Do you need a visa to travel to Europe? The answer, despite years of officials telling you otherwise? Still no.
For the uninitiated, in 2019 it was announced that, starting January 1, 2021, U.S. citizens traveling to European Union countries would need to obtain a visa before travel. Yet, just this week, it was revealed that — not for the first time — the implementation of the new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) would once again be delayed.
Per the official website of ETIAS, the program has been pushed back to 2024 at the earliest, though it doesn’t specify a reason for the delay.
What this means is that, at least for the time being, passport-holding Americans can still travel to any of the 30 countries in the Schengen Area without a visa. So if a visa application is enough to deter you from traveling? You better plan a trip while you can. That said, when it does go into effect, all you’ll have to do is answer a handful of questions, pay an online fee of seven euro, wait roughly 96 hours and voilà. In other words, it’s not that serious.
The UK Is Implementing a Fee and Application Process for US VisitorsThe UK ETA will be an online form and fee for almost all travelers by 2024.
The visa in question is not dissimilar to the electronic travel authorization that the United States requires for visitors. It’s meant to increase security by allowing officials to screen passengers before they land in Europe (and presumably bring in some extra cash flow). To be eligible, you’ll need a passport valid three months beyond the period of intended stay, a credit or debit card, and an email account.
On a positive note, the visa will be valid for three years and multiple entries (in multiple countries), so you won’t have to apply for every trip you take to the European Union.
Either way, you don’t have to worry about it until 2024. Or, at this rate, maybe ever.
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