+1 (212) 918 4940
Karin Wolman: New York Immigration Lawyer

Pre-Authorization To Be Required for Americans Going to Europe

March 17, 2019

As of January 1, 2021, U.S. citizens traveling to Europe will have to obtain electronic pre-authorization to visit  European countries in the Schengen area, except for the United Kingdom.

ETIAS, the European Travel Information and Authorization System, is not a visa, but an online visa-waiver system. It will be required for U.S.-passport-holders traveling to 26 European countries.  ETIAS member countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden & Switzerland. (Croatia recently joined the EU and is not yet a Schengen member, but it may become one by the time ETIAS goes into effect). Of the participating countries, 22 are EU members and 4 are members of the European Free Trade Area.

Procedurally, ETIAS will be quite like ESTA, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which has been required for citizens of 38 countries seeking to visit the United States since January 2010, and enforced via fines on airlines, which must check passengers’ travel authorization prior to boarding. The U.S. started charging individual applicants a fee of $14.00 for ESTA registration in 2014. An ESTA registration is valid for two years, and allows travelers to visit the U.S. without a visa for up to 90 days, but prohibits any change of status or extension of stay, and every traveler waives the right to appear before an immigration judge. Now ESTA has come home to roost, and Americans will get a similar treatment when traveling to European destinations. Beginning in 2021, the ETIAS registration requirement will apply to all U.S. travelers, including minors.

U.S. travelers applying for ETIAS will have to register online in advance of travel, and will need a passport valid for at least three months past the period of intended stay, a valid email address, and a credit or debit card.

The application will require registrants to provide full name, date and place of birth, current physical address of permanent residence, phone number, parents’ information, passport and nationality, as well as questions relating to drug use, terrorism, human trafficking, criminal history, travel to conflict areas, employment history, security, pubic health, and past European travel data.

Applications will be checked against Europol/Interpol and other databases. An ETIAS travel authorization will be valid for 3 years and multiple entries.


Blog Archive