US Citizens Will Need Visas To Visit The EU Starting In 2021

Filed Under: Travel

In early 2017 I wrote about how the European Parliament was considering adding a visa requirement for US citizens visiting European Union countries. At the time it didn’t actually pass, but it looks like it’s finally happening now.

As of January 1, 2021, US citizens traveling to European Union countries will be required to obtain a visa prior to travel.

Now, don’t get too worried. You’re not going to have to go to a consulate, or anything, but rather you’re just going to have to fill out a quick form online, pay some amount of money, and hopefully be approved within a few days.

US citizens will be required to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa. This is similar to the electronic travel authorization that the US requires for visitors from many countries.

In order to obtain an ETIAS, US citizens will be required to have a valid passport, a credit or debit card, and an email account.

When applying, your passport must be valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay. The good news is that once issued, the visa will be valid for three years and multiple entries, so this isn’t something you’ll have to get every time you travel to the European Union.

The reason for this change is to increase security, and to be able to screen travelers long before they actually travel to Europe. At the same time, I imagine there’s some desire for reciprocity here, and I also imagine the government thinks this will generate extra revenue, and doesn’t mind that. 😉

In general I’m opposed to countries making it harder to visit, whether we’re talking about the time or money required to get a visa. Virtually every study shows that requiring a visa decreases the number of travelers.

However, this really is the best case scenario as far as requiring a visa goes. It can be obtained online, and it will be valid for three years and multiple entries.

I’d note that while this is now “official,” there’s always a chance that the plan for this changes, or that the implementation is delayed. I guess we’ll see.

What do you make of the EU soon requiring US citizens to get visas to visit?

  1. This would basically be a standard reciprocity action. US could probably have dropped ESTA for Schengen passports, but..

  2. Finally! ESTA is such a joke for EUropeans travelling to the US. It’s more than fair that US citizens face the same circus.

  3. The way you say it makes it sound horrible, however the US has required it for years, along with Canada, and I think Australia, there hasn’t been a reduction in visits to those countries. Also it isn’t really a visa in the sense it is just a travel authorisation

  4. Don’t see any issues with that. It’s super easy to obtain and increases security/border screening possibilities. As a German (or EU member for that matter) I have to do ESTA, too and no one complains.

  5. @ Callum — The way I say it makes it sound horrible? Really? “However, this really is the best case scenario as far as requiring a visa goes. It can be obtained online, and it will be valid for three years and multiple entries.”

  6. @Mitch Cumstein – Yes, UK Citizens will require the service. It’s pretty much like ESTA in all respects.

    Allegedly, 52% of the nation is happy with thast

  7. I did my first ESTA in 2016 and just did another one in 2019. It took literally hours for the approval and the government has some extra infos about myself. I have absolutely no issue with that. ETIAS on the other hand looks even more generous because as per what I have understood the multiple visa will be valid for 3 years. ESTA it’s just two. Will this decrease turism? I don’t think so. I am not bothered to give up my travel plan to US for ESTA so I guess US citizens won’t be as well for ETIAS since it’s an online application.

  8. Good!

    I do get annoyed at the number of American who moan about immigration at Heathrow. Maybe they should try being an EU citizen disembarking a flight from Heathrow at JFK T4 and see how their process is hardly perfect and they have no right to finger point.

  9. So I went into ETIAS site and read the following:

    ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a completely electronic system which allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. In a way, it resembles the U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose. The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS have started in 2016, and the system is expected to be in place by 2021.

    In other words it’s not a visa and it says clearly it resembles the equivalent to the ESTA and it will not be applicable solely to US citizens but to all those passport enjoying visa weaver. So it is not a visa. It’s important to make the title straight please.

  10. They need to implement the travel authorization so that there are no instant approvals, like ESTA. That means the hicktown hoes from Hattiesburg, Mississippi and other similar trashtowns will be denied boarding when checking in for their trip of a decade. Delicious!

  11. For everyone moaning about the headline (and whether this is a visa), the ETIAS website says the following: US citizens traveling to Europe will shortly need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa which is the new travel visa to visit Europe that will come into effect from 2021.

    Sure seems like they’re calling it a visa.

    @Lucky – elsewhere on the site it mentions “by the end of 2021” to be fully operational – is the Jan 1 date an assumption or something which is communicated somewhere?

    Also, as to the cost – I’ve seen it quoted at EUR 7 on some other sites covering this – not sure the source for that number.

  12. Smart move for security. Experts say Americans without credit cards and an email address are usually up to no good.

  13. @baqa – you trying to bring intelligent discourse with a proper citation to an online bitchfest?

  14. I suspect this is more about tracking Schengen months more carefully than reciprocity. Won’t be as easy to avoid by leaving through more…lax…jurisdictions.

  15. These sorts of things never make money, whatever costs are covered by the fees they are more than outweighed by the extra administrative costs and bureaucratic bloat

  16. Hi, having worked on this piece of legislation I can clarify a couple of things. Firstly, it is intended to be more or less the same as the US ESTA and Canadian ETA. The fee will be €7 (and it won’t make any money for any governments – I don’t know which government Ben is referring to in his post).

    It is a visa-waiver and will be applied to citizens of countries not in the EU (yes, that includes the UK – although, with current state of the negotiations on giving UK citizens visa-free access to EU post-Brexit, who knows where that will end up) whose nationals will not require a visa to travel the EU.

