By 2021, Americans traveling to a European Schengen zone country must register with the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) prior to travel. This new border control security system developed by the European Commission is designed to strengthen the external borders of the European Union.
ETIAS, which is similar to the U.S.-based ESTA pre-screening travel program, authorizes a traveler to visit the 26 member countries that compose the European Schengen Zone. Travelers will need to complete an online application and remit a small processing fee before traveling to the European Schengen Zone. ETIAS processing requires a valid passport, email address and a debit or credit card.
ETIAS applications request the traveler provide basic biographic information including full name, date of birth and country of residency. The application process also contains a series of security and health questions. Once submitted, applications are checked against a series of security databases, including SIS, VIS, EUROPOL DATA and Interpol. Most ETIAS applications are processed within minutes. Once approved, ETIAS is valid for three years or until the expiration of the registered passport, whichever comes first. ETIAS can only be used for transit, or temporary travel for tourism and business lasting less than 90 days.
European Schengen Zone Countries