Europe welcomes thousands of visitors and tourists from all around the globe. The European countries are well known for having the best museums, fancy restaurants, magnificent beaches and soaring architecture. These are probably some of the major reasons why so many travellers are visiting Europe, most notably from the US.

Typically, people from the US do not need any kind of visa to visit most countries and this includes the European countries. However, the waves are set to change starting from the year 2021. There is a new system that has been introduced. This system is referred to as European Travel Information and Authorization (ETIAS).

Before the introduction of this new system, people from countries that are not members of the European Union were allowed to go in the Schengen zones even without visas. For this reasons, US citizens could easily enter European countries without visas if their sole purpose was business or tourism. They were given a time frame of 90 days.

The recent developments were put in place following rampant insecurity as a result of terrorism and so many illegal immigrants getting into the region. In this article, I will give further details about ETIAS.

What exactly is ETIAS?

ETIAS is generally an electronic system that is used to identify and keep track of all people getting into the Schengen zone from countries that currently don’t need visas. This applies to traveller from the US. As a matter of fact, this system is more or less similar to the one in US, Electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA).
Before any traveller even enters Europe, the ETIAS will conduct a thorough security check on the person. They will only be granted entry after everything has been verified and there are no threats detected. There is no need to apply for a travel visa because this system does a great job of checking for security and other vital information.

In addition, ETIAS will not just be used for business purposes and tourism. It will also be used for people travelling to Europe for medical reasons and transit. All countries that are allowed in the Schengen zone without visas must apply for the ETIAS.

Is ETIAS a visa?

This is not a visa and US travellers are not required to go and apply for a visa. All they have to do is conduct an online application and wait to receive travel authorization from ETIAS.

All US citizens seeking to travel to Europe will be allowed to do so without the need of a visa. They only have to fill out the application form and receive travel permission. Considering how long it takes to apply for a visa, this system is faster and will only take you a few minutes to complete the entire process.

What are the requirements for Americans?

Every US citizen travelling to Europe will have to obtain the ETIAS travel waiver. The requirements are really few and this makes it easy for all. You must have a valid passport, your email address and either a debit or credit card. The debit and credit cards are required for the payment of a non-refundable fee. All travellers have to meet the requirements during the application. Otherwise, the application will definitely not be accepted.
In addition, the passport has to be valid for at least 3 months past the period of stay. In case the passport expires first, you will be required to leave that particular European country. It is therefore important that you ensure your passport is up to date if you intend to travel to Europe.

The ETIAS visa waiver has to be paid for and this is the only fee. You will not have to pay for some other charges. Other application details include your personal phone number, the mail address of your permanent residency and of course the email address. The email address is specifically important because that’s where they will send you a confirmation message.

How can Americans apply for ETIAS travel authorization?

This is one of the easiest and fastest applications. It is done online and will not take you more than 10 minutes. What you have to do is visit the ETIAS website and fill in the application form with all the necessary details. These will include your contacts, passport details, information about your citizenship and some security or background questions.

Payment is done through a safe online platform and is quick. Once you have already paid and filled every detail in the form, the entire application process is complete. You will have to wait for a few hours to receive a confirmation email. After an approval, you are now ready for travelling to Europe.

Will I have to reapply every time am visiting Europe?

The best part about this system is that you won’t have to keep applying each time you are visiting Europe. Your first application grants you an ETIAS visa waiver that is valid for as long as 3 years.
You can visit any of the Schengen zones as many times as you wish as long as you have travel authorization from ETIAS. When visiting for business, tourism or medical purposes you can stay for at least 3 months. The visa waiver can be used for 3 years, however if the passport expires before this period is over then it automatically becomes invalid.

What happens if my ETIAS application is not accepted?

Once you have filled out all the necessary information in the form, paid and submitted it, the application will be processed immediately. It will take a few hours before you receive a notification emails. If all is well, then your application will go through and you will be granted access to the ETIAS visa waiver.

However, there are instances where the application may be denied. They will send you a message explaining why your application was not considered. Sometimes the reason may be because you did not fill in the correct information. You can always do the necessary adjustments and apply once again.

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