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Beginning in 2024 travelers from the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and holders of passports from 55 other countries are no longer going to be able to enter the European Union with just their passport. This includes us Frequent Floaters! The EU is rolling out ETIAS, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System.
So what is ETIAS?
ETIAS describes the program as a “U.S. style electronic travel authorisation system for visitors from countries that are currently not part of the EU. These visitors have been granted visa-free access to the EU and Schengen member countries through virtue of their good track record on security issues and, thus, have not been deemed as a threat to EU security. However, the EU is wanting to strengthen its border security as well as digitally screen and track travellers entering and leaving EU countries.”
ETIAS will be required whether you arrive in the EU by plane, car, train or ship, perhaps after a repositioning cruise across the Atlantic. There will be no exceptions.
Who needs ETIAS?
Etias.com has a useful tool where you enter your:
Country of Citizenship
EU Destination Country
Purpose of Visit
Duration of Visit
It then tells you if you need to apply for an ETIAS. Beginning in 2024 you will be able to apply for your ETIAS online ahead of your trip with a recommendation to apply no less than 96 hours prior to your departure.
What does this mean for cruisers?
Whether you’re embarking from one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, including these top-20 busiest in Europe (2022-2023), or embarking on a river cruise in Budapest, or a barge in Paris you’ll need an ETIAS.
- Civitavecchia (Rome) – #10 with 2.2 million cruisers
- Barcelona – #11 with 2.1 million cruisers
- Marseille – #18 with 1.5 million cruisers
- Venice/Trieste – #19 with 1.4 million cruisers
What does an ETIAS cost?
If you’re under 18 and over 70 the good news is that your ETIAS is free of charge. For those between 18 and 70 an ETIAS will cost €7 or approximately $7.73 USD as of mid-July 2023. The fee will be required to be paid online at the time of application.
How long does it take to get approved for your ETIAS?
It’s hard to say as it hasn’t rolled out for applications yet, but ETIAS indicates that for most applicants approval will be “within minutes.” For those that do not receive rapid approval they’re saying that it may take up to 30 days.
What if your application gets rejected?
You will receive an email with the unwelcome news that your application has been denied. ETIAS Italy says that if your application is refused you may be asked to provide additional documentation. Yes, that’s right, most Schengen countries have their own ETIAS websites.
There’s conflicting information out there on what to do if your application for an ETIAS is denied varying from applying for a Shengen Visa to re-applying for an ETIAS. It’s probably worth re-applying in case you have entered something incorrectly resulting in a denial. If that doesn’t work, Schengenvisainfo.com advises that “Applicants whose second ETIAS is rejected as well, for the purposes other than the two mentioned above, shall also contact the embassy of the country the ETIAS Central Unit of which rejected his/her applications, for further instructions.”
How long is an ETIAS good for?
An ETIAS is valid for 3 years from date of issue. It can also be used for an unlimited number of entries for durations under 90-days.
If everything goes according to plan ETIAS will be up and running prior to 2024 when it’s scheduled to take effect. If you have a trip early in 2024 you may want to sign-up to get updates on ETIAS launch date and any changes in requirements.
Please share your experiences with ETIAS as we will once the portal opens to applicants. – Michael
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