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Soon, Americans will have to take an extra step to travel to some European countries.

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Soon, Americans will have to take an extra step to travel to some European countries.

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Recently, there has been some confusion with visas and the reason why they are necessary to travel to certain EU countries. However, it is true that Americans and travelers from other visa-free countries will need to take an extra step in order to travel there.

 

The European Union announced last year that before travel, visitors from all visa free countries, including the United States, will need to complete an online application and pay a small fee using the European Travel Information and Authorization system (ETIAS), designed to strengthen security checks. With this new system, travelers will need documentation, like a passport, and will be asked to complete an application online. The fee is said to be $7, and in the expected 95 percent of the cases, approval will be granted in minutes.

 

How is the ETIAS system different from a normal Visa? And where did the confusion come from?

 

For starters, many news outlets, like Esquire and CNN, started to call the process, that will start in 2021, a Visa. But, government officials say otherwise. According to officials with the European commision and the U.S department, the ETIAS system is very similar to Americas Electronic System for travel Authorization (ESTA) that is used to screen people in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

 

According to them, major differences especially hold in the fact that the ETIAS system does not introduce Visa-like obligations and there is no need to consulate to make an application. They also claimed that no biometric data is collected and the procedure only takes a few minutes, whereas as a standard visa procedure could take up to a few days or even months.

 

It is not totally clear why the ETIAS system has been categorized as a Visa program, but the EU claims that the new program won’t make a huge difference in travel rhetoric.

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Soon, Americans will have to take an extra step to travel to some European countries.