By the end of 2021, all Americans who wish to travel to a European country in the Schengen Zone will need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System). This falls in line with many other countries which are starting to require a preapproval visa entry process, such as New Zealand, Brazil, & USA, just to name a few. There are 24 other countries that also offer online e-visa applications that can be done before entering as well. The requirements recent change is due to Europe deciding to improve its security level to help combat problems with illegal immigration and terrorism.
The Schengen Area is composed of 22 European Union countries as well as 4 non-EU countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland).
Even short stays in the Schengen zone will require the ETIAS visa waiver. The waiver is a multiple-entry travel authorization with will be valid for a total of 3 years, you will be able to enter any of the Schengen Zone countries as many times as necessary. However, the total stay allowed will still only be 90 days during a 180-day period. If you need to stay longer, you are required to apply for a Schengen visa from an embassy or consulate.
The basic information requested when filling out the ETIAS form will be:
- Name and surname
- Date, place, and country of birth
- Current address
- Contact phone number
- Email address
- Passport number
- Passport issue/expiry date
Basic security questions will be:
- Criminal history
- Employment history
- Drug use
- Human trafficking
- Prior travel to conflict areas
- Past European travel information