If you’re planning a trip to Europe, be sure you learn about the new American Visa Europe program that will be effective in 2021.
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 2021 that is!
The new Visa requirement will take effect in January 2021. All Americans wishing to visit the European Schengen-zone 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 Americans 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.
What do Americans Need to go to Europe?
Do Americans need a visa for Europe now? Yes, in 2021! US citizens 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
- 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 Europe for longer than 90 days, read this in-depth post about how to legally stay in Europe longer!
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
What the New Visa Requirement does NOT mean:
- You will NOT need the ETIAS Visa if you are visiting only 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?
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 the EU to keep tabs on its 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 worth it.