Surprise, surprise – as the world rediscovers its love of travel after a turbulent few years, countries are keen to capitalize on it. Wherever you choose to travel, expect new e-travel authorization or visa fees in the years to come.
But such a fee, which was expected to affect hundreds of millions of travelers as of May this year, is once again being delayed.
The European Union has been eagerly awaiting the launch of its new ETIAS travel authorization, which would pre-authorize people to visit the bloc of European nations and charge $8 for three years of access.
In response to a variety of technical issues and calls for recovery, that 2023 launch is now pushed back again to 2024. Summer travel to Europe should remain as seamless as ever for now.
European Union ETIAS Delayed
The United States was among the first to introduce an electronic authorization system with the pre-travel “ESTA” authorization required for all tourist entry. The visa, which is “definitely not a visa,” will be used to pre-screen worrisome travelers and fund tourism infrastructure.
In response to this tit-for-tat fee imposed on European citizens and to pre-screen travelers traveling to Europe, the EU plans to introduce its own version of the ESTA with the ETIAS authorisation.
Registration and mandatory use was expected to begin in May 2023, but will now not come into effect until 2024, with no further details on when.
In separate but related news, the UK plans to introduce its mandatory entry fee before the end of 2023, which will remain separate from any access to the European Union such as the ETIAS.
What does this mean for my trip?
It was widely expected that tourists traveling to Europe this summer or autumn would need to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization this year and pay the fee before traveling. That is no longer the case.
Although a fee of US$8 and a waiting time of typically 24 to 48 hours for approval of an ETIAS travel authorization will eventually apply in 2024, this will not be the case this year. If you are planning to travel to Europe in 2023, all requirements are similar to current ones.
The European Union allows visa-free entry from many countries. So if you were previously able to enter without paperwork, you should still be able to do so for the most part. An American traveling to Madrid this summer does not need to apply for an ETIAS and no applications will be made.