Planning a trip to Europe next year? There will be an extra requirement if you’re traveling within the Schengen area, which comprises most European nations, excluding the United Kingdom.
Beginning January 1, 2023, visitors from North America, and other areas, like Australia — who don’t currently need a visa to visit the 26-nation Schengen zone — will be required to register through the European Travel Information and Authorization System beforehand. The process will still be much easier than obtaining a visa. Travelers will go to etias.com to fill out a submission form with their personal details, like health, criminal record, and (ugh) gender. A fee of seven Euros will be collected, though it’s waived for those under 18 and over 70.
Most ETIAS approvals will only take a few minutes, last for three years, and cover travelers throughout the Schengen bloc. The reason for the new step? “The system was originally proposed 5 years ago, but developments have speeded up recently because of terrorist attacks in France and Belgium and a feeling that there is a need for improved security measures in the region,” according to the ETIAS site.