More Info About What You’ll Soon Need To Do Before Traveling To Europe As A U.S. Citizen

by SharonKurheg

U.S. citizens traveling to Europe will soon have to apply to enter several European countries.

We had reported a while back that although no visa is currently needed for U.S. citizens to visit Europe, a new system was in the works for citizens of over five dozen countries around the world. And now more details are available for those from the U.S.

Effective January 1, 2021, all Americans traveling to a European Schengen-zone country will be in need of an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa waiver. These countries include:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Similar to other countries and regions in the world, Europe has recently decided to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism. Hence the newly developed ETIAS visa waiver.

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To obtain the Europe visa waiver for Americans, US citizens age 18 and over will need to have a valid passport (that must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the period intended to stay), a credit or debit card and an email account. They’ll need to complete an online ETIAS registration (which is said to be a quick and simple process) with their their contact details and passport information, as well as answer some basic security questions regarding topics such as:

  • Drug use
  • Terrorism
  • Human trafficking
  • Travel to conflict areas
  • Criminal history
  • Employment history
  • Past European travel information
  • Security information

With this, the European immigration and customs authorities will be able to  to pre-screen all travelers and confirm their status before allowing them entry into the country  (or even to board a flight).

Other restrictions and regulations that are similar to ones already on the books, regarding carrying weapons, importing and exporting large quantities of tobacco, alcohol or perfume, and declaring large amounts of currency will also be in place.

The ETIAS application is not yet online.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


robert burns (@rjburnsva) February 27, 2019 - 7:03 pm

“Similar to other countries and regions in the world, Europe has recently decided to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism. Hence the newly developed ETIAS visa.”

This is racist and immoral. There is no problem with illegal immigration. In fact, the US Congress DEMANDS that we have an open Southern border with no restrictions. Credit card? Email account? What the hell. If you get one foot in the USA, we will give you free healthcare, free housing, free food and cash. What is wrong with the Europeans?

SharonKurheg February 27, 2019 - 10:42 pm

I never wrote about anything the least bit political; not sure why you did.

That set aside, this will just add to the long list of countries that require U.S. citizens to have visas to enter their country. Frankly, it’s not a huge deal to me. YMMV.

That set aside,

Anette Menke March 6, 2019 - 2:22 pm

It is similar to the ESTA process the USA requires from all people who want to travel to the US… And this system exists for a long time… Please take a broader look into the world around you….

SharonKurheg March 6, 2019 - 2:26 pm

Thanks for writing! ETIAS will indeed be new for people from the U.S. who will want to travel to Europe. If I made the article sound as if it was anything more than that, it was unintentional.

MissVacation February 27, 2019 - 7:33 pm

How much is the fee?

SharonKurheg February 27, 2019 - 10:44 pm

Sorry, but I don’t remember, TBH. I think it’s on their website, and included their link in my post. I always figure something like that can change so it’s better for people to check for themselves. 😉

Billy Bob February 27, 2019 - 7:38 pm

You should see this for exactly what it is: a money-grab. Go ahead and try to transit through Vancouver for even a 45-minute layover before your outbound international flight: you’ll need to fork over $7. The Australians have been doing it for $15 years, the Americans got into the game a little late but they too steal money. And now the Europeans, with all their new, broke, and benefit-loving-baby-making-work-averse immigrants, are lurking in the shadows, looking to rob the unwary. They are mingling in with the tourists, looking for an unattended wallet or purse… ready to make their move. Looking for victims.

Greedy people have fancy names for it. They can call it Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) (with fancy capitalization too), European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), ESTA, etc. but everyone should see this for what it is:

You have money.
They want some.
They’ll coerce it out of you.
Don’t pay? Something worse is coming your way.

The mugger operates in the same way. The armed robber confronts you similarly. You are just a cow to be milked, a sheep to be fleeced. They’ll take it from you in person or electronically, and they’d like to do it with every breath you draw, every dime you spend they’ll take a cut.

SharonKurheg February 27, 2019 - 10:46 pm

OK, sounds good. As I see it, it is what it is and if I want to visit those countries, I have to pay the fee, just as others have to pay the fee to visit the USA. I’ll pay it and I’ll deal 😉

Anette Menke March 13, 2019 - 1:02 pm

Wow, this is really a low blow… I don’t even know where to start… As I said earlier, the USA requires this kind of authorization for many years now.. Online payment included, a lot of personal questions and waiting for an approval to enter the country. There is no difference in what Europe is doing and has jothing to do with any of your rude Comme ts and wrong information.

