In two years’ time, travelling to Europe will no longer be a smooth process for Americans as they would be required to apply for a travel document called ETIAS (European Travel and Authorization System) before they would be allowed into the continent. According to the European Commission, the ETIAS will become compulsory in order in a bid to reinforce and advance international security. The ETIAS will become effective from January 1, 2021.
The ETIAS will only be valid in 22 countries in the Schengen zone which include Germany, France, and Italy. Those traveling to the UK will have no need for this visa.
Currently, the visa and immigration policy in Europe does not require Americans visiting Europe for less than 90 days to present any sort of visa.
The ETIAS will have a 3-year validity. By this, Americans will not have to make fresh applications for each time they want to travel. It also has a feature that allows multiple entries.
What does one require to apply?
To apply for this visa, the applicant must have a valid US passport, a credit/debit card and an email address. The visa cost is not yet known. Information on the ETIAS website reveals that applicants will need to provide their passport info and contact details and answer some simple security questions to complete their application. In cases of visas denial, applicants can contest it.
Early in 2017, the EU was undecided on whether or not to introduce a visa law for US citizens. In May, same year, the European Commission decided against requiring visas from Americans but stated that the decision was dependent on if the US reciprocated by waiving visas for European travellers. John Kelly, who was the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security at the time, said the US needed to review the visa-waiver agreement it had with Europe because it had to take potential terrorist attacks into consideration.
The US currently has a visa-waiver agreement with 38 countries. The changes to this program became effective at the end of 2017.
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