• Lynn Lundstrom Belles

Do I need a Visa to Travel to Europe?

Updated: Oct 28

Do I need a Visa to Travel to Europe?

Overview You may have read in the national news media that beginning January 1, 2021, Americans will need a visa for any travel to Europe. This is not factually accurate. Americans will have to complete a pre-screening online application, not a visa, in order to enterthe “Schengen Area”. At this time no official statements from the U.S. State Department have been released.

What will be required in 2021?

American travelers visiting European countries in the Schengen Area will have to register through a system called the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). This electronictraveler registration is not a visa it is a traveler pre-screening program, similar to the ESTA Program currently in place for inbound travel to the United States. The main goal of ETIAS visa waivers for Europe is to “identify possible threats or risks associatedwith visitors traveling to any of the Schengen Area countries”.

What will the visa process look like?

Travelers will need to complete an online application via a dedicated website or mobile device and pay an approximately $8 USD fee. The application should take no more than 10minutes to complete and will only require passport or other travel document information. The Commission estimates that 95% of applicants will receive a positive answer within a few minutes. Once approved, ETIAS visa waivers are valid for a three-year period.

What is the Schengen Area?

The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The countries consist of: Austria,Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Do I need a Visa to Travel to Europe?  NO.  But you will need to PLAN ahead and fill out the application.  AND, if there are any “skeletons” in your closet (ie:  you are one of the 5% that are not approved on the spot) you will need to allow adequate time for processing.

Content Provided by:  Rachel Shapiro Public Relations & Corporate Communications Manager (CRUISEONE, DREAM VACATIONS, CRUISES INC.) A Division of World Travel Holdings

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