SharonKurheg March 13, 2019 - 1:17 pm

Hi Anette! You are absolutely right – the United States has required ESTA from many countries for several years. However, although people form the U.S. have had to fill out visas for some countries for some time (Australia and Cuba come to mind), ETIAS will be the first time they’ll have to get this kind of authorization to enter Europe. Whether the processes will be the same or different, and to what extent, has yet to be seen since they aren’t accepting ETIAS applications to be processed yet, but there is one difference right now in that it’s a process that’s several years old for Europeans and brand new for Americans.

Kaylee Redpath February 27, 2019 - 9:03 pm


USBusinessTraveller February 27, 2019 - 11:19 pm

It’s essentially the same as the US ESTA and Canadian eTA. Nationals of countries in the US Visa Waiver Program have to pay for an ESTA and so this is essentially the same thing, which Americans and Canadians will have to pay for.

SharonKurheg February 27, 2019 - 11:22 pm

Absolutely. There are already citizens of dozens of countries who require visa to enter these countries. The U.S. (and the U.K., for that matter) are just the latest additions.

DaninMCI February 28, 2019 - 6:44 am

It’s all about the money and my guess is that this is a bit about being bitter about Brexit. I could support the idea of this being about security if it was free but in reality it’s a cash grab. I’d be shocked if tourism folks in Europe support this idea. We didn’t need a visa to come to Europe in WWI or WWII so I find that ironic as well.

SharonKurheg February 28, 2019 - 7:52 am

I have no doubt. However my feeling is we already pay to get visas to how many countries? Why not these? Goes right up there with resort fees…”it is what it is” and if I still want to go to Europe, I’ll pay the fee for the visa, just like the citizens of some countries have to pay for one to visit here.

Gianni February 28, 2019 - 9:34 am

Come in legally, temporarily, and via air and they charge you for a BS visa for “security.” Come in illegally, on foot, and en masse from areas teeming with terrorists and not only do they waive you in for free, they give you a bunch of freebies on the taxpayer dime.

SharonKurheg February 28, 2019 - 9:36 am

Ummm…my post had nothing to do with politics, so…

Getting back on topic…

Will the visa affect you? Do you have any plans to go to Europe in the future?

Ogi March 6, 2019 - 9:15 am

This is not a visa. This is an electronic travel pre-authorization the US, Canada, and especially Australia have been requiring for years and years. This explicitly doesn’t qualify as a visa according to the US (which is why Australia that had this system the longest, much before US’S ESTA, wasn’t required a US visa). Whoever calls this a visa doesn’t know what a visa is and how nasty and cumbersome it can be to obtain one.

SharonKurheg March 6, 2019 - 9:22 am

Thank you for that. The ETIAS website is calling ETIAS a visa, so I went by that.

Jorn H March 6, 2019 - 10:03 am

Finally the Americans are being treated the same way, they have been treating the Europeans for years since the intro of ESTA.

SharonKurheg March 6, 2019 - 10:07 am

LOL, you make it sound like a tit-for-tat. I don’t think it is, especially since citizens of dozens of countries, including those in the UK, are going to have to get ETIAS visas to enter Europe. It’s not just the USA 😉

Ruf450 March 6, 2019 - 1:38 pm

It may sound like tit-for-tat, but it isnt. Its a safety measure same as the US-ESTA program which is in force for many years. It simply is an electronic pre-clearance, NOT a Visa.
If you want to see, what citizens of a large number of countries (all those in the Visa Waiver Program) had to do to obtain a US-ESTA, I suggest you visit the website of the Department of Homeland Security at
And yes, an email address and credit card is requireed and the ESTA is valid for 2 years only, then, you have to renew it. It costs USD14

So, when you look at it, the new European program looks like a copy of ESTA.
Have a nice day

SharonKurheg March 6, 2019 - 1:41 pm

The ETIAS website is calling it a visa. I’ll go by that.

It’s all a moot point though – it is what it is. If I want to visit Europe again after 2021, I’ll have to pay a few dollars to do so. It’s not a big deal.

ORDguy73 March 13, 2019 - 12:41 pm

TONS of media outlets are issuing a correction that this is NOT in fact a visa. And after all the venom the author hurled at anyone who suggested this wasn’t a visa….will she retract and correct? Never before have I seen such snarky rudeness from a blogger.

SharonKurheg March 13, 2019 - 12:51 pm

Thank you for your follow up, ORDguy73!

As of this writing the ETIAS website is calling ETIAS a visa. ETIAS’ website’s URL is



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