March 9, 2019
Brussels: The European Union (EU) has said that US citizens will need a new type of visa, a European Travel Information and Authoriation System (ETIAS), to visit the European Schengen Area from 2021.
Currently, American citizens can travel to Europe for up to 90 days without a visa, reports CNN.
The Schengen Area is a zone of 26 European countries that do not have internal borders and allow people to move between them freely, including countries like Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Italy and Poland.
To apply for the ETIAS, US citizens will need a valid passport, an email account and a credit or debit card, the EU said on Friday.
Minors, the website said, will still only need their normal passports to travel after the visas go into effect.
The Union said that the ETIAS visa is valid for three years and allows Americans to enter the Schengen Area as many times as necessary.
On the ETIAS website, the EU said it “has recently decided to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism”.
The US has been in a dispute with the EU’s European Parliament and European Commission over visas for Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Cyprus.
The five countries are the only EU nations that US citizens need to apply for a visa.
In June 2018, Parliament voted in favour of the Commission imposing visas on US citizens.