Numerous news agencies are currently reporting on the European Union Announcement from last year creating a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). The United States currently uses the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and this new European Union program would be similar to the United States program. The ETIAS is in the process of further development for future implementation.
Starting in 2021, ETIAS will require that U.S. Citizens traveling to the Schengen Area will need to apply for and receive ETIAS in order to travel into the following countries in Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
Visa Exempt third-country nationals over the age of 18 will need to complete an online application that requests background information on the applicant and pay an application fee. The application will be checked against security databases and most responses are anticipated within a matter of minutes. ETIAS will be valid for 5 years or until the expiry date of the person’s travel document/passport. Carriers will check for ETIAS authorization prior to boarding for people traveling by air, land and sea. Please note that this is for visa free travel and will impact a number of other nations in addition to the United States.