Media Release: London, UK - World Nomads, the global travel insurance company, is advising travelers to Europe in 2024 to read up on the new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) which comes into effect sometime in 2024 (the launch was recently delayed from November 2023). Citizens from many countries who have previously been able to cross EU borders visa-free will be required to apply for the ETIAS to enter EU and Schengen member countries.
World Nomads explains what this change means and provides clarification on whether travel insurance is required.
“It pays to be prepared. Brexit has changed the travel landscape,” said Jonathan Frankham, General Manager, UK and Europe, World Nomads. “Not having the right travel documentation in 2024 might leave you out of pocket with your dream holiday canceled or delayed, but it may also mean any additional costs you incur are not covered by your travel insurance.
He added: “UK travelers need to be aware of what has changed, and that depending on where, what and how long travel plans are for will impact entry requirements and whether travel insurance is not just advisable but a legal requirement.”
ETIAS is a fully electronic process that allows and keeps track of visitors from those countries who aren’t required to have a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. The system is expected to be fully operational sometime in 2024 and the visa waiver, if given, will be valid for three years and cost €7.
Travelers must apply online and will be required to undergo a detailed security check to determine their status for entry into any of the Schengen Zone countries.
Passport holders of 59 countries that currently travel visa-free to EU and Schengen countries for the purposes of tourism, business, or transit for a 90-day stay in any 180-day period will require an ETIAS when the program launches sometime in 2024. This includes UK, US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens. Travelers with dual citizenship who possess an EU country passport, will not require an ETIAS.
“American travelers are not used to having to apply for a visa to enter Europe,” said Christina Tunnah, General Manager of Marketing and Brands, and the Americas, World Nomads. “It’s important we get the word out to travelers who might not know about this new requirement.”
She added: “While the online application should be straightforward, we don’t want any travelers showing up to the airport without the right documentation.” Denied boarding due to incorrect documentation is usually not covered by travel insurance, so travelers should give themselves plenty of time to apply for their ETIAS in case of any unexpected processing delays.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The ETIAS will gather information, track and update data relating to a specific visitor to determine their suitability for entry in the EU, working to identify any potential threats and decrease security concerns.
ETIAS is also slated to help facilitate seamless travel to the EU, aiding in reducing procedures and application times and improving the management of EU country borders.
It is strongly recommended that travelers obtain travel insurance before travel. The UK Government's advice remains to purchase private travel insurance and includes it in the list of things to do prior to travel to the EU. The United States Department of State also strongly recommends travel insurance and reminds citizens that they do not pay the medical bills or unexpected costs of their citizens overseas.
Additionally, UK travelers are also advised to apply for a GHIC, the Global Health Insurance Card, to access medically necessary state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. The GHIC replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that previously enabled UK travelers to enjoy reciprocal state health care. European Union citizens and UK travelers with dual EU citizenship can still use an EHIC if they possess an EU country passport.
UK travelers are advised, however, to check the rules and cover provided for their specific destination, as this may vary. The GHIC for instance is not valid in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Travelers that are not citizens of a visa-waiver country and are not eligible for the ETIAS, must obtain a Schengen visa. Travel insurance is a legal requirement for a successful application and entry to the Schengen area.
In most cases, traveling abroad is straightforward and unproblematic. But if something were to go wrong while traveling, travel insurance can save a lot of money and unnecessary stress. Travel insurance can help bridge any gaps not provided by initiatives such as the EHIC and GHIC cards, such as overseas travel disruption, lost, stolen or damaged baggage cover and expensive medical care not provided by public health systems.
Careful research and thoughtful consideration of different options are required to find policies that meet unique traveler needs and budget.
Travelers should consider:
World Nomads offers travel insurance for residents of more than 100 countries, including 24/7 emergency assistance if injured or ill while abroad, as well as overseas medical assistance, hospitalization and repatriation or evacuation if needed.
World Nomads also provides additional cover for more than 150 sports and activities, to ensure travelers have the right level of cover to suit what they might plan on doing while abroad.
Travel insurance can also be purchased on the go online, which may provide immediate coverage for unexpected accidents, although waiting periods may apply before some benefits kick in. Be sure to read your policy for full details.
More than a third of World Nomads' global policy sales in 2022 were for travel to Europe. “We don’t expect this new requirement to decrease the demand for Europe, but we do want to make sure our travelers are prepared for this new requirement,” Tunnah added.
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About World Nomads
World Nomads is a fast-growing, global travel insurance company. We provide inspirational stories, safety tips and specialized travel insurance for adventurous and independent travelers. Our online travel insurance offers cover to travelers from more than 100 countries and allows you to buy and claim online, 24/7, even while already traveling.
Our travel insurance focuses on what is important to travelers: cover for emergency medical and evacuation costs, baggage, trip cancellation, trip delay and trip interruption costs. We also offer cover for more than 200 adventure sports and activities, plus tech and gear. Our policies are underwritten by a suite of specialist travel insurers that provide 24/7 emergency assistance, customer service and claims support, making us a top choice for many of the world's leading adventure, independent and youth travel brands.
World Nomads is a part of the nib Group which provides health and medical insurance to more than 1.5 million Australian and New Zealand residents. We also provide health insurance to more than 170,000 international students and workers in Australia and are Australia’s third-largest travel insurer and global distributor of travel insurance through our business nib Travel.