From 2021 United States citizens will require a visa to visit Europe, reports CNN. The European Union stated on Friday that American tourists thinking of coming to any of the member countries will need, as of 2021, a new type of visa, named a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) for entry into the Schengen region.
Up until now US citizens haven’t required a visa for EU countries, and were free to stay up to 90 days without any visa. In two years’ time these visa-free days will be a thing of the past. From 2021 a visa will be required for the 26 EU countries inside the Schengen area, Croatia is still outside of this border-free system but plans to enter in the next few years.
This new ETIAS visa for Americans will, once issued, be valid for three years and allow US citizens to enter countries in the Schengen area as often as they like. And to apply for this new visa US tourists will need a valid passport, an email account and a credit or debit card. In June 2018, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Commission imposing visas on US citizens.
According to the European Union website the new visa has been brought in “to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism.” However, the new visa regime is also being seen by some political analysts as a response to the US still refusing visa-free travel to certain European Union members. Currently citizens of five EU countries, Croatia, Poland, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria, must apply for a travel visa before heading across the Atlantic. The EU have been pushing for visa-free travel for all their citizens for a few years, but so far these calls have fallen on death ears.