Americans Must Have Travel Authorization To Enter Europe

Americans Must Have Travel Authorization To Enter Europe

November 03, 2023


The United States is one of 60 countries with visa-free access to European countries. But nationals of these countries will soon need to apply for entry using the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). 

The 30 European countries that require visa-exempt travelers to have an ETIAS travel authorization are:

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

Travel authorization application

Business and tourism travelers visiting Europe for short-term stays (90 days in any 180-day period) must have preapproved authorization to travel.

You can complete the ETIAS application and pay the 7 euro fee online. Individuals over 70 and under 18 are exempt from the fee. You’ll need to provide information like:

  • Personal data for each traveler
  • Travel details
  • Education level
  • Current occupation
  • Travel itinerary in any of the countries requiring ETIAS
  • Criminal convictions
  • Past travels to war or conflict zones
  • Any past decisions requiring you to leave a country

You’ll need to declare that your data and statements are correct. To avoid complications, be transparent with your travel details and supporting statements. 

You must certify that you understand the entry conditions for each country requiring ETIAS, including providing supporting documents each time you cross a border.

What the ETIAS travel authorization means

You’ll usually get a response within minutes of applying. Some applications can take up to 14 days if ETIAS asks you to provide additional information.

If denied, you’ll receive an explanation. You can appeal the denial

If approved, you’ll receive your travel authorization document and unique identification number.

Your ETIAS authorization is valid for three years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. You can leave and return to countries requiring ETIAS if you respect the 90-day stay limit. 

ETIAS travel authorization does not guarantee entry into every European country. You’ll still have to go through customs and meet each country’s unique entry requirements. 

Travel tips in ETIAS countries 

It’s essential to follow each country’s travel protocols, including identification, authorization and supporting documentation.

  • Apply for your ETIAS travel authorization in advance of travel.
  • Book your accommodations and tickets after you receive your travel authorization.
  • Keep your ETIAS travel authorization with you during your entire stay. You’ll need it when entering and exiting countries and whenever authorities request it.
  • Carry the same travel document (like a passport) you used in your ETIAS application. Make sure the details match or officials will deny you boarding and entry.
  • Make sure your ETIAS travel authorization is valid. Just as your license or passport expires, so does your authorization.
  • Verify how long you can stay in each European country requiring ETIAS.
  • Make sure your passport is valid and not set to expire within six months. You could be denied entry or reentry. 
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to register your trip with the U.S. Consulate. 

Travel insurance 

Standard travel insurance will not cover you if you’re denied entry into a country. Most insurance companies consider a denial to be a preventable event within your control. Cancel for any reason (CFAR) travel insurance covers a wider range of reasons, including feeling unsafe in the region or changing your mind about the trip. But even CFAR may not cover you, depending on the policy wording. 

If you file a claim because you were denied entry into a country, it’s not a cancellation. Talk to your insurance agent for help with travel insurance options. Ask questions to clarify the situations covered and the time limits on trip cancellations.

U.S. nationals have enjoyed visa-free access to many countries, earning the U.S. passport a global ranking of 6. But in 2024, a visa will be required. Before you book your next European trip, add ETIAS to your to-do list.