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Traveling To European Countries For Americans

From 2021, travelers from the United States of America and other visa-free countries will have to take a little step before they can visit some countries in Europe. The European Union announced that travelers from visa-free countries will need to apply online for an ETIAS visa, which is an initiative designed to make security checks for visa-free travelers stronger. They will also need to pay a small fee during the application. This applies to travelers going to the Schengen Zone in Europe, which is made up of 26 countries, including Spain, Germany, and France. Every citizen of the United States can travel to Schengen countries without using a visa and stay for up to 90 days.

Even though news outlets called the initiative ETIAS visa, government authorities are insisting that it is not a visa. ETIAS authorization requires travelers to have their passport, a completed online application, plus a fee of $7. ETIAS visa is expected to be approved for more than 95 percent of applications, which means visa-free travelers have little to worry about as the approval also takes a few minutes.

According to a spokesman for the commission, the ETIAS was established in the summer of 2018 after it was proposed by the European Commission in 2016. The ETIAS will serve as an automated IT system to detect and identify any threat from visa-free travelers going to any of the countries in the Schengen zone. It also makes it easier and faster for cleared travelers to get across the border. The ETIAS is not a visa per se; it is merely an authorization that all visa-exempt travelers must have before they travel.

Obtaining ETIAS Visa for US Citizens

Obtaining an ETIAS does not require going to a consulate to apply or submitting biometric data. It can be applied for online, and it takes a few minutes. It is valid for three years during which the holder can enter the Schengen countries as many times as they want. The ETIAS does not take away the visa-free status of American citizens and other visa-exempt travelers nor will they have to go and apply for a brand new visa for Europe; it will only make it faster for them to cross the Schengen external borders without delay. Travelers seeking ETIAS will also be able to apply online without the help of a travel agency.