European countries within the Schengen area.

What it means for American travelers

Once ETIAS is up and running, Americans planning to visit countries in the Schengen area will need to apply for a travel authorization. They will also have to pay a fee of 7 euros, which is less than $8. This new process will not grant you a visa. Instead, ETIAS provides visa-free travelers with an e-Visa waiver.

Since this system will be largely automated, most applicants will be cleared within minutes. But in rare cases, the process could take up to 30 days for some travelers. For this reason, you’ll want to plan properly so you don’t miss out on your trip.

Here’s the good news: once an authorization is issued to you, it is valid for three years. If you travel to other countries in the Schengen area within those three years, you will not have to request a new authorization or pay an additional fee.

For now, your European travel will not be affected and there is nothing you need to do. While there is no set start date, the ETIAS is expected to be up and running in May 2023.

Will this affect your vacation budget?

The ETIAS application fee is an additional cost, but it is not very large. Since the fee is so small, this likely won’t drain your bank account or require you to change your travel plans. But it’s a small expense to consider when designing your vacation budget.

It is also important to consider this upcoming change for planning purposes. You don’t want to forget to apply or wait too long and not receive your authorization on time.

Now that you are aware of this news, you can better plan your future trips around Europe. Once the system is active, you will need to show your electronic authorization at the border crossings.

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