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Europe Travel Will Require a Visa Starting in 2021 – SmarterTravel.com - http://travelporn.info | luxury travel sites

March 8, 2019 3:41 pm Categorised in:

Travel to Europe is going to get slightly more complicated in 2021. Starting that year, visitors from the U.S. will need to get an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa before entering countries in the Schengen zone. According to ETIAS, the Europe visa measure is “similar to other countries and regions in the world,” and aims to “improve security … to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism.” The new requirement stems from an E.U. vote we covered in 2017, which passed a measure to expand requirements beyond just passports.

While ETIAS is a new, extra step for American travelers, the inconvenience seems like it will be somewhat minimal. The visa will be valid for three years, meaning travelers don’t have to apply every time they travel. “Throughout these three years of validity of the ETIAS visa for USA travelers,” ETIAS explains, “it is possible to enter any of the Schengen zone European countries which apply to this visa as many times as necessary. The ETIAS visa for Americans is a multiple-entry visa with few restrictions in order to promote tourism while maintaining a high level of international security.”

One important requirement: When applying, your passport “must be valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay.” The agency also notes that “passports over 10 years old may not be accepted as a valid travel document,” but of course for Americans those passports would be expired, anyway.

In addition to a valid passport, ETIAS requires a credit or debit card (to pay for the visa) and a valid email address. Enrollment is online, and travelers will receive confirmation via email. Currently, there is no indication of how long it will take to get your visa, or how much it will cost. Presumably it will be good practice to apply at least four to six weeks in advance of needing it. The requirements don’t address any change in the current rule that requires individual visits to be under 90 days without a separate visa.

Affected Countries

As noted earlier, ETIAS only applies to the 26 nations in the Schengen zone: Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Malta, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland. Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City are also part of this group.

Notably, the U.K. and Ireland will not be part of ETIAS, though in the case of Ireland, ETIAS notes “it is very probable that in the near future that will change and they will require an ETIAS visa waiver to cross Ireland’s border.”  Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus each have somewhat unique situations, which are detailed on the ETIAS website.

Readers: Are you surprised? Comment below.

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