Back in March of 2017, we reported on some bad news for Americans who enjoy traveling abroad. The European Parliament, the elected legislative body of the European Union, was considering a new policy that would require Americans to obtain travel visas before visiting any of the EU’s 28 member nations. These required visas were considered a “tit-for-tat” move in response to U.S. President Trump’s requiring visas from several EU members.
Now, sadly for those Americans looking to head to Europe, it appears that new shift in policy is moving forward.
Starting in 2021, Americans will be forced to obtain required visas to visit Europe. Until then, the current policy stands — that unless you’ll be in Europe for more than 90 days, there are no required visas.
Naturally, no one is particularly excited about an additional step in the process of booking travel, nor about an additional expense when overseas travel can already be fairly expensive.
But now, the good news (or not-so-bad news) about these required visas:
- These new visas, called ETIAS permits (European Travel Information and Authorization System), can be applied for and paid for online. Some are actually referring to these ‘Europe visas’ as “not regular visas” because there’s not much to them. No in-person interview or background check will be required.
- Also, once you’ve obtained a visa for your Europe trip, it’s good for three years.
- Since the United Kingdom is on its way out of the EU, there will be no required visas for Americans traveling to the U.K.
- Most importantly, the procedure for these newly required visas are expected to cost only €7 — that’s about $8 — and it’s being said that 95% of people who apply for them will be approved in minutes. (If you’re not instantly approved, you’ll then need to provide documents to appeal your rejection for the required visas.)
Back in 2017, EU officials said they’d rather resolve the entire issue of required visas diplomatically with the U.S. government. But as we found out last Friday, that unfortunately didn’t happen.
Change is never fun, but luckily the new protocol of visas for American travel to Europe isn’t all that bad. It’s more a minor inconvenience than a roadblock to international travel.