travel tips

Americans Will Need an ETIAS for European Travel, Not a Visa

News broke recently that American citizens along with people from more than 60 countries will soon need a visa to enter Europe’s Schengen Zone, an area compromised of 26 countries. This, however, is a bit misleading.

The new clearance is not a visa, but an approval through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). Starting on Jan. 1, 2021, American citizens will have to register through the online system to gain permission to enter the desired country, regardless of how long the stay is.

blake-guidry-722181-unsplash
Photo by Blake Guidry on Unsplash.

Citizens simply need a valid passport, email address and a credit or debit card for payment. There are no “visa-like obligations” such as a consulate visit, fingerprinting and large fees, as some may expect. The cost will be 7 euros, or about 8 USD.

According to the European Commission’s website, an “automated assessment process” will begin once the fee is paid and 95 percent of applicants are expected to be approved within minutes. If an application is denied, there is an appeal process. This new practice is an effort by the European Commission to “identify any security or irregular migratory risks posed by visa-exempt visitors.”

Currently, American citizens are permitted to travel into these countries for up to 90 days without a clearance. The participating countries are below:

Austria

Belgium

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Italy

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

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