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3 Big Changes American Travelers Need To Know For 2023

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New year, new travel rules. We are all very glad that most countries across the globe have removed all COVID-19-related entry requirements, but the travel experience hasn’t exactly gone back to pre-pandemic reality.

Lonely Planet has recently shared a list of the three big changes American travelers need to know for 2023, and these are the main considerations:

Group of friends enjoying the view of Rio de Janeiro from a mountain

Americans Can Renew Their Passports Online

In 2022, as travel demand skyrocketed, Americans had to wait for months to get a new passport but the process has been optimized and modernized. Now, after a successful pilot program, U.S. citizens will be eligible to renew their passports online for international travel. 

The new process should be faster. The traditional waiting time used to be from 8 to 11 weeks—when the number of requests was low or average— and now it has been reduced from 1 to 7 weeks, and without all the paperwork since now the process is all digital.

woman using her laptop next to people in a library

Travelers can renew online if they are over 25 years old and their most recent passport was valid for 10 years, and it was issued after 2007. Only regular passports can be issued this way, diplomatic or official passports will not be processed online.

The fees remain the same, the passport book costs $130, the passport card $30, and both documents $160. Those interested in getting a new passport shouldn’t wait until their travel dates approach, since it might still take a few weeks to be issued.

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Man holding American passport in his hand

The steps to get a new passport are simple: create a MyTravelGov account, activate the account, submit the application and photo —a clear image where the face is visible, without glasses, and with a white background—, pay, and wait. More details about fees and requirements are available on the official website.

There’s A New Entry Fee For Europe

Starting in November, American travelers will have to pay for the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)—also known as “visitor tax”— for non-European citizens. However, the fee is only 7 euros, around 7.45 U.S. dollars, and once approved is valid for up to 3 years. 

Terminal entrance at Paris International Airport

This requirement applies to travelers over 18 years old and under 70, to travel to the 27 Schengen Area countries, where non-European visitors cannot stay for more than 90 days every 180-day period. 

Travelers will have to fill out the application form online with personal information, passport details, and security information, pay the fee with a debit or credit card, and wait for approval. The process is usually automated so those who apply will not have to wait for too long, most applicants get a response within minutes. However, even if it is a very fast procedure, travelers must request the ETIAS approval at least 72 hours prior to the trip.

Man Using His Laptop, Digital Nomad Concept

And beware, European Union (EU) has recently issued a warning for Americans about fake ETIAS permit websites. Travelers must watch out for scammers and visit official websites.

Travelers Will Have To Register Fingerprints In Europe

Security measures in Europe have increased and travelers must stay up to date. Americans must know that, starting in May, when visiting countries in the European Union they will have to provide fingerprints and be photographed for the European Union’s Entry-Exit System (EES). 

Man using face scanner to unlock glass door in office building.

The biometric data will be included in the security database. Travelers will also be required to provide their full name and travel document details.

As a consequence, waiting times at European airports will increase, and certain countries, like Germany and Austria, have expressed their concerns regarding waiting times. Austria has estimated that this new measure will double process times compared to the current service.

Waiting in line at airport

With this information, local authorities will have all relevant data regarding American travelers’ transit, entry and exit details, as well as biometric information. Those who want to extend their 90 days stay in Europe, could opt to visit non-Schengen countries like Albania, Türkiye, or Montenegro.

Aerial View Of Ioannina In Northeastern Greece, A City On The Shores Of Lake Pamvotida, Close To The Border With Albania, Balkan Peninsula, Southeastern Europe

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com


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Laurence Dash

Sunday 8th of January 2023

So who takes my fingerprints? Someone upon entry into Europe?

DJ

Saturday 7th of January 2023

Can anyone explain what my fingerprints will do that my passport doesn’t?

KennyH.

Sunday 8th of January 2023

@Karen M., It takes longer to identify its finger prints!

Karen M.

Sunday 8th of January 2023

@DJ, Passports can be stolen or counterfeited. Fingerprints are one more way to identify a person.

Margot H Knight

Friday 6th of January 2023

I was excited about the on-line passport renewal. We head out of the country again on January 31. I applied on Nov 22. It took about 20 minutes. On Dec 22, I was told I needed to submit a new photo, the explanation was that the photo had been taken too long ago! (It had been taken on Nov 22!). At that time, I paid an extra fee to have the PP expedited. It’s January 6 and it still shows “in process” in their system. My fingers are now crossed harder. SO, no matter what they say, apply as early as you can!