The European Union announced on Friday, March 8, that American travelers will need a new type of visa-a European Travel Information and Authorization System or ETIAS-to visit the European Schengen Area.
The European Schengen Area is made up of 26 countries, but this new ETIAS will only apply to 22 of those countries, which includes popular tourist regions in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
It requires USA citizens to apply for a European Travel Information and Authorization System visa.
European Union officials have moved to clarify travel regulations for US citizens, following erroneous reports this week that Americans will soon be required to apply for visas. Minors, however, will only need their regular passports to travel.
This new ETIAS visa for Americans will, once issued, be valid for three years and allow U.S. citizens to enter countries in the Schengen area as often as they like.
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An ETIAS is only necessary when traveling to the Schengen area and Americans will not need one when traveling to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Cyprus.
It gets even more confusing when the European Commission wrote in a statement: "The ETIAS authorisation is not a visa". Now citizens of five European Union countries, Croatia, Poland, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria, must apply for a travel visa before heading across the Atlantic. From 2021, citizens from 60 countries will be required to apply for the ETIAS before entering the Schengen Area. Travelers in those five countries are the only European Union nations that the US requires to apply for a visa. Eventually, the new visa will be required for short-stay travel as well. The validity will be for a period of three years, significantly longer than the validity of a Schengen visa. The European Commission, the governing body for the EU, says it will "save travelers time and hassle, "prevent irregular migration", and "reinforce the fight against crime and terrorism", among other things".
- Traveling to Europe will become more complicated for Americans beginning in 2021.
They will have to fill out an online application and provide a small fee of nearly $8.
ETIASVisa.com states that it is a travel agency and is "not affiliated with any European Government".