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Americans Soon To Be Required To Obtain Advance Authorization To Visit Europe

Effective January 1, 2021, Americans will be required to obtain an advance authorization to visit most of Europe, including all 26 countries in the Schengen zone with the exception of the U.K. This means that in order to visit popular tourist and business locations such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland, Americans will need to apply under the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) for this advance authorization.


  1. Currently 38 European countries can travel to the U.S. on the United States’ ESTA program without a visa for 90 days.

  2. The ETIAS system is technically not a visa and it is an online visa waiver much like ESTA.

  3. When applying for an ETIAS, you must have a valid passport, a credit or debit card, and an email account.

  4. The passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the period of intended stay.

  5. The ETIAS visa waiver will be valid for 3 years and can be used for multiple entries.

  6. The ETIAS visa waiver fee must be paid in advance through secure online payment via credit or debit card.

  7. The ETIAS visa waiver obligations apply to all U.S. citizens, including minors.

  8. Approval of the ETIAS application will be sent via email.

  9. The ETIAS visa waiver will not be required for visitors to the U.K.

  10. For more information, go to

Remember that the ETIAS visa waiver rules do not take effect until January 1, 2021.

*Steven M. Ladik is past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and represents numerous professional golfers on the LPGA Tour and PGA TOUR as well as athletes across the broad spectrum of sports. He also serves as the outside Immigration Counsel to the National Football League. He is a Partner at Seltzer Chadwick Soefje & Ladik, PLLC.

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