    It’s an additional layer of security screening, in theory should be a quick process (similar again to ESTA/ETA), and while some inspiration may of course have come from US/Canadian systems for (most) EU travellers, it is not, nor should it be confused with, the previous disagreement on visa reciprocity.

    The previous disagreement had to do with EU citizens from some non-Schengen countries (Bulgaria, Romania) requiring a full visa to visit the US as opposed to the visa-waiver ESTA. In short, it goes against EU internal law with regards to discrimination against EU citizens, which is why there was a fuss, and why it still rumbles in the background.

    The ETIAS is completely different and these two issues should not be confused.

  17. All I can say is, about time It should always be reciprocal. We have to apply for an ESTA.

  18. Ben, you do make it sound horrible! That’s because youre are using the wrong term “visa” to it. It may not be important for you – being a US and EU citizen as well – but the EU’s ETIAS, as well as the US’ ESTA, are technically no visas! From ESTA I know that it’s called “Visa Waiver Program” – so to put it correctly, you only need an ESTA approval INSTEAD of needing a visa! ETIAS will be the same in another color then… (“das selbe in grün”, as we say in German…)

    To put the title of your article into the correct light: US citizens already ned visas to visit the EU – if they intend to stay longer than 90 days, to study, to work or …

  19. This headline is misleading. Why wasn’t it described as a electronic travel authorisation? These are already required for entry into the USA, Australia, Canada… in fact, many travellers to the EU have had it easy ever since they introduced an exemption from the Schengen Visa many years ago. So this is reciprocation.

  20. Rob

    Lots of older people don’t have email or credit cards.

    Poor people too although they are likely not going to Europe anyway

  21. @baqa
    I doubt that the site you are quoting is an “official” ETIAS site… There are already lots of sites that offer services around ETIAS. It’s like with ESTA, where you can apply directly on the official ESTA Website for 14$ (I think) and many other sites which try to give you the feeling of an official website (or that they would minimize your effort) but charge more for basically the same.

  22. Just another hoop to jump through. Can’t see it effecting tourist numbers but def will cause some frustrations to start. I’m sure most countries will wa t to move to a process where they can screen visitors before entering the country. Maybe this is going to be something we see more and more, but I hope not.

  23. I was wondering when the EU was going to mirror US policy. It’s one extra layer of security which I can appreciate and understand. On the their site, it’s 7 euros and anyone under 18 doesn’t have to pay so that’s fine and it’s good for 3 years. It’s more of an annoyance than anything else but if it protects them that’s fine.

  24. I was worried when I saw that the EU was requiring visas, but seeing that it looks like it’s going to be similar to the one that Australia requires for US travelers, I don’t mind.

  25. Chris is spot on.

    I’ve seen other articles on travel sites and here saying US citizens will be required visas. This is like ESTA. EU citizens of Bulgarians and Romanians NEED US visa, see the difference? Also, all other countries outside EU that have visa free with EU will also fall under ETIAS, not just US. Clearly this has nothing to do with retaliation with US-EU visa reciprocity, it is to identify potential security issues before people arrive into EU for countries that can enter EU visa free, like ESTA coming to US.

  26. It’s about time the EU start charging Americans. It is not fair for Europeans to have to get an ESTA and not charge the Americans anything. I am very fortunate to hold both a EU and US passport.

  27. How does this affect those with dual nationality when enter API, US citizens are required to leave on their US passport, however, they can enter the E.U. on their E.U. Passports. API is generally not changeable for passengers on the itinerary. So what do we do Ben?

  28. What will happen to Non EU Schengen countries such as Iceland and Switzerland? If you fly into those first, as those are considered the first point of entry into Europe, can you avoid ETIAS?

  29. Frankly, I think the EU now imagines that US citizens are increasingly a security risk, and I don’t blame it.

  30. Awesome, another line I’ve got to wait in to allow me to visit members of my own species across artificially conceived borders.

  31. @JDS

    Heathrow is much worse than major US destinations and other UK/EU ports of entry / transit hubs. Situation has deteriorated over the years due to increase in traffic and decrease in resources (booths operating at peak times) coupled with a bizarre (almost comedic) work ethic by immigration officers who are constantly chatting, joking or leaving their booths after short intervals. Even the priority lane is absurdly slow. I have witnessed this on recent trips.

  32. US requires EU guests to do an ESTA, so fair is fair. Not happy about it but paybacks are tough.

  33. Well what is the difference between europe and trump? pretty much nothing. they would like to increase border security but everyone back home will go crazy if trump is doing something like this.

  34. While I’m not thrilled about the extra hurdle, I’m glad the EU is standing up for Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia and the visa requirement for their citizens. And there’s a bright side – maybe Ma and Pa Kettle will rethink their trip and head down to that all-inclusive in Mexico instead!

  35. €7 is the reported cost for whomever asked.

    I’d imagine we here in Ireland will opt out of it.

  36. Those labeling this post as clickbait need to learn the definition. There may be minor mistakes in the specifics (US citizens will need to apply for a visa waiver, which isn’t the same as a visa), but the point remains that what is today a no-advance-action-needed process will no longer be one.

  37. So, the next time Canadian and American soldiers have to cross the pond to save the Europeans from themselves….will we need to apply for this visa waiver first?

  38. Sorry to pile on, but I do agree that you need to change the wording, here… this is NOT a “visa.” Especially because for a country to have visa-waiver status with the US, there must be reciprocity. While you might conflate e-visa schemes with the ESTA-type information systems, there is a huge legal and diplomatic difference.

