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

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


Key points

  • US travelers should expect additional paperwork and a small fee when traveling through Europe in 2023.
  • This change, scheduled for May 2023, will require some planning, although it shouldn’t impact your vacation budget too much.
  • The travel authorization with ETIAS, an electronic border control system, will be valid for three years.

If you enjoy traveling to Europe or are planning to travel next year, you will need to take into account an upcoming change. American travelers will need to fill out new documents and pay a small fee to travel to many European countries by 2023. Here’s what you need to know.

Presentation of the European Travel Information and Authorization System

As a US passport holder, it is relatively easy to travel to Europe. When visiting any of the 26 Schengen countries, US travelers can visit visa-free for up to 90 days every 180 days by simply presenting their passport. But soon there will be another step to take, 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 track visa-exempt visitors, such as Americans, visiting European Schengen countries.

What this means for American travelers

Once ETIAS is operational, Americans planning to visit Schengen countries will need to apply for travel authorization. They will also have to pay a fee of 7 euros, which is less than 8 dollars. This new process will not give you a visa. Instead, ETIAS provides visa-free travelers with an electronic visa waiver.

Since this system will be largely automated, most applicants will receive clearance within minutes. But in rare cases, the process can take up to 30 days for some travellers. For this reason, you’ll want to plan appropriately so you don’t miss your trip.

Here’s the good news: once you get an authorization, it will be valid for three years. If you travel to other Schengen countries during these three years, you will not have to apply for a new authorization or pay any additional costs.

For now, your travels in Europe will not be impacted and you have nothing to do. Although there is no set start date, ETIAS is expected to be operational by May 2023.

Will this impact your holiday budget?

The ETIAS application fee is an additional cost, but it is not significant. Since the fee is so minimal, it probably won’t drain your bank account or force you to change your travel plans. But it’s a small expense to consider when setting 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 in time.

Now that you are aware of this news, you can better plan your future trips to Europe. Once the system is activated, you will need to present your electronic authorization at the border crossing points.

When planning future trips, you may want to use a rewards credit card. You can earn rewards on your spending and redeem them for free trips in the future. If you’re looking for a new card, check out our list of the best travel credit cards.

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