Have you heard rumors that U.S. citizens will need to apply for a Visa to travel to Europe beginning in 2021? That may not be exactly true, but here’s what is.
U.S. citizens are currently able to enter the Schengen countries visa-free for up to 90 days. The Schengen Area is a zone where 26 European countries abolished their internal borders, for the free and unrestricted movement of people, in harmony with common rules for controlling external borders and fighting criminality by strengthening the common judicial system and police cooperation. But recent security issues have led to the need for more border control. Beginning in 2021, U.S citizens will still not need a visa for travel to Europe but, they will need an electronic travel authorization, called an ETIAS. ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a completely electronic system which allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone.
There is a simple process to apply for an ETIAS. In most cases, it will only take about 10 minutes. You’ll go online, supply the information requested, pay the fee and then submit the application. If you are eligible, it’s fast and easy. If you are not eligible, you will receive notification that your application has been denied. You will then be able to appeal, based on the reason why, or to change your application if necessary.
The ETIAS will be good for 3 years, and the cost is low - currently 7 Euros (roughly$8 US). They expect to have this ready to go into effect for US citizens in January 2021. The ETIAS is only for travel into the Schengen Zone countries. If you go into any non-Schengen countries; you will not be able to enter those countries with this ETIAS. Everyone US citizen will need an ETIAS regardless of age.
One of the reasons for this change is to prevent irregular migration. So exactly what is irregular migration? It means illegal or unauthorized entry; the use of false documents or entering a country without going through the border. ETIAS will also help the fight against crime or terrorism and improve the management of the borders.
So, there it is in a nutshell. If you want more information, you can visit the www.schengenvisainfo.com.