Updated: Aug 28
In a recent development, Iceland has introduced a new travel authorization system, ETIAS, which will come into effect from 2024. This system mandates travelers from outside the Schengen zone to pay a visa exemption fee when entering countries within the Schengen area.
This move is expected to have implications for a significant portion of tourists, especially those from the US and the UK.
ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is the new travel authorization system that will be enforced from 2024.
The system is akin to the ESTA visa exemption program in the U.S., where travelers are required to pre-register their passports for entry.
Once the ETIAS authorization is approved, it remains valid for three years or until the passport's expiration date.
The fee for this authorization is set at 7 EUR (7.56 USD approx).
This change predominantly impacts tourists holding American and British passports. Notably, in 2022, these tourists made up 41% of international travelers departing from Keflavík International Airport.
Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, the chairman of the Iceland Tourist Industry Association, believes that this new scheme will not drastically affect the number of American and British tourists visiting Iceland.
Implications for Travelers
For many of us travelers, especially those from the US and the UK, this new system means an additional step and fee when planning our trips to Iceland and other Schengen countries. However, it's essential to remember that such measures are often introduced to enhance security and streamline the entry process, ensuring a smoother travel experience for everyone.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is the new travel authorization system that Iceland, along with other Schengen countries, will be implementing from 2024. This system is designed to regulate the entry of non-Schengen travelers, ensuring enhanced security and streamlined entry processes.
How ETIAS Compares to Other Systems: The ETIAS system bears a resemblance to the ESTA visa exemption program in the U.S. Under ESTA, travelers are required to pre-register their passports before gaining entry. Similarly, ETIAS will require travelers to undergo a pre-registration process.
Validity and Fee Structure
Once a traveler obtains the ETIAS authorization, it remains valid for three years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. The fee associated with this authorization is 7 EUR. This fee is a visa exemption charge, meaning travelers won't need a traditional visa but will still need to pay this fee for entry.
Impact on Specific Tourist Groups
The introduction of ETIAS will predominantly affect tourists from non-Schengen countries, especially those holding American and British passports. To put this into perspective, in 2022, tourists from the US and the UK constituted a significant 41% of international travelers departing from Keflavík International Airport.
Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, the chairman of the Iceland Tourist Industry Association, weighed in on the matter. He expressed that while the system will introduce a new fee for certain travelers, he doesn't anticipate a significant decline in the number of American and British tourists visiting Iceland. This sentiment suggests that the unique allure of Iceland will continue to draw travelers, despite the additional fee.
While the introduction of the ETIAS system might seem like an added hassle for some travelers, it's a step towards ensuring safer and more organized travel within the Schengen zone. As we adapt to these changes, let's not forget the breathtaking beauty and unique experiences that Iceland offers.
And if you're considering a trip to this stunning country, why not explore it at your own pace? Rent an RV from Campervan Reykjavik and embark on an unforgettable journey across the Icelandic landscapes. Safe travels!