U.S. citizens are currently permitted to visit 26 countries in the European Union for up to three months for the purpose of business or tourism without any visa requirements.
Beginning July 1, 2021, the rules will change. Visiting any of these Schengen-member countries for tourism, business, medical or transit will require approval from the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)—which will be considered an additional check on security rather than a visa.
The intent of this new requirement is to better address the challenges posed by terrorism and to raise revenue for the EU.
The application and approval process
The ETIAS application process will take place online and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.
Applicants will be asked to provide three types of information: 1) a valid passport (with an expiration date that is at least three months longer than the intended stay; 2) a credit or debit card, and 3) an email address.
Application must take place at least 96 hours before travel.
Applications need to be made for infants and children as well as adults.
The cost will be 7 Euros per person, waived for those under the age of 18. Payment will need to be made online via credit or debit card.
The application will be checked against a number of security databases as well as an ETIAS watchlist, and then will either be approved or denied by email. If an application is denied, an explanation will be provided (which can be appealed).
ETIAS travel authorization will be valid for multiple entries over the course of three years.
ETIAS approval will be checked electronically prior to boarding an aircraft, boat or bus, and again by a border agent upon entry into the Schengen zone.
ETIAS is not only aimed at Americans. Citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and dozens of other countries will have to meet similar requirements.
Source: ETIAS: EU Travel Information & Authorization System
*Be sure to check the ETIAS website for additional information, updates and to sign up for the application form, when available.