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New travel requirements to Europe

Main clock tower in Urbino, Italy. Photo taken in June 2023. El torre de reloj principal en Urbino, Italia. La foto es de junio 2023.

Two big changes are coming to international travel, with both the introduction of the European Travel Information and Authorization System and the potential for a new passport agency in Utah.

Utah has become an international travel hub in recent years. In a January 2024 press release, the Salt Lake International Airport said that passengers coming through SLC have increased and hit a new record high.

“The growth can be attributed primarily to an increase in the number of international passengers …The number of international passengers reached a new record of 1,323,294 in 2023, compared to 1,115,861 in 2019,” the Salt Lake International Airport press release stated.

Many airlines have direct flights to European and Mexican destinations.

In October 2023 the European Union created a new action plan called the European Travel Information and Authorization System for travelers coming to Europe. It was originally set to roll out the beginning of 2024, but it has been pushed back to mid-2025.

According to the European Union’s website, ETIAS is a visa requirement for travelers who are not citizens of the 30 European countries in the Schengen region.

The Schengen region refers to the countries that many people think of when they think about Europe. It includes: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

“With a valid ETIAS travel authorisation, you can enter the territory of these European countries as often as you want for short-term stays–normally for up to 90 days in any 180-day period,” the European Union website said.

Travelers can still travel freely between the countries, but there will be border checks to see travelers’ passports and required documents.

The U.S. Department of State-Bureau of Consular Affairs advises U.S. travelers going to Europe to now have their passports on them at all times.

When the process roles out, travelers will apply on the ETIAS website. The application fee is 7 euros and processes within minutes. The European Union website said in some cases it may take up to 14 days if more documents are required, but generally it will be processed within minutes.

More information about the ETIAS and requirements can be found on the European Union’s website.

The visa is connected to your passport and is valid for up to three years or when your passport expires, whichever is first.

Getting that passport can be another issue.

Despite the growth for international travel, Utah does not have a passport agency. The closest passport agency is in Denver, Colorado. Now there is a push for Utah to get its own passport agency.

Sen. Mitt Romney is one who is pushing for this to happen.

“Utah is quickly becoming a center for global commerce and tourism,” Sen. Romney said. “In addition to serving as a home to thousands of Latter-day Saints who annually embark on worldwide religious missions, our state is also experiencing a rapid population. Utahns are frustrated with their lack of access to passport services–required to travel long distances out of state to obtain urgent, in-person consular services at a passport agency.”

With the new ETIAS requirements to Europe and Utah’s international travel increasing, the passport agency will help solve many hiccups that may arise.

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Lexie Andrew, Culture editor

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