US and British passport holders need a ‘visa’ to travel to Europe
Monday, July 24, 2023
Americans and the British have long enjoyed visa-free travel to several countries.
According to the Henley Passport Index 2023, both the US and UK passports are among the strongest in the world, with the UK ranking fourth and the US ranking eighth on the list.
However, this status could change next year with the European Union introducing ‘visa’ requirements for travellers from the US, UK and other countries.
The EU said that it will implement the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) in 2024 which will require all travellers from visa-free countries to obtain travel authorisation documents before their arrival.
What is ETIAS?
ETIAS is a travel authorisation document and not a traditional visa.
Travellers from the US and the UK will first have to complete the ETIAS process and get a travel document before their arrival.
The process is entirely online. The European Union also recommends that travellers apply for an ETIAS authorisation “well in advance” of their plans.
Travellers have to fill out details such as their bio, itinerary, travel history, and some security-related questions through an online portal.
Unlike a visa application, ETIAS takes much less time, with approval expected within an hour.
In some cases, approval can take up to four days and applicants could be asked for more documentation.
US applicants over 18 years of age will also have to pay an $8 fee for their application.
For 18+ UK applicants, the fee is 6 pounds.
Applicants should cross-check their name and other details on the ETIAS document once they receive it, as any mistake will prevent them from entering their destination country.
If an application is rejected, an email detailing the reason and how it can be appealed will be sent.
How long is the ETIAS applicable?
Once travellers get their ETIAS document, it is valid for multiple entries for three years or until the traveller’s passport expires, whichever is first.
Visitors with ETIAS approval can stay up to 90 days at a time within a 180-day period.
Visitors will have to carry their ETIAS documents and passport at all times during their stay.
Why ETIAS has been introduced?
ETIAS has been introduced to assess the potential security risks of travellers before they arrive and prevent cross-border crime and terrorism.