US travelers to the EU will face new fees and red tape in 2022

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Traveling to certain countries in Europe will soon require additional paperwork – and additional costs. For Americans, this charge is just under $ 8 (7 euros) per person.

In the course of 2022, the European Commission is expected to launch what is called the European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS.

What is ETIAS?

The new ETIAS program should be a largely automated process to identify security, irregular migration or high epidemic risks. The program is aimed at certain travelers going to the Schengen area, which is made up of 26 European countries without border controls between them.


These countries are:

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.

The European Commission says the program is designed to “facilitate border controls; avoid bureaucracy and delays for travelers when arriving at borders; ensure a coordinated and harmonized risk assessment of third country nationals; and significantly reduce the number of refusals of entry at border crossing points.

The new ETIAS program applies to citizens of countries that do not need a visa to enter the European Union, including the United States

This means Americans have one more task on their to-do list (and one more tax to pay) before entering the European Schengen area.

How ETIAS will work

First, you’ll need to complete an online application form, which the EU uses to perform various security checks. There is also a charge of approximately $ 8 for submitting this form.

In most cases, visitors will receive travel authorization within minutes. But in some cases, it can take up to 30 days for travelers to receive clearance.

Once you have your authorization documents, they will be checked with other travel documents such as your passport by border guards when crossing the EU border.

What ETIAS means for travelers

An additional cost

The additional charges could be a headache for travelers. Of course, around $ 8 is small potatoes in the grand scheme of a trip to Europe. But it comes at a time when new fees are popping up everywhere, from hotel fees and amenity fees, to airline fees for things like checked baggage and seat selection. .

This is in addition to pandemic-era expenses like mandatory COVID-19 testing, as well as the potential costs of quarantine if you test positive abroad, or travel insurance Cancel for whatever reason, which has become of. increasingly popular given the uncertainty of travel these days.

Also, the fee is per person, so if you are bringing the family, you will need to pay and enroll everyone in your traveling party.

No more paperwork

ETIAS joins the growing list of documents you need before boarding a flight. Your trip may already require proof of a COVID-19 test. You will probably also need to bring proof of vaccination. In addition, you will need to make sure that your passport is up to date. If not, this can pose its own problems as it sometimes takes the State Department more than two months to process passports.

A challenge for procrastinators (or last-minute travelers)

Since the ETIAS authorization can take up to 30 days, people booking last minute travel may have to consider this change, as well as people who procrastinate on this particular paperwork.

Of course, the ETIAS program has not started and there is no clear launch date beyond a statement from the European Commission that ETIAS is expected to be operational by the end of 2022. From from there, expect a six month transition period for the system. to be implemented, which means you probably won’t need to enroll in the ETIAS program until 2023.

But when it becomes mandatory, add it to your growing list of pre-trip things to do – and build that $ 8 per person fee into your travel budget.

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