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Europe to require new entry fee for visitors

April 28, 2022
4 min read
Portugal, Lisbon, Humberto Delgado Airport, Customs roped line
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After all the pandemic-era regulations and international travel rules, get ready for one new requirement coming for travelers to Europe in 2023. The European Travel Information and Authorization System will introduce a mandatory registration and a 7 euro (about $7.50) fee for visitors to most European countries as of May 2023. While some people have called this a "visitor tax," the stated reason for the program is improved security. According to then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker when ETIAS was announced in 2016, "We need to know who is crossing our borders. This way we will know who is traveling to Europe before they even get here."

ETIAS states the system will be able to "Assist in detecting and decreasing crime and terrorism" and "Impede irregular migration." With the system, Americans and visitors from 62 other countries will still be able to travel visa-free in most European nations.

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What is ETIAS?

The new ETIAS should be in place by May 2023. (Image courtesy of schengenvisainfo.com/European Commission)

The European Travel Information and Authorization System is an electronic process to pre-screen, profile, approve and register visitors to the 26 countries of the European Schengen Zone who don't currently need a visa to enter. Similar to the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization entry approval system, ETIAS will cross-check visitor information with government databases and watch lists before issuing authorization to enter. The information collected will also be used in data tracking for business and tourism purposes. ETIAS covers European countries that are part of the Schengen Zone travel agreement, in a region mostly overlapping the EU, with the addition of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein but minus Ireland. An individual's ETIAS authorization will be valid for an unlimited number of entries over three years.

Countries in the Schengen Zone to require ETIAS:

  • Austria.
  • Belgium.
  • The Czech Republic.
  • Denmark.
  • Estonia.
  • Finland.
  • France.
  • Germany.
  • Greece.
  • Hungary.
  • Iceland.
  • Italy.
  • Latvia.
  • Liechtenstein.
  • Lithuania.
  • Luxembourg.
  • Malta.
  • The Netherlands.
  • Norway.
  • Poland.
  • Portugal.
  • Slovakia.
  • Slovenia.
  • Spain.
  • Sweden.
  • Switzerland.

Who needs to apply for ETIAS?

All U.S. citizens and those from the other 62 non-EU countries that are not currently required to apply for a visa will need ETIAS authorization to enter the EU for visits of up to 90 days, including transit passengers. Only visitors who are between the ages of 18 and 70 will need to pay the application fee, but those of all ages will still need ETIAS authorization to enter. If you have applied separately for a visa to enter Europe, you will not need to complete the ETIAS application.

Related: A country-by-country guide to where you can travel without a COVID-19 test

When and where will ETIAS go into effect?

This long-planned and much-delayed system is currently targeted to be fully operational in May 2023. At that point, airlines and other transport systems will be required to check for ETIAS authorization prior to allowing passenger boarding, and visitors will be required to complete the application process prior to travel. At land borders, visitors can complete the application at an electronic kiosk.

How do you apply for ETIAS?

The ETIAS application process. (Image courtesy of shengenvisainfo.com/European Commission)

Before traveling, you'll need to access the ETIAS online application to input passport information, name, date and place of birth, an email address, phone number, and a credit or debit card to submit the payment fee. You'll also need to provide your destination, as well as answer a few background and profile questions. The ETIAS website indicates the form should take about 10 minutes to complete.

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Approval for most applicants should take only a matter of minutes. However, if an item is flagged in the application, a manual review must take place. The applicant can then either correct the improperly entered information or appeal a denial decision.

Bottom line

No immediate action needs to be taken by U.S. citizens planning to visit Europe. However, be prepared for the May 2023 launch when you must go through one more step and pay one more fee in the traveling process as part of the ETIAS implementation. Stay tuned to The Points Guy for further developments related to this program.

Featured image by UIG via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023