The Daily Parker

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Trips to Europe will need EU registration starting in 2021

When I first heard this morning that visa-free travel to Europe would end for US citizens in 2021, I was dismayed. I remember how time-consuming it was to get a visa before the visa-waiver program started in the late 1980s. And I figured that the US would retaliate, requiring visas from Europeans, which would essentially destroy tourism between the two regions.

The reality isn't really anything like that. In fact, it merely brings the EU in line with what the US has required of visa-free travelers for years.

Starting in 2021, Americans will simply need to register with the EU equivalent of our Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA:

Currently, US citizens can travel to Europe for up to 90 days without any sort of travel authorization. ETIAS will change that.

Visa-free travelers, including US citizens, will need to request ETIAS authorization before visiting the Schengen Area. They can complete an application and pay a service fee of 7 euros (about $8) online. The authorization is valid for three years.

"Completing the online application should not take more than 10 minutes with automatic approval being given in over 95% of cases," the European Commission said in a statement.

The United States won't be the only country affected by the changes. From 2021, citizens from 60 countries will be required to apply for the ETIAS before entering the Schengen Area. Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Israel and Mauritius are among those countries.

So this should not affect taking a last-minute trip on the Eurostar, or crossing from Northern Ireland into the Republic. And it's fair; we've required ESTA registration from all overseas visitors for many years. I'm annoyed particularly at NPR for getting the details totally wrong in their newscast this morning.

Comments (2) -

  • David Harper

    3/10/2019 7:40:59 AM +00:00 |

    Until a couple of years ago, the US ESTA process required the visitor to answer the same dozen or so questions that were on the old I-94W immigration form that would be handed out during the flight.  Visitors were asked if they had a criminal record, whether they had a communicable disease, whether they had participated in the Nazi regime and so forth.  When I began flying to the US, there was also a question asking whether the visitor had ever been a communist.

    When I renewed my ESTA in 2017, the form was a LOT more intrusive.  I had to provide details about my parents, my employment status, and, optionally (at that time, anyway) a list of my social media accounts.

    I wonder whether the EU version will be equally intrusive.  If Brexit goes ahead, I may well find out myself!

  • The Daily Parker

    3/10/2019 2:29:06 PM +00:00 |

    At least we won't have to go to a consulate to visit, like we did before Visa Waiver in (I think) 1986. That would kill tourism in both directions.

Comments are closed