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Business Travel Travel Industry

Starting In 2021, Americans Will Need Visas To Travel To Europe

Along with other countries and regions in the world, Europe has recently decided to improve their security levels regarding illegal immigration and terrorism. One way they’re becoming more secure? Requiring visas to enter, specifically to the Schengen Zone. That’s right, starting in 2021, all Americans traveling to a European country in the Schengen Zone will need to apply for the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in order to enter.

What is the European Schengen Zone?

26 countries in Europe make up the Schengen Area. Within it are 22 countries from the European Union (EU), 4 countries that are part of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and 3 microstates.

The countries making up the Schengen Zone are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • France
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Estonia
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Hungry
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Czech Republic
  • Malta
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • Vatican City

 

Apart from the 26 total Schengen states, there are 6 non-Schengen European Union members. They are currently not a part of the Schengen Zone and will not require a ETIAS to enter.
They include:

  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus

 

What does this mean for Americans?

So far, the requirements for an American to obtain a European visa waiver is pretty basic. The U.S. Citizen will need to have a valid passport, a credit or debit card, and an email account. When applying, the passport must be valid for 3 months beyond the period of intended stay. The ETAIS visa waiver must be paid in advance through secure online payment via credit or debit card.

The ETAIS visa waiver will be valid for 3 years. During this 3-year validity of the ETIAS for U.S. travelers, it will be possible to enter the Schengen Zone European countries as many times as necessary.

What does this mean for business travel?

The new requirement does not go into action for another two years. At this time, visas are not required for Americans to visit Europe. It should also be expected for some details to change by the time it is required, so stay informed if your company frequently travels to Europe from the United States.

The requirements for the visa are relatively low and obtaining one should be streamlined. The applicant will be notified via email if they are granted or denied the ETIAS. The main hurdles for travel managers and travelers will be remembering to allow time before a trip to apply and receive the visa. Remembering to re-apply after the three year validity time will also be a hurdle in the distant future. As you may recall, when a passport was required to travel to Mexico or Canada from the U.S., a rush of passport applicants caused lengthy delays to the whole process. This rush should also be expected with the ETIAS process, and it would be wise to apply as early as possible.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

The Power Of A Canadian Passport

Over the years, I’ve had more than a few run-ins at border crossings and airport security.  I get it — my “look” hasn’t always been the most clean-cut, especially when traveling.  But a surprising advantage I have, is being a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport. The best example that I can share is when I was in Tunisia in Northern Africa, boarding my plane back to Malta in Southern Europe.

Traveling with a Canadian passport

On this particular trip, I was very bearded  – two weeks growth for a guy that can grow a beard in two days.  And my only luggage was a raggedy-old backpack.  Within just a couple of minutes of lining up at security, I saw soldiers starting to position themselves around the line-up.  Oddly enough, they seemed to be staring at me.

After getting into position, the soldiers closed in around me and told me to step away from the line-up.  While surrounding me with their military fatigues and machine guns, they didn’t look particularly happy and began asking questions.  Feeling a tad uncomfortable amidst the aggression and language barrier, I pulled out my Canadian passport, and the mood changed.  Angry faces immediately turned to smiles and laughter, and apologies followed.  The soldiers dispersed, and I was even placed at the front of the line for boarding! It’s certainly something that I have always remembered.

Even though I’ve experienced hiccups similar to this a few other times, I still always come to airport security lines prepared (though not always presentable). Below are a few essential pointers to smoothly get through international security lines, even with an unkempt beard.

Tips to breeze through international security lines:

  1. Have your ID and travel documents easily accessible.
  2. Ensure that you’re not carrying any items that can be deemed unacceptable in either your country of origin, or the countries that you are traveling through.
  3. Be conscious of the culture of the country that you are in and those around you, and be respectful.
  4. Be positive and responsive if questioned, as negativity and defensiveness can work against you.
  5. Dress is a presentable and non-threatening fashion, so that you don’t become a visual target for inspection.
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Business Travel Travel Tips

10 Tips to Speed Through Airport Security

While you can’t completely avoid the possibility of extra screening at airport security, you can take a few measures to improve your odds of zipping through the lines. Here are 10 helpful tips to guide you through airport security and get to your gate on time.
1. Determine your ideal choice of checkpoints. Most airports have multiple security screening areas. Check to see if there are any “off the beaten path” with shorter lines.
2. Pack your coat in your checked luggage. This will cut down on the number of items you have to screen and/or take off before going through the detectors.
3. Watch those liquids and gels! Remember: all passengers are limited to one quart-sized zip-top bag of liquid toiletries containing no more than 3.4 ounces each. Also, make sure that toiletry bag is easily accessible so you can get it out of your purse, briefcase, or carry-on and into a screening bin quickly.
4. Consider your shoes. Wear slip-ons or other shoes that require little lacing. (You might also consider wearing socks to save your feet from the bacteria that’s surely on the floors.)
5. Dress for success. Leave belts, jewelery, hair clips, etc. at home or in your bag until you make it through the metal detectors. And don’t forget to empty your pockets!
6. Keep electronics accessible. While small electronics like cell phones, computer mouses, iPods, and cords/chargers don’t have to be screened separately, pack them in an easy-to-get-to location so that security can screen them with an unobstructed view. Laptops must be removed from their bags, unless you have a “checkpoint friendly” laptop case. Large electronics submitted for screening separately.
7. Leave gifts unwrapped. Wrapped packages may need additional screening and agents will remove the wrapping.
8. Have your identification and boarding pass out and ready to go. No one wants to wait behind you while you dig through your purse or pocket.
9. Be on time and allow a bit of wiggle room. You never know what you might encounter as you make your way to your flight–whether it’s traffic, understaffed check-in desks, or long lines at security–but if you give yourself a few extra minutes  you can breathe easy knowing you’ll make  your flight on-time and without issue.
10. Be patient. The more pleasant you are to the agents and those around you, the better your experience will be.
For more information on how to get through the security lines faster, visit TSA.gov.