Travel requirement to visit Europe delayed again, to 2025

Thirty European nations have delayed implementing the ETIAS travel authorization scheme for U.S. and other foreign visitors until 2025. Pictured, Krakow, Poland.

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A new requirement for American travelers bound for Europe slated to take effect next year was delayed — again — to 2025.

The requirement — an online travel authorization via the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, or ETIAS — applies to visitors to 30 European nations, including popular destinations such as France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Americans won’t be allowed to visit without the authorization.

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Until late last week, the European Union had telegraphed that the ETIAS program would begin in 2024. That has now been pushed to sometime the following year.

The system “will be ready to enter into operation in Spring 2025,” according to an announcement following an Oct. 19-20 meeting of the Council of the European Union.

Anitta Hipper, European Commission spokesperson for home affairs, confirmed the new timeline but did not say why the start date was pushed back.

The European Union website for ETIAS has similarly updated language, citing “mid-2025” as the new official start date. Since the program isn’t yet operational, no applications are currently being collected, the EU website said.

The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, in 2016 proposed to establish the ETIAS to strengthen security checks on people from more than 60 nations (including the U.S.) who can visit Europe’s Schengen Area without a visa. The new European system is similar to one the U.S. put in place in 2008.

The travel authorization requirement — which carries a nonrefundable fee of 7 euros a person, or about $7.40 at current exchange rates — has already been delayed many times. It was initially meant to take effect in 2021, then 2023 and 2024 — and now 2025.

Processing could take up to a month for some

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People under age 18 or over 70 are exempt from the application fee.

Most applications will be processed in minutes and within four days at the latest, according to the EU. However, it can take longer — up to an additional 30 days for travelers asked to provide extra information or documentation or do an interview with national authorities, the EU said.

“We strongly advise you to obtain the ETIAS travel authorization before you buy your tickets and book your hotels,” the EU website said.

The ETIAS authorization is valid for three years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. Travelers with a valid ETIAS don’t need to apply for a new one each time they visit Europe.

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