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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 Industry Travel News

Americans May Need Visa To Enter These European Countries

Earlier this month, members of the European Union’s Parliament approved a measure calling for the EU Commission to urge full visa reciprocity. The United States and a few other countries still require citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania to obtain visas before visiting. If the U.S does not change their policy, visas will soon be required by Americans to enter these countries as well.

Facts about the potential visa reinstatement:

  • This push stems from a two-year warning period to these countries to change their visa policies. The initial warnings went our in April 2014, which expired last year.
  • The other countries warned were Canada, Australia, Brunei and Japan.
  • Australia, Brunei and Japan have since lifted their visa requirements.
  • Canada will lift their requirements by December 2017.
  • These countries asking to change the visa policy were all formerly communist.

Next steps:

  • A two-month deadline has already been established for the EU Commission to act if the U.S. does not change its policies. Though the commissions has said they may not respond until this summer.

What does this mean for business travelers?

  • At this time nothing has changed. We will know more within the next few months.
  • If the U.S. does not change their policy and visa requirements are reintroduced, it would likely be temporary, the EU says.
  • If you travel frequently to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland or Romania, we will keep you posted via the blog.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company, focused on providing superior service for our clients. Whether it be our integrated software, consultative account management, or just helpful tips, your travel success is literally our business. Learn more about how we do it.

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Travel News

Streamlining Visa Applications and What That Might Mean for the Travel Industry & US Economy

In 2000, the top tourist destination in the world was Orlando, Florida, home of Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios, just to name a few attractions. But by 2010, Orlando was no longer number one, or even number five, or ten. Though it is still is one of the top destinations for Americans to visit, the number of foreign visitors has dropped significantly.
Orlando isn’t the only city to have seen such a decline. Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, and San Francisco have all seen their inbound tourism drop off. But why? Well, part of the reason is because following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the USA made the process of getting a tourist visa much more difficult if the traveler wasn’t from one of the countries involved in the Visa Waiver program.
However, US President Barack Obama recently announced that he has ordered this process to be streamlined in an effort to make it less cumbersome, and therefore more appealing, for foreign tourists to visit the United States. It is estimated that by speeding up the process in countries like Brazil and China, inbound tourism will create up to one million new jobs over the next decade. Additionally it will increase tax revenues at all levels of government since inbound tourism generates more than $134 billion in revenue each year.
How will this happen? The first steps will include increasing the ability of embassies to process more applications in a shorter time frame. This will require additional investments in infrastructure as well as hiring more staff. Also Taiwan will be added to the list of countries in the Visa Waiver Program. Additional steps will also then be taken to make it less burdensome for applicants by eliminating many of the bureaucratic hurdles that currently slow the process down.
There are several additional articles that discuss this action and the impact it will have on both the travel industry and the US economy, but here are two I found informative via Airwise.com and DailyBreeze.com.