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Do I Need a Visa to Go to Europe Now? And Other Travel Visa Questions Answered

Post-COVID economic recovery is a topic of interest in most major countries, including Europe. Many countries are adjusting their travel regulations, and if you’re a fan of traveling like we are, then you’re going to need to keep up to date with the changes. You may be wondering, will Americans now need a visa for Europe? Will it be harder to see the Trevi Fountain or the Eiffel Tour and eat Swiss chocolate? 

As of 2024, traveling to Europe and Brazil is going to change, but the major travel disruption we’re going to explain is ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), a new requirement happening soon for travelers to Europe from the United States. (Don’t worry, it’s not a new EU visa requirement.) 

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Here’s everything you need to know about ETIAS. 

What is ETIAS?

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ETIAS is an electronic database system to better track who’s coming and going and to increase security for both residents and travelers. The ETIAS visa waiver is a travel authorization for business, tourism, or short-term study. People who desire to live, study longer-term, work, or remain in Europe longer than 90 days will still have to apply for a visa.

For ETIAS, you’ll be asked to share personal information, and you will need to have a passport that’s good for at least three months from your travel date.

What Does ETIAS Stand for?

ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System. ETIAS is not a visa but a travel-registration system for tourists, visitors, and more.

Will I Need a Visa for Europe in 2024?

The short answer is no. ETIAS is not a visa, and U.S. citizens do not need a visa for Europe. The ETIAS website explains it as a visa waiver document that Americans are eligible to apply for (aka required to apply for) before entering the Schengen area of Europe. It actually means that you don’t need a visa; rather, the ETIAS document is required.

Which European Countries Will Require ETIAS?

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Only the Schengen area requires ETIAS. You will not need an ETIAS to visit every country in Europe, just Schengen countries, which include Italy and Greece.

Here is a Schengen map of Europe.

The 27 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

You will not need an ETIAS to travel to the United Kingdom, because it is not part of the European Union or part of Schengen. Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom.

You will not need an ETIAS to travel to Ireland, because while it is part of the European Union, it is not a member of Schengen.

When Will I Need ETIAS?

The European Union’s website says the new authorization will start in 2024 but hasn’t clarified a specific date. 

When Can I Apply for ETIAS?

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The ETIAS is scheduled to come online at some point in 2024. Once initiated, there will be a 180-day grace period.

Is ETIAS a Paper Document?

ETIAS is a digital document that you can complete online before traveling.

Can I Apply for an ETIAS Prior to 2024?

You can apply for an ETIAS once the platform is open at some point in 2024. At the moment, there is no specific information about when it will be available.

Does the ETIAS Cost Money?

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It will cost around 7 euros (approximately $8 USD).

Do I need a visa for Japan? 

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U.S. citizens do not need a visa to visit Japan. You need a valid passport and an onward/return ticket for tourist or business stays of up to 90 days. Your passport must be valid for the entire time you are staying in Japan. You cannot work on a 90-day visa-free entry.

Do I need a visa for Thailand? 

U.S. citizens do not need a visa to visit Thailand, as long as they’re visiting for fewer than 30 days. We strongly recommend that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your arrival in Thailand to avoid possible denied entry. Thai immigration officials or airline staff may ask for your onward/return ticket.

Do I need a visa for Brazil? 

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As of October 1, 2023, U.S. citizens will need to complete an entry visa for travel to Brazil. Once available, U.S. citizens can apply for the Brazil eVisa online. The visit visa will be issued to foreigners traveling to Brazil and staying up to 90 days, and it will cost $160. It can take up to 15 days to process, and they do not issue them in person, so if you plan to visit Brazil soon, you’ll need to apply in advance.

Do I need a visa for Australia? 

Yes and no. You must have a valid U.S. passport and a visa or an approved Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to enter Australia. Most U.S. passport holders traveling to Australia for tourism or business purposes for fewer than 90 days can obtain an ETA instead of a visa, and it costs 20AUD. You can even apply on the ETA app.

Do I need a visa for Qatar? 

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Yes, a visa is required for U.S. citizens to travel to Qatar. U.S. citizens must also hold a valid passport, and it is advisable that the passport have a minimum of six months remaining validity after the date the traveler plans to depart Qatar. Tourist visas to Qatar are typically valid for 30 days.

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