  39. It’s worth pointing out that an ETIAS will be required for citizens of 61 different countries including Canada, Australia, Japan, etc., so this is by no means targeted at Americans.

    Hopefully the ETIAS will allow them to expand the use of e-gates for non-EU citizens. It would be well worth the €7 just to avoid standing in line at immigration.

  40. The only way this doesn’t come into force for Americans would be if EU nationals got ESTA reciprocity. Since that’s pretty unlikely under the current US administration, plan on it happening.

  41. Honestly I can’t understand why ETIAS for some people is such a fuss. I have done my ESTA less than two weeks back and it took a couple of hours to get my approvals and I’m good for two years. I have nothing to hide and actually I am happy that the US screens people before crossing the border. For the same reason I am happy for Schengen to implement a similar screening. It’s not a visa. It’s a security screening. ESTA expires in two years and ETIAS as per what I understood it’s 3 years. I’m not at all worried about ESTA so I can’t see why countries enjoying visa weaver should worry about ETIAS. Really don’t understand.

  42. This is NOT a visa – it is a travel authorisation, the same way ESTA is for travel to the US. The decision on whether passengers are allowed to enter remains for immigration. It’s important to note this only applies to the Schengen area.

    Countries in the Schengen area 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 and Switzerland.

  43. WOW — so I’ve just scanned 60 or so comments asserting the post is click-bait and arguing whether the document that now needs to be obtained is a visa.
    The post is significant (irrespective of the headline) in that I just learned that US travelers to Europe will shortly need to spend some time and money (albeit not much of either) prior to departure — something they did not have to do before. That is newsworthy regardless of whether it’s or a visa waiver or whatever else you might want to call it.

  44. EU is running to the bottom like AA, and it’s all about collecting money (fees). Nothing to do with security bullshit!

  45. @Neil +1

    I know this sounds crazy to the readers of this blog, but my parents actually have friends who have neither credit cards and/or internet (thus an email account) and travel. A bit more trouble for them but not insurmountable.

  46. Andy and Arcanum, get’s it. People are calling it a visa, it’s not. It is a travel authorization like ESTA, ETA, eTA, etc.. for countries that are visa exempt. It’s also not a retaliation since all visa exempt countries, including US, will have to go through ETIAS.

    Look at the official press release from EU Commission official website. It specifically states that ETIAS is not a visa.

    gooogle search “Security Union: Commission welcomes the European Parliament’s adoption of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and a stronger eu-LISA Agency”

  47. if it walks like a visa and quacks like a visa, it is a visa, even if it smells like a rose.
    If anyone can explain how a travel authorization and a visa are operationally different, I would love to hear it.

  48. Hi Lucky- any news regarding your announcement in January about Brazil eliminating the fee for US citizens to visit Brazil? Planning to visit in late spring.

  49. @ PW and others on some Schengen points:

    Ireland indeed not in Schengen so won’t have ETIAS to enter there. Irish citizens are EU citizens so won’t need ETIAS to enter Schengen (freedom of movement etc). Non-EU Schengen countries will align with EU law here (as on all Schengen issues to which they opt-in), so for example ETIAS will be needed to enter Schengen via Switzerland.

    It is indeed a change, and likely an inconvenience to many travellers (my own Canadian and US families included), but this has just been adopted as a law in the EU. It won’t come into force for around 2 years, and by that time hopefully the information will get out there. Therefore I agree it’s newsworthy and that people should be made aware of it. Indeed, airlines and TAs will have to do a lot of work to ensure their customers are kept informed of requirements as and when tickets are booked for that period.

    However, calling it a visa remains misleading and also implies a lot more paperwork than the ETIAS will entail. Let’s just call it a €7 rubber stamp for those countries who have visa-free agreements with EU.

    Sung, thank you fo your comment, but please don’t conflate ETIAS (which has been in the pipes for years) with the US failure to grant visa free travel to some EU citizens. It’s a different matter and one does not have anything to do with the other.

    Having said that, more bumps could be ahead if RO,BG etc join Schengen and US doesn’t offer reciprocal visa free access. More voices may call for full visa regime, which would be awful for both sides of the Atlantic.

  50. To those suggesting this is clickbait and isn’t a visa, I’d appreciate if you could explain to me the difference between an e-visa and an electronic travel authorization then?

    I understand some countries like to use the term “visa waiver program,” but the reality is that if you’re filling out an online form, paying money, and approval isn’t automatic, it sure sounds to me like a visa.

    The dictionary defines a visa as follows:
    “an endorsement made on a passport by the proper authorities denoting that it has been examined and that the bearer may proceed”

    So how is this not a visa, please? To me the concept of a “visa waiver program” sounds like a successful case of countries marketing successfully to make you feel better about having to fill out forms and give them money.

  51. Farnorthtrader. I can give you a concrete example:

    ETIAS will cost €7 and involve confirming your identity and passport details. In theory should be an automated and instantaneous pre-departure procedure, just like Canada and US.

    Currently a full Schengen visa (90 day travel within 180 days) costs 60€, takes up to 2 weeks to process and involves providing a hell of a lot more personal information.

    Same applies in US. I have ESTA – can’t remember exact amount I paid but think 15$. My partner would need a full visa, being from one of those EU countries the US does not apply visa-waivers for. Her travel visa, for example if we wanted to do 2 weeks in US, or even just transit on way to Central America, would cost $160 and no guarantee she’d even be allowed in.

    Those are the main differences.

