Flying to Paris or Berlin? U.S. Citizens Will Soon Need EU Permits

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. citizens will need permits to travel to the European Union starting in 2021 and they’re being urged to get ready.

Buying the three-year authorization for a planned 7-euro ($7.90) fee will be “super quick and easy” and will allow Americans to travel freely throughout 26 European countries, though it doesn’t include the U.K. and Ireland, according to etiasvisa.com, a Madrid-based travel site. Reacting to news reports based on the site, the U.S. State Department cautioned that the EU isn’t requiring visas.

Travelers will need to receive confirmation by email before starting their trip so airlines can verify it. The system mirrors the U.S.’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which has required foreign visitors who don’t need a U.S. visa to register online since 2009.

Currently, U.S. citizens only need an EU visa for stays of more than 90 days. The EU approved its screening plan in 2018 for countries that are part of its internal visa-free travel area, saying it’ll help protect against terrorists.

Flying to Paris or Berlin? U.S. Citizens Will Soon Need EU Permits

About 61 percent of U.S. travelers to Europe in 2017 headed to France, Italy, Germany and Spain, all of which will be covered by the visa rule. The biggest destination was the U.K., which never was part of the visa-free travel zone and will probably have to make new arrangements after leaving the union.

Europe is the most popular regional destination for U.S. travelers, followed by the Caribbean and Asia, according to Commerce Department data.

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