Starting in 2021, Americans will no longer be able to hop across the pond for a spur-of-the-moment visit to Europe without completing pre-authorization paperwork. But they still won’t need a visa.
Beginning in 2021, American visitors and other visa-free travelers to the EU must first obtain a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) registration. It’s not a full visa application, but a short online application that should cost 7 euros (about $8).
The authorization will last for three years and allows Americans to enter the Schengen Area as many times as necessary during that period.
Some applicants could be rejected, but the EU expects 95 percent of people will be automatically approved — so still a slight shift from the current travel policies, but a less significant one.
Explaining the new requirement, the European Union cited the desire “to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism.” However, the creation of the ETIAS visa comes after the United States has failed to allow similar travel freedom for all EU members.
The United States currently requires citizens from Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania, and Cyprus to obtain similar pre-authorization to enter the country. These are the only EU members that have a screening requirement for US travel
The added bureaucracy and red tape on US travel to Europe come as American relations have chilled with the continent under President Donald Trump’s administration