U.S. citizens will need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) to visit most of Europe.

Starting Jan. 1, 2021, those of us who hope to travel to most of the majority of countries in the European Union will have to apply through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

Currently, Americans traveling to Europe for less than 90 days don't need anything other than a passport to make the trip. In an effort to upgrade international security, the EU will be changing that system. 

It's important to note that this is not a visa, but rather an authorization. By applying, you will have access to 26 countries in the Schengen Zone, which includes popular destinations like Germany, France, and Italy. The authorization will be good for three years, so U.S. travelers won't have to reapply every time they wish to take a trip to Europe.

"This prior verification of visa-exempt, non-EU citizens will facilitate border checks; avoid bureaucracy and delays for travelers when presenting themselves at the borders; ensure a coordinated and harmonized risk assessment of third-country nationals, and substantially reduce the number of refusals of entry at border crossing points," said the European Commission

Those who want to travel to the United Kingdom do not have to apply for this authorization, as the UK is soon exiting the EU. Passports will still be required. 

According to the European Commission, the ETIAS process will be easy and fairly straightforward to use. The application will be online, require a fee, and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. It should only require a travel document, such as a passport. 

"ETIAS will be a simple, fast and visitor-friendly system, which will, in more than 95% of cases, result in a positive answer within a few minutes," the commission said. 

You can read more about the ETIAS system and requirements here

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.