Americans Now Need Visas to Visit Europe – Here’s What You Need to Know

American Visa Europe

UPDATE: Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, this requirement has been pushed back to 2024. 

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, be sure you learn about the new American Visa Europe program that will be effective in 2024.

American Visa Europe

Americans Now Need a Visa to Visit Europe – Here’s What You Need to Know

For years Americans have roamed the countries of the European Union and beyond without a care in the world. Getting to Europe was easy and hassle-free. All you needed was a passport! Gone are the days…at least starting in late 2023 that is!

The new Visa requirements for US citizens will take effect in late 2023. All Americans wishing to visit the European Schengen area will need to apply for an ETIAS Visa, which stands for “European Travel Information and Authorization System.” This new Visa program applies to all former Visa-Waiver countries for the European Union (yes that’s you too Canada)!

Europe has recently decided it’s time to improve their security level to help negate and avoid any problems that might arise with terrorism and illegal immigration, both of which have proved troublesome in the past decade, with increasing concern.

Terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, and Strasbourg just recently are proof of that. This is not a huge deal. In fact, the US requires visitors from Europe to have an ESTA, which will be very similar to the ETIAS. It’s also very similar to the process that American citizens have to go through to visit Australia. It’s just one small hoop you’ll have to jump through (and pay for) to enjoy your next trip to Europe. 

visiting europe

What do Americans Need to go to Europe?

Do Americans need a visa for Europe now? Yes, in late 2023! US passport holders will need to apply for the ETIAS Visa before visiting Europe. Here is what you will need:

  • Valid passport with 3 remaining months beyond your period of intended stay (meaning if I’m planning to leave Europe on January 1, my passport needs to be valid until April 1).
  • Credit or debit card (and some money in your account to pay for it)
  • The fee is €7 for adults. Children under 18 do NOT need to pay, but they DO need an ETIAS Visa!
  • Email account
  • Physical Address of Permanent Residency in the US

Visa Questions will Include:

  • Full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Current address
  • Parents’ information
  • Passport and other nationality details

Apart from basic personal information, applicants will also have to answer questions related to:

  • Drug use
  • Terrorism
  • Human trafficking
  • Travel to conflict areas
  • Criminal history
  • Employment history
  • Past European travel information
  • Security information

Can I Stay in Europe Longer Than 90 Days Now?

Unfortunately, the old 90-day Schengen rule still applies to the new ETIAS Visa! Bummer! If you don’t know what I’m talking about and you’re interested in staying in the European country for longer than 90 days, read this in-depth post about how to legally stay in Europe longer! 

Can I Stay in Europe More Than 90 Days?

Benefits of the New ETIAS Visa Program

Don’t sweat this new Visa requirement change. I think it’s a good thing. Here are some benefits:

  • It is valid for 3 years
  • It covers multiple entries into the EU
  • It can be done online
  • It should only take about 10 minutes
  • It should be processed within minutes

Plus, when the ETIAS program goes into effect, you can apply for an ETIAS visa waiver or visa free visitors to travel to any of the Schengen countries for short stays. That means you can get visa free access if you’re only planning on short stays.

American Visa Europe

What the New Visa Requirement does NOT mean:

  • You will NOT need the ETIAS Visa or Schengen Visa if you only visit the UK (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland).
  • You will NOT need in-person appointments
  • You will NOT need sponsorship
  • You will NOT need to mail anything

Why is this happening?

Do Americans Need a Visa for Europe

There are many reasons for the new ETIAS Visa, but the main reason is safety. In light of recent terrorist attacks and illegal immigration issues in Europe, it’s a way for European countries to keep tabs on their visitors.

It’s also providing them with a pretty sweet cash flow. Over 12 million Americans visit Europe each year. At €7 per visitor, that’s eighty-four million Euros every three years. Not too shabby!