  52. @Chris, my Turkish visa was completed online and approved instantly with basically the same information as will be required for this new visa waiver. I get that some visas require different processes than other visas, but if you have to pay for it, they do a security check on you and they can deny you entry based on the information you provide, it seems to me that it is a visa, just called by another name for diplomatic relations purposes.

  53. Not to mention that my visa in Egypt and in Ethiopia did not even require advance information, they were done on arrival and the one in Egypt was free. They were still called visas but required less than this new travel authorization that is not called a visa

  54. Sorry, the visa in Jordan was done on arrival and was free, we had to pay for an Egypt visa on arrival

  55. @ Lucky,

    I get it, it sounds like a visa to a lot of people, especially when expressed as such in articles. But, and probably here we get too much into the semantics, the key difference is that it is not a stamp on your passport. It does not guarantee entry into the Schengen area (same as ESTA). It simply pre-checks your information against relevant law enforcement databases to make sure your name does not create a hit for one or another reason. If there is no hit, then you have the pre-authorisation and it should facilitate your entry into Schengen. However, it is the immigration officer wherever you land who will take the final decision. They will issue the entry stamp, which confirms your visa waiver status.

    Basically ETIAS was set up as on the Schengen side they realised that for VWP countries they did not get enough information on certain people entering the territory. It enables them to receive extra info, make sure you aren’t on any databases for the wrong reasons, and in theory make the Schengen area a safer area for travel and also give reassurance to numerous governments in EU which have concerns about the current security at borders.

    One final thing – even if your name creates a ‘hit’ in the system, it doesn’t mean you’ll be denied the pre-authorisation, just that they will have to investigate it so it make take longer than an automatic positive response.

  56. Bravo farthnorthtrader, monumental burn!
    Although I largely agree with you Ben, I beg you to see this (over) reaction form the perspective of your readers who aren’t from some rich *parts* of the EU, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Lucky, you probably never needed a tourist visa to visit the US and I’m not sure you understand how awful the application process is for most of the world. US Visa has terrible connotations, an online formality or anything with a e- prefix that’s just an authorisation it’s definitely not the same as having to attend a personal interview at the embassy (no exceptions) and paying hundreds of euros /usd in fees. 7 euro ETA = US Visa? Give me a break!

  57. If we can’t have visa-free and “visa travel waiver “- free travel, then we should just merge ESTA, ETA, ETIAS all into one program

    They all serve the same function anyway, and standards are fairly similar between US, EU, Canada, Australia, and soon the UK. Perhaps others like Japan and Singapore

    This way each person could get their enhanced prescreening done once for all participating countries.

    I agree, the Romanian and Bulgarian issue is separate, and tricky

    Also, people overuse the clickbait title
    Even if you quibble about the “visa” designation, this article is extremely pertinent and important

    I write this sitting in Sydney as an American

    The official government of Australia calls the ETA a visa
    Here is their website

    Or are we calling the Aussie government’s own website “clickbait”

    I’ll tell you all what,
    When an American friend asks you if they need a visa to enter Australia, you had better say “yes” so that they know to go research it, and don’t show up at the airport empty handed

  58. @ Chris — And I appreciate that, but I’m still not seeing how that’s different than any other country that requires an e-visa?

  59. Scanditino

    Difficulty vs ease does not make something a Visa

    US citizens need a Visa to enter Vietnam. It is super easy to get one

    Vietnamese citizens need a Visa to enter the US. It is very difficult to get one

    They’re both officially Visas. Level of difficulty has nothing to do with anything

    There will always be inequity in terms of migration when two countries are economically divergent, or when one population has a stronger desire to migrate to the other country than vice versa

    You saw this with Hungary who begged to get into the Shengen zone, and extolled open borders
    Until refugees from Syria hit their doorstep

  60. @Ben

    Look at the press release from EU Commission. I’ll quote here:

    “The ETIAS authorisation is not a visa. Once operational, it will carry out pre-travel screening for security and migration risks of travellers benefiting from visa-free access to the Schengen area. When arriving at the EU borders travellers will need to have both a valid travel document and an ETIAS authorisation.”

    Here is the link:

    C’mom, pre-screening is completely different than getting a visa. Even before pre-screening, visa free travel has to go through screening at passport control and possibly be denied entry due to a list, database, security, etc… Visa free never gave us RIGHT to entry. Getting visa is much more extensive, takes time, cost a lot more, has to provide a lot of information and might even require an interview. Also if ETIAS is a visa, why the distinction between countries with visa free travel and those that needs to GET Schengen visa? They should simply put all countries in ETIAS.

    But you have your opinion, and that’s fine. But government agencies, EU says ETIAS is not a visa, and US says ESTA is not a visa. So you should state that you feel ETIAS is a visa, but not claim on the title that US citizens now requires visa to get into EU.

  61. @ Sung — I respect your opinion, but let’s keep in mind Australia offers exactly the same kind of “authorization” and calls it a visa. There are plenty of other countries that call these visas as well. They’re choosing not to market this as a visa, but in my opinion that doesn’t mean it’s not a visa. Just look at the definition of a visa, and I’d say this meets those requirements.

    Anyway, clearly we can agree to disagree, but I just want to make it clear that my intent here wasn’t clickbait. I truly view an electronic travel authorization as a visa, just as Australia and a countless number of other countries do.

  62. @Lucky — Yes I must have. It’s so rare to get those these days. Tell me, was it buried among the countless credit card write ups?

