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Beginning in 2021, Americans visiting Europe will need a visa if they want an unforgettable Eurotrip. Nathan Rousseau Smith has the details.
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In two years, visiting Europe will be a little more complicated for American travelers.

As of 2021, US citizens must undergo a preview and registration process called the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) before entering the Schengen countries.

The Schengen area consists of 26 countries, including Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Currently, the Americans are allowed to travel visa-free to these countries for less than 90 days without prior screening.

In a few years there will be more to it.

According to the ETIAS website, this process works. Every traveler must apply online, which includes filling in personal biometric issues (name, date of birth, etc.), passport information, and questions about the applicant's health, criminal records and any previous European immigration history.

The application is then checked over several databases. If the program is not flagged so that you look over manually, a decision will be reached by the system "within minutes," the website says. If an application is rejected, the applicant will get a reason why.

So what do you need to apply for? A valid passport, credit or debit card and an email account according to the website.

ETIAS authorization costs 7 euros for individuals over 18 years of age and is free for people under 18 years of age. It is valid for three years and allows multiple entries. Travelers can still only stay up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

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

Despite headings calling the new screening process a "show", the US Department of Department and European Union Delegation clarified that it was not is.

"Neither #ESTA nor the future #ETIAS (EU equivalent) is a visa" The European Union delegation tweeted. "They do pre-travel screening for travelers who benefit from visa-free access."

The state department also tweeted ETIAS is "not a visa", instead it calls an "authorization".

More: What is the world's most powerful passport in 2019 ?

More: Heading to Europe? Here is a packing tip you want to know

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