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Will Europe’s New Border Entry System Present Challenges for Travelers?

Will Europe’s New Border Entry System Present Challenges for Travelers?

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us travel to Europe is HOT!!, U.S. travelers have long been able to simply hop on a plane to visit Europe without giving it much advance thought. With no visas required for U.S. passport holders, there was little to interrupt a trip to Europe.

But… come January 2024, all of that will change. Travelers from more than 60 countries, some 1.4 billion people, who are currently able to travel through most European countries without a visa, will need to apply in advance for authorization to visit.

The visa process is known as the EU Travel Information & Authorization System, or ETIAS for short. And in addition to U.S. passport holders, there is a long list visitors from other countries that will now be required to obtain the ETIAS visa before visiting the EU.

While experts say that the visa requirements are relatively simple and ideally, approvals should be quick, the new requirements could nonetheless cause havoc for American travelers who are simply unaware of the coming changes.  Luckily, you have your trusted Trasformativa Travel Advisors watching out for you.

Travelers who don’t have the necessary ETIAS approval in place will not be able to get onto flights bound for the impacted European countries. Those traveling by ground transportation, meanwhile, will face rejection at the EU borders.

Essentially this process will be similar to an ESTA for visiting the US. It is relatively easy to obtain if you do it online and in advance of traveling, but without applying for one, you won’t be able to board the plane.

What Are The Specifics Of The New Visa Program

What exactly is ETIAS? As the program’s website explains, the ETIAS travel authorization is an entry requirement for visa-exempt nationals traveling to any of 30 European countries.

Some of the countries that will require the new visa include Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Additional countries that are part of the new measure include Iceland, Hungary, Denmark, and Finland. The ETIAS website includes a complete list of the 30 participating countries.

With a valid ETIAS travel authorization, travelers can visit European countries on the list as often as they want for short-term stays, normally for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, according to the ETIAS website.

ETIAS visas can be obtained using the official program website or the ETIAS mobile application. The application cost is 7 Euros, which is a little less than $8.

The visa website also cautions that having ETIAS travel authorization does not guarantee entry into a country. When you arrive, a border guard will ask to see your passport and other documents and verify that you meet the entry conditions,”the website explains.

What Does This Mean For Travelers and the Travel Industry

Perhaps the most significant hiccup that may result from the new program will be travelers who head to Europe in 2024 without the newly required visa in place. The travel industry and travel advisors will need to play a role as the program’s implementation nears, educating travelers of the new visa requirement.
Given that this is a new requirement, Travel Advisors must be on top of their game by educating their customers, or risk a lot of upset travelers and headaches.

What’s more, in cases where travelers aren’t prepared with the required visa in advance, there may even be a ripple effect for the travel industry in the form of cancellations and the inevitable requests for refunds.

While this new requirement may cause some challenges, the new visa requirements may also deliver some upsides for the travel industry as well. That’s because many visa-related processes require proof of insurance, which we always recommend for our clients.  Travel insurance not only protects your financial investment into your trip, it also protects you from a wide range of incidents while you are traveling.

Should Travelers Be Concerned

While the ETIAS visa will add a new logistical step that U.S. passport holders will need to address in order to visit Europe, it’s not something to be overly worried about.

Underscoring this point, once obtained, the visa will be good for three years. Meaning it’s a hurdle travelers will only have to deal with periodically.

This is going to be something new for American Travelers to do, but it’s not all that dissimilar to the requirements some Caribbean islands have right now to complete an online application such as the Jamaican Customs/Immigration C5 Form or the Dominican Republic e-ticket.

New procedures such as this was something we had to get used to with travel during Covid travel and it reinforces the need to use a trusted Travel Advisor who can provide guidance in these areas.  The true test of the new program may be in just how long it actually takes to obtain the visas once an application has been submitted. If it’s going to be one of those that you have to get weeks in advance and it requires advancing in your documentation, such as passports and then wait. Going through all those channels, and not being used to things like that, travelers may get very impatient.

So, for those of you who already have booked travel to Europe in 2024, be ready for this additional step. If you are booked yet, you are now aware of the new procedure.  But don’t worry!!  Your Trusted Trasformativa Travel Advisor is here to assist you with this new procedure.

Happy Travels!!










Trasformativa is a US based travel company with offices located in Durham, NC and Clarksville, VA.  We are  focused exclusively on transformational travel. Our experienced and qualified travel agents offer many different types of transformational travel opportunities. We work with individuals and groups of many sizes to help them find a true difference. Most of the people who contact us are luxury travelers and leaders of groups who are traveling together. This includes, yoga or fitness instructors, health and wellness professionals, human resource directors, sales managers, CEO’s, church group leaders, corporate trainers, personal chefs, wedding planners, brides, corporate travel professionals, and also individuals looking to plan an exciting and out-of-the-way trip for a group of their friends.

Our transformational opportunities include Exotic Group Travel, Jamaica Travel, Caribbean Travel, Europe Travel, Incentive Travel Reward ProgramsDestination Training Events,  Autism Travel, Girls Getaway

To learn more, visit our website or call us at (919) 616-3780.