  63. @ Naem — Hmmm, on Wednesday and Thursday I wrote two posts about credit cards and two trip reviews. Funny how you don’t remember the last trip report, but the number of credit card posts is “countless.”

  64. “@peter stupid logic, because the US does something Europe should do it back.”

    Thank you, someone needed to point that out.

  65. Headline is wrong. This isn’t a visa requirement, just like Europeans don’t require visas to visit the USA. It’s pre-travel authorization for those *who don’t need visas.*

  66. @Lucky – It is funny, isn’t it….that people still come here — well not writers. Anyway, which credit card do you recommend for the “visa” in 2021?

  67. Funny how one word turns the entire comment section into a panel of legal scholars. Who gives a f if its technically a “visa” or not? It’s functionally equivalent to the e-visa process US travelers are already familiar with when trying to go to many other countries; calling it a “visa” is far more helpful for people to quickly understand whats going on than calling it an “electronic travel pre-authorization”.

  68. Ceci n’est pas une pipe
    Ceci n’est pas un visa

    -Rene Magritte
    La trahison des images, et mots

  69. I think Lucky should have put the entire legal text of the entire EU law in the title

    Would make for a pretty long title, but anything less is evidently clickbait.

    For those of you saying that this isn’t a visa because the government says so… what are your thoughts on Trump’s Travel Ban? Clearly it was not focused on Muslims. After all, the government said so

    Ceci n’est pas un Muslim Travel Ban
    -René Magritte (with a non-gun pointed at his non-apple head)

  70. @JRWM: Difficulty vs ease does not make something a Visa

    Agree, fully agree, legally at least it doesn’t.

    But it does make this headline click bait. And it does show you still don’t get it when you dismiss EU officials telling us what it REALLY is, not your smart ass semantics.

  71. @JRMW

    That is way simplistic. In that case , one can dismiss everything government says and that is not how opinions are debated. The Trump Muslim ban is a very bad analogy.


    I disagree, but much respect to you.

  72. @Lucky. This is basically legally defined (and not based on your dictionary definition). It is a legal distinction based upon the jurisdiction. If the EU says it is not a visa, it is not legally a visa (although there are similarities). PERIOD. Accordingly, the headline is misleading (fake news?). You try to be accurate and usually are. Accordingly, I would fix the headline so it tracks the legislation. If you do not fix it, it is frankly shoddy journalism. Why not be accurate? Just say
    “US Citizens Will Need Electronic Travel Authorization To Visit The EU Starting In 2021.” How hard it that?

    The European Union website states this clearly:

    “ETIAS will allow for advance checks and, if necessary, deny travel authorisation to VISA-EXEMPT third-country nationals travelling to the Schengen area.” (emphasis added)

    See also The European Parliament and Council Regulations 2018/1240 and 2018/1241

    Similar in Canada:
    “A Canadian eTA is not the same thing as a Canadian visa. A visa is a physical authorization, such as a stamp or a sticker that is placed in your passport so that you are allowed to enter a foreign country. Usually, you either request an advance visa from an embassy or obtain one at the border. Both require time filling out paperwork and approval from an immigration officer. Canada requires citizens of many countries to obtain visas to enter Canada.

    An eTA, on the other hand, is a bit simpler. If Canada does not require a visa from citizens of your country, then you will likely need to get an eTA. There is an exception for U.S. citizens, who only need to bring passports to the border in order to enter Canada. However, lawful residents of the U.S. who are not citizens still need to get an eTA.

    A Canadian eTA is easier and quicker to apply for than a Canadian visa is. An eTA is electronic rather than physical, and it is automatically connected to your passport once your application is approved.”

  73. Do you know if it’s required for people who have dual citizenship? I usually travel with both my passports . I know from experience that I can only re enter the USA with my US passport. I once traveled only with my Swiss passport And couldn’t get on my plane back to the US. I couldn’t get a visa to the US with a US address. I probably wouldn’t risk going without a visa I’m just wondering.

  74. Please stop freaking out & complaining about words used.

    7.00 pounds to gain a 3 year entry permit is Nothing to do plain about!

    Not bothering to read all comments.

  75. It’s not a visa is it – just like the ESTA is not a visa. Or so the US has been telling the rest of us for years. Can’t see how any US citizen has the right to gripe about it, but to be fair I can’t see much of that happening in the comments.

    It is a bit clickbaity-esque to say it is a visa in the title, but before we all lose all sense of proportion, this isn’t the only article on Boarding Area today to conflate the two forms of authorisation to enter a different country .

  76. To all you crazies complaining about the word “visa”, it’s detailed semantics like that which keeps lawyers employed and red tape for just about everything you do. So thank you for propagating the nonsense when you perfectly know what it means. The next time you complained to customer service about whatever it is, it’s probably because of uptight folks like you who wants to stick to pure definitions of imperfect english. I get it. It’s Friday and y’all are “working from home”. Oh wait whats that, you’re not physically at home working well isn’t that misleading and click baitish?

  77. @Lucky — if you’re going to post all this non-trip-report content, the LEAST you could do is tag trip reports with a special tag or have a dedicated section for them. This way people who click on all the links and read all the articles and then take the time to comment that they just read something that wasn’t a trip report could more easily consume only the content they are interested in. Oh wait … you already do that … ;P

  78. Lucky,

    I see two issues with this post:

    1) At the top of the post, you conflate two separate issues: a) U.S. not offering visa-free reciprocity for Bulgaria/Romania/Croatia/Poland/Cyprus (i.e. the 2017 dispute), which did lead to the European Parliament threatening *actual visas* (i.e. forms and $100+) in 2017 and b) the implementation of the ETIAS pre-travel electronic authorization program for visa-free travelers. “B” has nothing to do with “A.”

