Right now, United States passport holders have it pretty easy when it comes to traveling throughout Europe. No special visa is required for stays under 90 days, and no additional paperwork is required — you just show up at the border with your passport. Starting in 2021, however, Americans will need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) to visit 26 countries in the Schengen Zone (the UK will still be visa-free).
Once US citizens apply for and receive the visa, it will be valid for three years, and will not need to be renewed upon each visit. According to the website, “The ETIAS visa is a multiple-entry visa with few restrictions in order to promote tourism while maintaining a high level of international security.”
While the exact process for applying hasn’t yet been revealed, US citizens will be required to have a valid passport, credit or debit card, and email address. The passport used will need to be valid for three months beyond the period of stay of each traveler and it is possible that passports over 10 years old may not be accepted as a valid travel document. The cost isn’t yet known. The ETIAS website says that “applicants will need to fill out an online form with their contact details and passport information as well as answer some basic security questions.”
In addition to the new ETIAS requirement, other regulations and restrictions will also be enacted, relating to “the right to carry weapons, importing and exporting large quantities of tobacco, alcohol or perfume and declaring large amounts of currency.”
The ETIAS visa will be very similar to the United States’ ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) that Europeans and other countries with a visa waiver program have had to obtain for travel in the US since 2010.
H/T: Travel & Leisure