With the new year comes the new potential for travel. Americans are anticipating moving past the restrictions of the last three years due to the pandemic. Travelers are planning international trips and living their wanderlust dreams.
This year does come with changes to the travel scene, including new regulations, services, and systems that will affect Americans.
Here are some major changes American travelers should know about for 2023:
Visitor fees for travel to Europe
You’ll soon have to pay a visitor fee for visiting countries in the European Union (E.U.). This includes 22 nations and Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
Thankfully, the fee isn’t a large amount. The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will be introduced in November. The automated visa-waiver program will charge non-E.U. citizens between the ages of 18 and 70, an entry fee of €7 or $7.25.
If you’re planning on traveling to a participating nation, you’ll have to submit an ETIAS application and entry authorization ahead of your trip. Travelers can visit the region for 90 days or less visa-free. The authorization is valid for multiple visits to E.U. countries in a three-year period.
Renew your U.S. passport online
After years of processing delays, backlogs, and office closure due to the pandemic, the U.S. Passport Agency is stepping it up in 2023. The online passport renewal portal will be launched for the general public to use after a successful pilot program in 2022.
Gone are the days of needing to find a place to take a passport photo, mailing out a packet of paperwork, and hoping to get your passport in the mail before your flight. The portal will allow you to enter your information online, upload an image using your mobile device and pay online!
The only downside to this upgrade is that processing times won’t be any faster. The turnaround time will remain six to nine weeks and five weeks for expedited processing, according to the State Department. The fees will remain the same.
New entry/exit system in Europe
Going into effect in May 2023, Europe will have a new Entry/Exit System (EES) that will register non-E.U. travelers’ biometric data (facial images and fingerprints), personal information, and entry and exit dates.
Instead of manually checking travelers’ passports stamping for entry and exits, this system will be able to provide accurate information on border crossings and flag those who overstay.