Starting in 2021, all Americans and those from other visa-free countries traveling to the 26 countries within the Schengen Area will need to apply for the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in order to enter.
Currently, the Schengen Area consists of: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The ETIAS application will be online and will require a small fee (around $8 for those 18 and older; free for those 18 and under). You’ll need a passport valid for three months beyond your period of stay, an email account, and must answer a few questions about criminal history, past travel to Europe, terrorism, and more. The process is expected to take less than 10 minutes and European Union officials estimate that approximately 95% of applicants will be approved within minutes via email. If denied, you will have the right to appeal. Once approved, the permission will remain valid for three years, meaning you can travel freely to any country within the Schengen Area without reapplying.
Initially, news outlets began reporting on the authorization as a visa requirement but according to the European Union, it is not. Rather, it is simply an enhanced pre-screening process aimed at improving safety in the region.
If you have any questions regarding travel to Europe, feel free to contact the experts at Professional Travel.
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