Before 2021 draws to a close, visitors to the European Union will have to contend with an additional travel complication.
Authorities from the European Commission have announced that travelers from certain nations will be required to fill out a new application before heading to any of the 26 countries in the Schengen Zone.
The application fee will cost €7 ($8). Tourists from the United States, Australia, England, and several other countries will be affected.
Travelers from those nations don’t need visas to enter Europe, and that won’t change. Current rules allow visitors from such countries to stay in Europe for 90 days out of each 180.
Visitors only need visas if they wish to stay in Europe for more extended periods.
The European Commission published a statement saying that the new online form should take fewer than 10 minutes to complete. Authorities also say that most travelers’ applications will receive authorization within minutes of submission.
To fill out the form, visitors will need to provide personal information and biometric passport information. Travelers younger than 18 or older than 70 won’t need to fill out the application.
Frequent visitors to the EU will not need to fill out the form before every trip to Europe. Approved applications will last for three years before becoming subject to renewal.
The application is part of broader developments. In 2016, the European Commission approved the creation of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).
Details of the ETIAS will look familiar to anyone with experience in other visa waiver systems, like America’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
Leaders in Europe say the ETIAS will increase security while reducing public health threats to citizens of the Schengen Zone.
Not all visitors to the 26 Schengen Zone countries will need to fill out the application, however. Travelers from Asia, Africa, and South America need visas instead.
The visa process is significantly more complicated than the ETIAS application.