This post was updated on 10/23/2023 to reflect the announcement that the ETIAS would not be implemented until 2025.
Back in 2019, we published a post detailing the changes coming to European travel permissions. Proposed to begin 2021, the pandemic ultimately delayed the new measures.
Now, the EU looks poised to implement the proposed changes for 2025. We wanted to revisit the proposal and use this post to provide new updates as they come in. The information presented comes from the ETIAS website but is subject to change, and we will be in touch with travelers with any updates.
The Schengen Zone is made up of 27 countries that, since 1985, have abolished their internal borders for the “free and unrestricted movement of people.” Thanks to their agreement, once you’ve entered the Schengen area, you don’t need to show your passport crossing from Switzerland to Italy, from Germany to France, etc.
On September 5, 2018, the European Union voted to establish the European Travel and Information Authorization System in order to more carefully regulate the external borders of the Schengen area, as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania.
What Will Be Changing
Starting in 2025, visa-exempt third country nationals, such as United States citizens, will need to apply for a European Travel Information and Authorization System visa waiver, even if the travel is less than 90 days.
The ETIAS is NOT a visa! It is additional authorization, set to cost €7 and be valid for 3 years. US Citizens will apply online using their passport, email account and a credit or debit card. Your passport will need to be valid for 3 months beyond the period of intended stay.
Note – Applications for those under the age of 18:
- Will not require the €7 application fee
- Must be submitted by a person exercising permanent or temporary parental authority or legal guardianship
FAQs (and things we’ve been asking ourselves as well!)
- When is this happening? We do not currently have a start date but we do know it is scheduled for 2025. There is an EU Council meeting on October 19-20 at which they have said they will agree the date for starting the new EES protocols and the date for introducing ETIAS will be set for 6 months following. We will have more information in October and will update this post accordingly.
- Can one person submit a group application? Unfortunately, no. Each traveler must submit an individual application.
- We don’t know yet how the ETIAS application process will intertwine with our current trip application process. ACIS tries to take as much off of the teacher/student/parent plate as humanly possible so that the focus is on the excitement of the trip, rather than the bureaucratic details. For security reasons, travelers will have to apply for the ETIAS themselves, but we will provide guidance every step of the way.
- Could it ever become necessary for US Citizens to have a visa to travel to Europe for less than 90 days? It’s certainly possible in the future, but it is not required under the reported change.
The world is changing, but we are moving right along with it. We’re going to be there every step of the way to make sure that teachers and students still receive the quality care and attention that we’ve been giving for more than 40 years. We guarantee that exceptionally high standard for everyone, regardless of the travel year or the regulations in place because in the end, when you’re with ACIS, you’re taken care of.