Americans Will Reportedly Have More Time to Secure ETIAS for European Travel
Americans traveling to European Union countries will have additional time to obtain a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa waiver after the new requirement takes effect on January 1, 2021.
“For a period of six months from the date on which ETIAS starts operations, the use of ETIAS will be optional and the requirement to be in possession of a valid travel authorization will not apply,” an unidentified official of the EU Commission recently told SchengenVisaInfo.com.
After the original six months, an additional six-month grace period will take effect.
“During the grace period the border authorities shall exceptionally allow third-country nationals subject to the travel authorization requirement who are not in possession of a travel authorization to cross the external borders where they fulfill all the remaining conditions, provided that they are crossing the external borders of the Member States for the first time since the end of the period,” the official added.
If that information holds true, ETIAS won’t become mandatory for Americans traveling to the Schengen Area—Europe’s passport-free zone comprising more than two dozen countries—until 2022.
The official also stated that Americans will be able to apply up to 120 days in advance of the expiration of their current ETIAS. However, some U.S. travelers may be required to submit additional documents or attend an interview in order to get their ETIAS.
For most Americans, the online application process should only take a few minutes and require a fee of about $8, with automatic approval expected in a vast majority of cases. Once authorized, the ETIAS will be valid for three years.
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