Americans will need ETIAS to travel to Europe beginning in 2021

Traveling to Europe will become more complicated for Americans beginning in 2021.

The European Union announced Americans will need to obtain authorization through the European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS, to travel to 26 nations starting in 2021. Among the nations include France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. One ETIAS grants access to all 26 nations for up to 90 days of travel, according to officials.

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Currently, U.S. citizens do not need an ETIAS when visiting Europe for less than 90 days. But beginning in 2021, Americans will not be able to board a plane or cruise ship heading to one of the 26 nations without an approved ETIAS. The European Union said the ETIAS requirement is to protect and strengthen its borders by identifying possible threats from visitors traveling to its countries.

Officials said the online application takes approximately 10 minutes and automatic approval is granted in more than 95 percent of cases. Travelers between the ages of 18 and 70 years old will have to pay a one-time fee of €7 and the visa will be valid for three years.

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An ETIAS is only necessary when traveling to the Schengen area and Americans will not need one when traveling to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Cyprus.

Americans will need an ETIAS beginning in 2021 to enter the following countries:

- Austria

- Belgium

- Czech Republic

- Denmark

- Estonia

- Finland

- France

- Germany

- Greece

- Hungary

- Iceland

- Italy

- Latvia

- Liechtenstein

- Lithuania

- Luxembourg

- Malta

- Netherlands

- Norway

- Poland

- Portugal

- Slovakia

- Slovenia

- Spain

- Sweden

- Switzerland

To learn more information, click here.

Editorial Note: A previous version of this story referred to the ETIAS as a visa. The European Union calls the ETIAS a visa-exemption.