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New EU travel requirements for American Visitors

Starting in 2021, American visitors will no longer be able to travel to Europe for a quick visit without completing preauthorization paperwork. But they still won’t need a visa.

The EU’s new requirements that were first announced last year will require American visitors and other visa-free travelers to the EU to first obtain a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) registration. It’s not a full visa application, but a short online application that should cost 7 euros (about $8). It does require a valid passport, email account, and a credit or debit card, the EU says.

The authorization will last for three years and allows Americans to enter the Schengen Area as many times as necessary during that period.

Some applicants could be rejected, but the EU expects 95 percent of people will be automatically approved — so still a slight shift from the current travel policies, but a less significant one.

Explaining the new requirement, the European Union cited the desire “to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism.” However, the creation of the ETIAS visa comes after the United States has declined to allow travel freedom for all EU members.

According to CNN, the United States currently requires citizens from Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania, and Cyprus to obtain similar preauthorization to enter the country. These are the only EU members that have a screening requirement for US travel. The US and the EU quarreled over this policy in recent years, with the European Commission releasing a report in 2016 requesting that the US grant visa-free travel to these five countries per EU equal-treatment requirements.

The European Commission’s statement is here. Additional details can found at this link.

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