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Europe Is Not Making Travel Harder For Americans – Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Believe Mainstream Media

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In recent weeks, mainstream media has reported extensively on the tightening of Europe's entry rules, more specifically, the looming introduction of the controversial ETIAS, which stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System.

European Union Flag Flying Against The European Parliament In Brussels, Belgium, European Union

It will apply to all foreigners visiting Europe as short-term visitors, including Americans. It may seem like an additional hurdle, but unlike what has been reported extensively across mainstream media in recent weeks, this does not mean travel is getting any harder.

In this article, we will give you the lowdown on Europe's new entry requirements and explain why exactly you shouldn't believe mainstream media:

Understanding Europe's New Travel Permit

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For years now, numerous rumors – most of them untrue – regarding ETIAS have circulated on the web. From fake websites claiming to process applications to misconceptions regarding its very nature, there is still a lot the general public does not understand about the entry permit.

Originally set to be implemented in 2020, it has been delayed a number of times due to the health crisis, giving rise to much speculation, including whether it was being introduced or not. The pandemic has now subsided, and it is finally set to launch in 2024.

Once operational, it is set to change Europe-bound travel forever, but unlike what the mainstream media has reported, it will not make travel any harder for Americans. Believe it or not, it may even help smooth the immigration process.

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A Person Stands Behind A White Line And An European Union EU Flag Painted On The Ground Alongside Their Backpack

An Electronic Travel Authorization, usually shortened to ETA or other variations, is an online permit applying to visa-exempt nationals seeking entry into a foreign country. The media may be calling it a ‘visa', but it is nothing like one.

In fact, it is the exact opposite of a visa.

How Does The ESTA Work?

They can easily be obtained by filling out an online form, answering a select few security questions, and paying a symbolic fee. Once obtained, ETAs are valid for a number of years – usually between two or five – and can be used multiple times until their expiration date.

Young Female American Traveler Holding Up A U.S. Passport Case As She Uses Her Computer, International Travel Concept

In Europe's case, it will allow eligible foreigners to visit Europe for 90 days out of any 180-day period during the three years it remains valid.

Commonly used to pre-screen travelers ahead of arrival, they have been available in countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several others for years now, though they were never a requirement in Europe.

Europe's ETIAS is merely a response to the States', Canada's, Australia's, and most of the Western World's own travel authorization system and concerns travelers who currently enjoy visa-free travel in the continent.

Female Passenger Sleeping On A Plane As Her Partners Gazes Out The Window Listening To Music In His Headphones, Unspecified Airline

Once ETIAS is operational, however, Americans who do not hold a valid permit will not be permitted to enter Europe's Schengen Area, where it is valid. Contrary to popular belief, they will still be exempt from visas, as ETIAS are something else.

It Costs Only €7 To Apply

An ETIA application, which is completely online, will take only a few minutes to complete, and upon payment of a €7 fee, applicable to travelers aged 18-70, the vast majority will be issued automatically within minutes, delivered straight to an applicant's email.

A Young Couple Having A Romantic Picnic At Champs de Mars, At The Foot Of The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Only those who may pose a danger to Europe, based on cross-database references and personal information, or who have broken short-term stay rules before will have their applications processed manually and potentially denied.

The average American who's not a terrorist, an illegal migrant seeking entry to Europe, or a criminal blacklisted by international organizations has nothing to worry about. They will almost certainly be issued an ETIAS instantly upon submission.

The same applies to all foreign nationals who are currently allowed to travel in Europe without a tourist visa, including Canadians, Brits, Australians, New Zealand nationals, Mexicans, and others.

woman in europe

Other non-visa-exempt travelers will continue to be subject to visa rules, and that's where sensationalism has arisen from. Americans are visa exempt and thus eligible for the simplified ETIAS procedure.

The tourist visa application in Europe is a lot more burdensome and applies only to foreign nationals facing visa restrictions, such as those from Turkiye, Morocco, Vietnam, and numerous others.

What Is The Difference Between An ETIAS And A Visa?

