I keep thinking that barriers and borders that separate us will soon come down and disappear. And then a news item will hit that makes me realize that we are further from traveling in freedom than we ever were.
It was announced today that Americans will not only need a valid passport, but also a visa to visit the continent of Europe starting on January 1, 2021. This was reported by ETIAS, or Europe Visa for Americans.
US citizens traveling to Europe will shortly need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa which is the new travel visa to visit Europe that will come into effect from 2021. Similar to other countries and regions in the world Europe has recently decided to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism. This means that from 2021, all Americans traveling to a European Schengen-zone country will be in need of an ETIAS.
The main ETIAS requirements which each US citizen/applicant must have on hand when applying are a valid US passport, a credit or debit card, and a valid email address. The new EU visa will be multiple entry, meaning that once you have it you can travel in and out of the EU countries without having to renew the visa, and it will last for a period of three years.
Currently one does not need a visa for stays under 90-days.
The ETIAS visa for Europe must be paid in advance through the secure online payment via credit or debit card when applying with the traveler’s contact information and passport details and the traveler must wait (it doesn’t say for how long) for confirmation by email. It sounds like visas will not be available at the border or when passing through customs.
The report that came out today does not say how much the new visas will be.
Travel between the UK and the US is still visa-free.