At the moment, US citizens and Canadians have easily been able to travel to twenty-six different countries within the European Union without obtaining a visa, due to the Schengen Agreement. There was one rule for these visa free visits, and it was that no one could stay for more than three months at a time.
Travelers loved not having to apply and be approved for visas, as it made their travel planning much easier. All they needed to do was make sure that their passport would be valid for at least six months after their return date and they were good to go.
However, as with many good things, this agreement for US citizens and Canadians is going to be changing beginning July 21, 2021. Travelers who choose to travel to any of the Schengen member countries will need to apply for approval to enter those countries if they will be going there for tourism, business, medical, or transit reasons.
This approval will not be in visa form but will be part of the European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS, for short. These European countries have chosen this type of security check, so that they can address terrorist concerns that are popping up everywhere, while also increasing their profits.
If you are planning a trip to any of the Schengen countries after the date mentioned above, you will be required to have authorization before your departure.
Here are the 4 steps that you will need to take to get approval and authorization:
– The ETIAS application will be available online and it should not take you longer than ten minutes to fill it out.
– As you are filling out the form online, you will be asked for three types of information. That information includes a valid passport that has an expiration date that is at least three months after your return date, your credit or debit card, and your email address.
– You must fill out your ETIAS application at least ninety-six hours before your departure time.
– You will then submit your ETIAS application and wait to be approved.
Everyone who is traveling with you must have ETIAS approval or they will not be allowed into the country. Therefore, you will need to fill out ETIAS applications for any infants and children that are traveling with you.
The cost for the ETIAS application is seven Euros per person, but that fee is waived for anyone who is under the age of eighteen. You must make this payment online with either a debit or credit card.
Once your application is received, your information will be checked against a large number of security databases, as well as the ETIAS watchlist. You will receive your approval or denial via email and all denials will give you a reason as to why. You may appeal a denial, but it will take some time.
The good news about this new authorization system is that once you apply and get approved, your authorization will be valid for as many entries as you would like over a three-year period of time.
When you receive approval for your trip, you will be ready to finish packing and can head to the airport on the day of your departure. Your ETIAS approval will be verified prior to you boarding a plane, boat, or bus, and it will be verified once again when you arrive at your destination.
While you, and many other travelers, may think that this new requirement is going to be a pain, it is really a simple process that doesn’t take much time and will only need to be completed every three years. That shouldn’t be too much trouble, so you can continue to travel to Europe without any worries for a very long time.