Starting in 2021, Americans will need to register to travel to EU

Starting in 2021, Americans will need to register to travel to EU
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Americans will need to register online and pay a fee before traveling to Europe starting in 2021.

U.S. nationals crossing the pond will need a passport and a credit or debit card to apply for a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) permit.

The travel authorizations are valid for three years and an unlimited number of entries.

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Previously, Americans had been exempt from pre-registration requirements when traveling to EU nations.

The ETIAS system is similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) the United States uses for countries in the Visa Waiver Program, which covers all EU countries except for Cyprus, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania.

ETIAS and ESTA don't require consular interviews nor the same degree of background checks as regular visas, but do require a payment and registration prior to travel.

ETIAS was first approved in 2016 by the European Commission and then by the European Parliament in 2018.

The European Commission has previously decided against imposing visas on Americans as long as the United States did not impose a visa on European travelers.

U.S. nationals are currently able to travel for up to 90 days within the Schengen Area, the 26 EU countries that allow border-free travel among themselves.

U.S. nationals will not need a prior permit to visit the United Kingdom.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that new travel rules were announced this week.

– This story was updated with additional information at 11:30 p.m.