    2) Referring to the ETIAS as a “visa” when officially the U.S. does not refer to ESTA as a visa and the EU does not refer to ETIAS as a visa (I get you believe it actually is a “visa,” but I’m talking about how governments refer to the programs.) And, if this is what you think, okay, it’s your blog, but the terminology is confusing, because most wouldn’t refer to electronic pre-travel authorization as a “visa.”

    But, again, this has nothing to do with the Bulgaria/Romania/Croatia/Poland/Cyprus dispute, but is just a longstanding reform to EU immigration procedure, mirroring programs in Canada, Australia and the United States for *visa-free travelers.*

  79. Fair enough. We have had to do the ESTA thing for years now with questions on mental illness and war crimes to be answered. Best would be to stop this nonsense on both sides but is unlikely to happen under the Trump/Bolton regime.
    Having said so, I have come 3 times through US immigration the last few weeks and the experience was absolutely pleasant. A major improvement from my past experiences.

  80. @Ben
    Instead of linking to a private company’s website for information on this why not get some official EU links and information on the topic?

    The clear sign, the .com address of the website. Anything from official EU site will always be .eu

    I don’t know why this site suddenly made waves on the travel sites around the world. It is not new information that it is coming, it is not contained to US citizens, but someone managed to promote their website in an efficient way.

    It is click a click bait headline, though the article does get to the truer points of what the EU is introducing.

    And while it is technically not a visa, neither is ESTA, with the recent expansions of the ESTA forms I would say that takes more time to complete than many e-visas around the world. Though validity for both ESTA and EITAS is far longer than most visas.

  81. As reported elsewhere the proposed travel authorisation for 3 years may cost Americans $US112, whereas for most other passport holders the cost will be approx. $9.
    Are they expecting an avalanche of fake tourists fleeing Trumpland for a more urbane European lifestyle?

  82. Current immigration flows have heightened security concerns in both EU and the US. This is inevitable.

  83. I believe the ultimate solution is to install a computer chip in the baby’s head as it comes from the delivery room…………then it would be as easy as “Find my phone” and you could move freely throughout the world as long as your computer chip was functioning…………think of being able to go to the mall and let your kid run free as long as you had the “Find my Kid” app on your phone……….They’re watching our every move………..that creates such freedom when you accept that……….

  84. 1.
    Many millions of US citizens are not allowed into Canada because of crimes (drunk driving example) that would be felonies in Canada. I assume there will be no question about records on the visa-waiver program to the EU? Is there one on ESTA? (Canada is the only country that shares FBI NCIC).

    The major issue has been that the EU was threatening to completely ditch the reciprocal visa-waiver program because the US did not treat all EU countries the same; Poland, Bulgaria and Romania were not eligible for visa waiver. The US has been promising Poland visa waiver for many years. Maybe we’ll get all those plumbers from the UK.

    A lot of Europeans get trapped in the ESTA program because it’s completely arbitrary as to what looks suspicious. Also minor US offenses get one banned.

  85. I am curious how this is going to work for us that have residency status in Europe while still holding a US passport. Anyone have any ideas? I have a 5 year residency in Spain and travel through Europe often for work. I hope this isn’t going to complicate life.

  86. All those saying that this is not a Visa are absolutely correct.

    A Visa is pre-approved permission to enter a country which may be granted subject to successful provision of certain information and payment of a fee. Without a Visa one may not enter a country and generally should be denied boarding.

    On the other hand, the ETetc family of processes are pre-approved permission to enter a country which may be granted subject to successful provision of certain information and payment of a fee. Without an ETetc one may not enter a country and generally should be denied boarding.

    The differences are obvious.

  87. Obviously Americans think that everything happening in the world is about them.
    It is not. Program is targeting 60+ countries from visa-free Schengen group, and I suspect it is more because of some eastern European + Lat american countries, not because of US.

    Also form what I understand immigration database in schengen countries are not perfectly synchronized (As opposite to unified US database).
    It wasn’t uncommon (at least at least recently ) when Immigration officer in (let’s say) Austria will literally start turning you paper passport and counting how many days have you already spend in schengen to make sure you haven’t broke 90/180 days rule.

    For anyone familiar with a process of obtaining a real schengen visa, calling this electronic authorization as visa is an insult 🙂

  88. OMG. So much nonsense over a bit of bureaucracy that costs seven euros and lasts three years. If only the drama spent here could be bottled up and used to offset the costs of the authorization/visa/…

  89. I don’t mind the 7 Euro fee. I don’t mind the 30 minutes or so that it appears it will take to fill out the online form.

    I would like to know what will happen (if anything) if your travel plans change after you are approved but before you leave. You have to disclose the first country you are planning on entering on the application. I sometimes change my destination depending on travel costs, work locations etc.

  90. @Lucky

    @Sung is not giving an opinion. @Sung was presenting facts as opposed to your “alternative facts.” @Lucky. You are just wrong here.

    As the press release clearly says:

    “What is the difference between a Schengen visa and an ETIAS travel authorisation?

    The ETIAS authorisation is not a visa. Nationals of visa liberalisation countries will continue to travel the EU without a visa but will simply be required to obtain a travel authorisation via ETIAS prior to their travel. ETIAS will be a simple, fast and visitor-friendly system, which will, in more than 95% of cases, result in a positive answer within a few minutes.

