New Requirements for U.S. Citizens Traveling to Europe

Europe is the most visited region in the world, with countries like France, Spain, Italy, and Germany each hosting more than 38 million foreign tourists in 2018 alone. In addition to offering some of the best food, museums, and architecture in the world, Europe is a famous destination for U.S. travelers who do not need a tourist visa to visit most countries.

But the rules are going to change. Initially planned to come into force on January 1, 2021, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will not be operational until the end of 2022 and will not be necessary for at least six months afterward. At that point, all U.S. citizens wishing to travel to the 26 members of the European Schengen Zone would need to register with the ETIAS or risk being excluded from the border.

Bear in mind that countries constantly change their entry requirements, and travel advisories from the State Department are also changing frequently nowadays. Check the official government and embassy websites for the latest details before making a booking or packing for your trip.

Currently, there is no provision for a European Union (EU) visa waiver for U.S. people traveling to Schengen countries for less than 90 days. Effective 2021, all U.S. residents traveling to the Schengen region of Europe will need to apply for a three-year ETIAS visa waiver.

Which countries in Europe will require ETIAS to visit?

The new travel authorization shall apply to persons entering any member country of Europe’s Schengen Zone. Actually, this includes 26 nations. This means that you will need to register to travel to famous countries like Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and several others.

Starting on January 1, 2021, Americans will need to complete a special online registration process to visit 26 European countries, according to the European Commission’s guidelines, the body that governs the European Union’s day-to-day business. The new process, known as the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), will be introduced to strengthen border security.

How long will the ETIAS application take?

When an ETIAS application is available online, it should only take about 10 minutes to complete. To register, you will need a valid passport, an email address, and a debit or credit card to pay a non-refundable payment charge.

Suppose you have completed your application online with personal details on your passport and answered safety and health-related questions. In that case, it should be accepted and sent to your email address within a few hours of being checked via security databases such as Interpol and Europol. Children traveling under 18 are free of charge when applying to ETIAS.

Do you have to reapply for each trip to Europe?

No. When you apply for the first time, your ETIAS will be valid for three years—or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. Because ETIAS is valid for short-term stays of up to 90 days for both leisure and business travelers, you will be able to re-enter Europe several times within three years without renewing it as long as your stay does not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period. All who wish to study or work in Europe will have to apply for a proper visa.

Who else will need ETIAS authorization?

This latest initiative is not only exclusive to U.S. residents. More than 60 countries whose people would be needed to have an ETIAS while visiting the Schengen region. The list of qualifying ETIAS countries includes Canada, Mexico, Australia, and several others.

Get more information and the latest updates about this new requirement with the guide to ETIAS.


This article has been written by ETIAS is a program designed for nationals of countries, such as the United States, who are currently not required to have a Visa to visit Europe. For more information, check their website.

Louie is the father behind the travel blog He has a background in photography, E-commerce, and writing product reviews online at ConsumerReviews24. Traveling full time with his family was his ultimate past-time. If he’s not typing at his laptop, you can probably find him watching movies.

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Edna Webb

I am Edna Webb and I love technology. I have always been fascinated by anything that has to do with computers, gadgets, and software. This led me to study Computer Science in college and eventually become a full-stack developer and editor at I love to write about technology and share my thoughts with others. I also enjoy photography, eating different delicacies, and following tech closely.

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