Applying for a visa to enter the Schengen Area entails booking an appointment at a visa center, usually in an applicant's country of residence, where they will be required to present an extensive list of documentation proving the following:

Amazing town of Hvar harbor aerial view, Dalmatia, croatia
  • Their planned itinerary in the Schengen Area
  • They have purchased a return ticket or onward ticket out of the Schengen Area upon fulfillment of the itinerary
  • Financial resources, proving they have enough money to support themselves, and other dependants, during their leisure trip
  • Proof of accommodation, usually satisfied through hotel bookings, or invitation letters dated, signed, and registered by a host who's a habitual resident in Europe
  • Any other documentation that proves they have solid ties to their country of origin, or country of residence, such as property they own and/or proof of employment

Other than the documentation, applying for a visa can take several months in certain places, as appointment dates are limited, and the wait time can be long.

people in shorts in line

There is also no guarantee a visa will be issued, as the decision lies in an immigration officer's hands, and should they ever suspect an applicant's actual goals are to overstay or illegally migrate into the Schengen Zone, either due to a lack of financial resources, or incomplete documentation, the tourist visa will be unceremoniously denied.

Visa fees can be hefty also, at €80 per adult, and Schengen visas are normally issued individually for each trip. This means every time a non-visa-exempt foreigner wants to visit Europe; they must undergo the same procedure, irrespective of how short their intended stay is.

historic buildings and pink tulips in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in spring or summer in Europe

As you might have guessed, an ETIAS is way easier to obtain, as you are not required to disclose any of this private information nor submit any document whatsoever other than your passport number, it costs only €7, and it lasts for three years, or until the expiry of an ETIAS holder's passport, whichever comes first.

Most definitely, Americans and other Westerners who are not EU citizens will not need visas to enter Europe, as an ETIAS is a different category. If anything, Americans are being spared the worst of Brussels' infamous bureaucracy.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Terry Heckel

Sunday 30th of July 2023

What I read referred to a 7 euro fee for the ETIAS procedure, being paid by those 18-70. What if you’re older that 70. I will be 77 and my wife will turn 72 while we are in Italy (04/10/2024-05/18/2024). Is the no fee or does the ETIAS not apply for people our age?


Sunday 23rd of July 2023

Sugar coating the devil.... I'll simply spend my tourist dollars elsewhere! It seems no one learns these days to stop making everything in life worse except by hitting them in their wallets!


Monday 24th of July 2023

@BrandonSuxit, Please stop the nonsense and stop acting like you are entitled! This is the same BS that we Europeans have to endure when visiting USA and Canada. I don't personally agree with it but comply nevertheless. As the article states, a number of countries are now doing this so if you don't like it just stay at home


Saturday 22nd of July 2023

Do you actually believe what you wrote? I find that hard to believe. This is an obvious Trojan horse to future travel restrictions for any reason…

Sarah Smith

Saturday 22nd of July 2023

This is so sadly naive. Your credibility is gone with this post. Telling people how easy it is to surrender their freedom by comparing the ETIAS to a VISA - two dissimilar things - is, at best, a straw man - at worst, revelatory of your globalist sympathies. Do better.


Saturday 22nd of July 2023

“Only those who may pose a danger to Europe….” Well, this could be anyone at anytime for any reason. This program is managed by Frontex, which has added language on its website that this program with allow member countries to identify threats to public health, so it’s a vaccine passport. Eat too many burgers in week? You’re a threat, ETA cancelled. Rent a petrol car? You’re a threat, ETA cancelled. Cool your rental below the allowed amount? You’re a threat, ETA cancelled. It is unfathomable that you think this is a good idea anywhere. You should be working to abolish this system in US, Canada, New Zealand instead of trying to justify more of it. Non-Americans just experienced how dangerous this whole system is with recent nonsensical travel bans for the thinking-enabled, yet non-Covid jabbed.

Stephen White

Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

@DM, Wow, the paranoiacs are out in full force, I see. Calm down, Sparky, it's just a formality. No one is spying on you to see if you eat too many burgers. Jeez...


Thursday 27th of July 2023


Completely agree and glad other comments are saying the same. The old trick of "it's for your safety". Now it's just for border control. Down the road it'll be because you belong to a different political group or don't believe in some nonsense so it's considered hate and well you are a threat.