    An ETIAS travel authorisation does not reintroduce visa-like obligations. There is no need to go to a consulate to make an application, no biometric data is collected and significantly less information is gathered than during a visa application procedure. Whereas, as a general rule, a Schengen visa procedure can take up to 15 days, and can in some cases be extended up to 30 or 60 days, the online ETIAS application only takes a few minutes to fill in. The validity will be for a period of three years, significantly longer than the validity of a Schengen visa. An ETIAS authorisation will be valid for an unlimited number of entries.

    The ETIAS travel authorisation will be a necessary and small procedural step for all visa-exempt travellers which will allow them to avoid bureaucracy and delays when presenting themselves at the borders. ETIAS will fully respect this visa-free status; facilitate the crossing of the Schengen external border; and allow visa free visitors to fully enjoy their status.”

    Do you really think you will get fewer clicks if you had an accurate headline?

  91. The EU is one of the last western country to do this. The U.S, Canada, and Australia have required a similar thing from Europeans and Australians have also required something similar form U.S and Canadian Travels visa versa.

    They say it is for security, but I also have to wonder if it is also because other people have been doing it to them, so they are going to start doing it back.

  92. US pay should also be made to queue in special Alien queues and their luggage inspected by friendly employees similar TSA staff in the US.
    Also detailed questions should be asked systematically (reason for travel etc) by another type of friendly border control officer maybe then they will understand how we feel when we go to the US.

  93. I don’t really understand why this suddenly became news when this has been planned for the past several years.
    @Lucky, considering that they state that the Etias authorisation is for ‘visa-exempt’ travellers, I would consider that enough to say that it is not a visa. They have additionally said that when people apply, their info will be put through the database and if there is no hit, they will receive an authorisation in real time. Yes, some countries call their similar methods an ‘e-visa’ and there may or may not be differences. For one thing, the cost of e-visas is usually more than the 7 EUR proposed here. Additionally, within Schengen, when someone has any sort of visa, it is very unlikely to be denied entry, as there are only a few reasons that they are permitted to do so when the individual already has a visa. However, with the Etias authorisation, the passport control officers will have more leeway. Perhaps it is all the same to you, and to many other travellers. However, there are very specific legal distinctions and I would challenge you to be legally accurate in your writings.

  94. Scandatino
    I “get it” completely

    I understand that technically the ETSA and ETIAS are not visas because their respective governments say so. I also understand that the identical program in Australia is a visa, because they say so.

    I understand that gay marriage wasn’t technically marriage in the US until recently. And then it was. And that at one point I was not considered a full human by US law. (Cause I’m not white). Nor were women.

    Now, corporations are legally people in my country

    You see, semantics are fun, especially when it comes to legal semantics and government.
    In many ways, I don’t give two [email protected] about what the government says. I look at what it does.

    What they did was create a visa lite program but avoided the word visa for political expediency. But we all see through that, don’t we?

    I find the exuberant outrage over the word visa in a travel blog headline to be hilarious in the extreme.

    There are many things to be outraged about in the world. To me, this is not one of them.

    If you are able to be outraged over the word visa on a luxury travel blog, then you are a very fortunate soul.

    US treatment of the rest of the world is not a laughing matter. But it has little to no relevance with this blog post

    Peace, and may you travel well and safely

  95. I’d like to add an important fact here which goes totally against the concept. There is no visa weaver and there has never been. When I enter in the US as a European I get a visa on arrival. So I do get a visa. It’s a fancy visa because it allows me to stay for a lengthy period in the country and Americans get the same when they enter Europe, in or outside Schengen. But there is a stamp on the passport and it is an entry permit which in other terms it is a VISA. The only difference is that instead of making an application through diplomatic procedures, you get it on arrival. But let’s make things straight, it is a visa 100% and ESTA, ETIAS and similar are just pre-screening. Nothing more and nothing less. But please don’t say that US citizens with require a visa to enter Europe because until today they have always been stamped a visa and they will continue to get a visa on arrival. This entire thread is a good piece of information but it is also misleading.

  96. Oh boy, our pseudo-intellectual drama queens fight over “visa vs waiver”-labeling.

    Man up, sisters and move on.

    “You hurt my feelings”

  97. Since we’re having so much fun with this discussion, let me throw out a further question that’s points & miles related.

    British Airways insists that their points currency is called “Avios,” and not “miles.” They never refer to them as miles, and it’s not an approved marketing word for the currency, for example.

    Meanwhile most other airlines call their points miles.

    Does that mean it’s truly inaccurate to call Avios miles, or does it just mean I’m not choosing to market the currency the way they’d like?

    No different than visa vs. visa waiver, in my opinion.

    You guys tell me…

  98. Lucky, you should reach out to the BA PR Department. Maybe someone has been there long enough to know how Avios came to be, and why neither miles nor points was deceided upon.

  99. I wonder if an American citizen, like me, who has a German residence card and has lived here for 9 years would have to get this ??

  100. Luckily the EU will probably be dissolved by 2021, starting with Italexit, so I’m not too concerned.

  101. Who cares if technically it’s called a visa or not called a visa? Why are people getting so tied up with semantics? It’s a new process that millions of travellers WILL have to go through, IS relevant to possibly the majority of this site’s readers and therefore CAN’T be called clickbait.
    Get a grip, people…

  102. Honestly, Europe is a shit hole, not in literal sense, but ‘taxing’ American technology companies when in reality they have no viable companies that can compete with the Americans.
    America should tax the German car makers, Dutch companies and French cheese(?) so we get equal if not more tax out of the cheap and stingy Europeans. Let’s not forget unethical Germans with VW shit.
    Hey reciprocity beeyotch!

