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New ETIAS Travel requirements for Americans going to Europe!

Updated September 6, 2019

Americans visiting Europe needs to know about a new program called ETIAS, which are new travel requirements for Europe.

You will soon be faced with a new European travel law that you must comply with. Don’t comply, and you won’t be granted entry into most European countries anymore. It’s as simple as that.

If you are planning that trip to Europe in the future, here’s what you need to know about this new registration requirement:

ETIAS travel requirements for Europe as it applies to Americans

Starting on January 1, 2021, Americans have to register for a pre-entry requirement, before being allowed into countries within the Schengen area countries of Europe.

Named the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) your entries into Europe will be valid for three years at a time. This required registration will set you back €7 (7 Euros), about $8 (8 U.S. Dollars) per person in fees.

Please note, this is strictly a registry requirement you must comply with before you head to Europe. It’s not a VISA-requirement.

What does “countries within the Schengen area Agreement” mean?

The Schengen Area is a zone within Europe made up of 26 European countries.

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The purpose of establishing the Schengen area was to establish one mutual border between the participating 26 European states. For the purpose of travel, the Schengen area acts as one single country with no need to present a passport or other types of border control traveling within the participating countries.

This would be similar to combining i.e. Canada, the U.S., and Mexico as “one zone” for the purpose of traveling within the three countries without the need for a passport or border control.

The European Union (EU)

The European Union is a different entity from Schengen. The EU consists of 28 member countries. It is an economic and political union, to ensure an internal European tariff-free market. It also ensures the free movement of all European citizens to and from the EU countries.

European countries

Not all Schengen countries belong to the EU. Non-EU member countries within the Schengen agreement include Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, San Marino, Monaco, and the Vatican City.

The United Kingdom, soon to exit the EU agreement have already opted out of the Schengen Agreement. The Republic of Ireland has also opted out of the Schengen Agreement.

Requirements for European citizens traveling to the U.S. (ESTA)

Europeans visiting the U.S., however, have already had to deal with a similar system before they could enter the U.S.A.  Ever since 2008, European citizens who wish to visit the U.S. have been required to obtain something called an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

This is a pre-entry requirement by the U.S. Government. An ESTA is valid for two years from issuance, at a cost of $14 per European traveler.

STEP

There is another program called STEP, which is sometimes confused with ETIAS. These are two widely different programs. You can read about STEP here.

There is still time

Since the new requirements don’t go into effect until January 1, 2021, you still have time before you need to think about this additional requirement before you can go to Europe.

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