3 major changes shaking up travel for Americans in 2023

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Planning to travel in 2023? From new biometric regulations to new admission fees for travel to Europe, we are here to help you navigate the complex changes that will take place in the world of travel next year.

Again, in 2023, the rules for travelers will change and a new system will be put in place to make traveling easier. If you’re planning a trip in 2023, here’s what you need to know about the biggest changes.

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Americans can finally renew their passports online

Lost your passport? Want to update your name? change gender? The good news: After a successful pilot this year, US online passport renewal is expected to be fully rolled out in 2023.

The new service makes passport application convenient and easy. No more dealing with piles of papers, getting physical passport photos or waiting hours at passport offices.

A digitized system allows you to complete your renewals online, upload photos from your smartphone or tablet, and pay electronically.

Americans will soon be able to renew their passports online, but processing times are still long © Getty Images

But if you’re planning to travel abroad in the near future, don’t wait to apply. The new service may be more efficient, but it’s no faster or cheaper than the old method.For mail-in applications, wait times are generally the same, taking 8 to 11 weeks, according to the State Department. Prices remain unchanged at $130 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card, or $160 for both. If you choose expedited service (5-7 weeks), there is an additional charge of $60.

An exact date for the full rollout of online applications has not yet been announced, but could be early 2023. To apply, you must be at least 25 years old and have a current passport valid for 10 years. There are also some other requirements. See here for details.

Travel costs to Europe

But not so much. From November 2023, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will be rolled out to non-European Union citizens in 60 countries, including the United States. Therefore, American travelers between the ages of 18 and under 70 must complete a form and pay an entrance fee of €7 ($7.25).

ETIAS is a European visa waiver program that works similarly to ESTA in the United States, performing rapid and automated security checks on visitors before allowing them to enter the country. ETIAS allows holders to enter the region without a visa for up to 90 days and is valid for multiple visits over a period of three years. You must apply online before travel. In most cases, approvals are expected to be granted almost immediately.

ETIAS is not required for entry into all EU Member States, but it is required for the 26 European countries within the Schengen Area that have abolished all controls at their mutual borders.

Smiling young couple of backpackers waiting with other people at airport check-in counter
In 2023, the EU will require international travelers to register for the Visa Waiver Program and submit fingerprints and facial scans upon arrival © Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images

Your fingerprints will be taken when you land in Europe

The new Exit and Exit System (EES), due to start in May 2023, will require all non-EU citizens to submit biometric data such as fingerprints and facial scans before entering the EU. (This is similar to what the United States requires of its international visitors.)

Like ETIAS, it only affects non-EU citizens arriving to destinations within the Schengen Area, which consists of 22 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Wait times at borders may be longer after the system was first rolled out in May, but there will be no significant change for visitors. Some countries, such as Germany and Austria, are concerned that wait times will “double compared to the current situation”.

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