I hope this helps clear up some concerns about the new American Visa for Europe. My takeaway is that it will just be a simple hurdle to jump through in order to be able to enjoy a place I love. There are far worse restrictions around the world. I think this will be simple and quick, and if it helps to keep me safe while traveling in Europe, also be worth it.

What are your thoughts about the new ETIAS Visa? I’d love to hear your opinions. You can reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram.

17 thoughts on “Americans Now Need Visas to Visit Europe – Here’s What You Need to Know

  1. Kate says:

    Please tell me this isn’t true. I wonder if there will be an extra permits we will need for traveling as we have permits for Switzerland…. Thank you so much for this post.

    I wonder if this will decrease the number of USA citizens traveling to Europe.

    • Wanderlust Crew says:

      I wonder that too. It will probably definitely limit the number of last-minute visitors. Although from what I’ve researched it seems like it will only take a few minutes to apply and you SHOULD get approved within minutes. That seems odd to me. To be honest, it feels like a way for them to get money. It’s only 7 Euros though and kids don’t have to pay the fee. Just one more thing to add to your travel checklist I guess!

      • Kasia says:

        To be honest it’s not odd at all. It works the same when you’re from Europe and travel to America. I’m from Europe and we need an ETA to enter Canada (online, few minutes long application, similar cost of 7 Canadian dollars, just to register properly any person who enters the country – extra security). To visit US or even for just a flight transfer in the US I need a visa for which I have to apply in person and costs $160. I think it is very good that Europe will have a better security just like other parts of the world! 🙂

        • Wanderlust Crew says:

          I couldn’t agree more. Most countries have this. Many countries in South America, and Australia as well. It’s not a big deal. I wanted to ease everyone’s concerns. I think when people think “visa” they think about the process to visit China or Russia. I wish they would give this a different name besides a visa, simply because it conjures up these ideas. An “online pre-registration” or something would be a better name!

  2. Lindsey says:

    I’m glad it’s good for 3 years at least. I was shuddering to think we might have to apply for this multiple times within a short timeframe.

    • Wanderlust Crew says:

      Oh I know! I have THREE trips planned to Europe this year! I was worried it was going to be so pricey and I’d have to apply for every single trip! This is easy-peasy though! And I’m not complaining about 7 Euros to hopefully help keep everyone safe!

  3. Shannan Swindler says:

    How does this affect Americans that have temporary (or permanent) residency in other countries? Do they need to have this when they travel to Europe using a US passport or is their residency card for the country they are living in going to be enough?

    • Wanderlust Crew says:

      I would assume that your residency card would be more than enough to travel through Europe, however, I don’t have a fact-based answer for this. If I find out I will let you know. But you might do well just to apply for this. For the 7 Euros it costs you (and kids are free) I think it’s worth it to have all your bases covered in case anything should happen. It’s good for 3 years too.

  4. Jess says:

    Thank you so much for covering this! Just read an article about this today. Sounds like because American changed the visa requirements for Europeans a few years ago, this was going to happen.

    And even with the 6 months limitation per year for Americans, 7 euros is still not shabby.

    • Wanderlust Crew says:

      Yeah 7 Euros is not bad at all. Plus kids are free too so that’s super nice! I think everyone is freaking out about it a little simply because the word “visa” is involved! I do think it’s a good idea to keep track of who is coming into your country/union for many reasons. And it’s good for 3 years, so I’m not complaining. Now to only get rid of that 90 day schengen rule lol!

    • Wanderlust Crew says:

      If you have EU citizenship then you don’t need to use your US passport to get into Europe. Use your EU passport for sure and this won’t even be an issue for you!

  5. Rachel @ Never Enough Novels says:

    This was the first I heard of this, so thanks for sharing! We’re planning to visit Ireland in 2020, so now I definitely want to book that trip. It’s nice at least that the UK won’t be requiring them (yet). Thankfully the cost is minimal!

  6. Anita Coca says:

    Hi, It is now July 2021 and I just checked the and there is no visa request for US citizens to visit Italy for up to 90 days, Have you checked this lately? Is this information updated?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.