On Saturday, the State Department tweeted about a big change to European travel policy that will affect all Americans starting in 2021: the implementation of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). The ETIAS was written into law in 2016 as a way to bring an additional layer of security to the region. While it won’t affect your travel plans this year or next, starting on January 1, 2021, it will require registration on the part of all non-visa travelers to most European Union countries (including Americans, Canadians and Australians).
Authorization “is not a visa” but as Travel + Leisure writes, it will be mandatory if you plan to travel to a country within the “26 countries in the Schengen Zone, including France, Germany and Italy.” The fee to apply will be €7 per person between ages 18 and 70, and as per the official fact sheet, “the vast majority of applicants (expected to be more than 95% of all cases) will be given automated approval.”
One nice thing: Unlike a visa, writes T + L, “the authorization will be valid for three years” and “it will be valid for multiple entries.” If you travel often to Europe, you won’t have to worry about getting ETIAS authorization before every single trip.
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