Visa free

UPDATED: EU delays the start until 2022

THE EU IS NOT REQUIRING VISAS FOR U.S. CITIZENS

There has been a bit of confusion this week over whether the European Union (EU) is imposing a new visa requirement for United States citizens. Currently U.S. citizens holding a valid US passport can enter Schengen Zone countries and stay for up to 90 days without a visa.  
To clear up the confusion, the EU is not imposing a new visa requirement. What they have done is to require that beginning in 2021, U.S. citizens will have to submit information into the “European Travel Information and Authorization System” (ETIAS) prior to entering the Schengen Zone. This requirement will apply to U.S. citizens and visitors from other visa-free countries.


ETIAS REQUIREMENTS START IN 2022

Originally the ETIAS system was planned to start January 1, 2021. It has been delayed until the end of 2022, but there is a six-month transition period built into the regulations so travelers won’t have to register until mid-2023.

The ETIAS authorization process is short and simple and can be done online. You’ll need a valid U.S. passport to complete the online application. It will take a few minutes to complete, and your approval will be provided within minutes. The cost is a mere $7. Any traveler should be able to complete the online authorization themselves. There should not be not a need to use a visa service.


The ETIAS system is similar to the U.S. “Electronic System for Travel Authorization” (ESTA) which the U.S. uses to screen European and other nationals who enter the U.S. through the visa-waiver program. Like the U.S. ESTA program, the European ETIAS is an automated system to identify security risks posed by citizens in visa-waiver countries. Neither ESTA nor ETIAS are visas.

​WHAT IS THE SCHENGEN ZONE

​The Schengen Zone or Area comprises 26 European nations. The Schengen agreement was signed in 1985 by the member nations in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg (hence the name). Member states agreed to abolish borders between member countries and created a single jurisdiction to govern international travel. As a result, the member nations have a single visa policy. Not all EU members are part of the Schengen Zone, and not all Schengen Zone members are part of the EU.

​What Are the Benefits of the Schengen Zone

​Countries that are members of the Schengen Zone have open borders and allow the free movement of people and goods throughout the Zone. For U.S. citizens this means that once you enter any Schengen Zone country, you can travel throughout the Zone without needing to show your passport or go through immigration as you cross country borders.

​Schengen Zone Countries

​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

​E.U. Countries Not in Schengen Zone

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania are pursuing membership in the Schengen Zone, but have not met all the requirements yet. The U.K. and Ireland are currently members of the EU, but never sought membership in the Schengen Zone.
Free Download

Vacation Packing Checklist

Free Download

1st Cruise Guide

Our Travel Newsletter
Sign up and you’ll get our bi-monthly newsletter. The first edition is inspirational. We’ll take you to places might not have visited, or even thought about. The second edition will cover the top trends in travel so that you will be in the know and prepared for travel near or far. We’ll also include some specials and promotions.

Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates, offers, and travel inspiration.

Subscribe

So how to choose the right vacation for you?

Picking the right vacation is a decision with many variables: which hotel, cruise line or tour company is right for you, which destinations interest you, what are the demographics of fellow travelers, what are the service standards, what activities are available, and most importantly exactly what do you desire from the experience. We want you to make an informed, intelligent buying decision where you get the best value for your money! We work with our clients to ensure the vacation or cruise they choose is right for them and those traveling with them.

The world awaits you and we look forward to assisting you in choosing the exact right adventure on the waters or land for you and your companions!

Let’s chat and find the right vacation for you.

Schedule video or phone chat