  103. @Donna – debit cards work too. As for not having an e-mail address, hate to say it but they’re just going to have to get one. It’s like a photo ID – theoretically neither US Federal nor State laws require you to have one unless it comes with a driver’s license or some other license you need for work or leisure, but as a practical matter it’s almost impossible to function without one in the US.

  104. Travel anthuroty is electronic visa. Why people here are so dumb to understand?
    Real visa free is to fly without any preparation. Buying a ticket at airport then you can fly.
    Any necessary document or application is called “VISA”

  105. this makes me so happy. about time the US feels 10% of what foreigners have to go through when applying for visas, etc. the US does it to everyone else, fair is fair.

  106. @Lucky CNN finally fixed the same mistake you made. “Correction: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) as a visa. It is an authorization system.” Even if you do not get it, it is an important legal distinction. You should make a similar correction. This is a matter of reputation, credibility and concern for accuracy.

  107. @Lucky, I have to say that it’s a bit surprising to see that you’re so adamant about this. It’s also perplexing to see you compare it with a marketing term for points/miles. But, since you made the comparison, I’ll say this. You don’t refer to Avios as “points” or “miles” but actually use their marketing term, Avios. So, why are you calling ETIAS a visa when it’s not?

    “No different than visa vs. visa waiver, in my opinion.” Yes, that’s your OPINION, which you’re perfectly entitled to. That’s totally fine for things like reviews, miles/points valuations, etc., but it’s not appropriate when you’re reporting a news item and stating facts, especially when you’re all about accuracy. The fact is, regardless of your opinion, the officials (and not the commercial website you linked to, as others have pointed out) don’t consider the ETIAS a visa.

    “This week, news outlets, including CNN, Esquire and Travel & Leisure, initially called the process starting in 2021 a visa, but government authorities said it is not one.”

    Just change the post header (and link, since it says “visa”) and include your opinion in the body of the post. I agree that there might not be much of a difference between a visa and an electronic authorization, but if you want to be accurate, well, be accurate.

  108. @Lucky. This has legal and diplomatic significance. Avois do not. Please do not be so obstinate. You were wrong. CNN was wrong and they owned up to their mistake. No big deal, but please stop perpetuating on an error. You were not the only one.

  109. Sorry @Nevsky, I had to drop back in. Are you sure that Lucky referring to this visa that is not a visa (but really is) as a visa really has legal and diplomatic significance? Do you think the US is going to recall their ambassadors because Lucky called this a visa? Is the EU going to close their borders to all US citizens until Lucky admits to his egregious error?
    Pretty sure Lucky does not have as exaggerated an opinion of his importance as you seem to.

  110. @farnorthtrader Of course not. Do not be absurd. I was discussing the distinction between a visa and an electronic travel authorization. Apparently some people do not understand (and it is not necessary that they do either) there is a major difference in how they are officially referred to and in the legal implications and practical application (go ahead and apply for an EU Visa and find out the practical difference). In common usage, it does not make much of a difference. He can call it a duck as far as I am concerned, but there is the matter of credibility. I like this site and think it is generally well done, but if you do not correct a known and obvious mistake (e.g. Just saw NPR make an online correction; Bloomberg had a minor correction), people may lose faith in you and the accuracy of the information you present. Mistakes happen. Perpetuating on a mistake shows poor judgment. At least that is my thought. (Anyway, I am sure he is enjoying all of these clicks, but there are better ways to generate clicks than by being wrong.)

  111. @farnorthtrader @Lucky If you want further context (and background) of the importance of the difference between an ETIAS and a visa, one of the ongoing disputes between the US and the EU has been over the requirement that citizens of Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania get visas to visit the US and are, accordingly, not eligible for the visa waiver/ESTA program, although it seems unlikely there is a connection between that and the new requirements for US citizens.

  112. Give me an ‘E’
    Give me a ‘T’
    Give me an ‘I’
    Give me an ‘A’
    Give me an ‘S’

    What does it spell?


    (Sorry – Couldn’t resist. I felt left out)


  113. EU don’t understand who is protecting their members. I think U.S. should just call back all troops in Europe. Let them deal with Russians themselves. It is wasting ofmoney for these ungrateful shits.

  114. @Shannon
    Wow! Such vitriol just because the EU has decided to charge a token amount for something that the US itself has been charging for several years! The utter nerve of them!
    Oh – and a complete ignorance and/or misunderstanding of the US forces’ presence in Europe…

  115. Welcome to the joy of ESTA online applications… it’s such a nightmare for us European citizens to visit family in the states..

  116. @Esther com’on!!!

    I did it ten days back and it took me 7 minutes and got it approved within 2 hours. If this is a nightmare what should the rest of the planet say who can’t sometimes have even their visas approved after lengthy waiting? With the ESTA I consider myself lucky. Very lucky. And I think in both cases it’s a fair thing, more screening of who enters the country.


    I think would be better to read articles before commenting. Releasing your instinctive thoughts on titles it’s not smart. Trust me.

  117. I am constantly amazed by the myriads of bootlickers when it comes to these types of surveillance schemes. Everyone accepts it as if it is something positive. Appaling but expected.

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