The luxury of hopping on a plane for a European holiday with just a passport in hand will soon be gone for US citizens. A European Union announcement on Friday notes that, starting in 2021, Americans will need to also have a visa if they want to travel to the Schengen Area, 26 EU countries that allow people to move freely between nations, per CNN. To receive a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa, US citizens will require a current passport, an email address, and a credit or debit card.
The reasoning behind the new requirement: "Similar to other countries and regions in the world, Europe has recently decided to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism," per the ETIAS site. A full list of the countries that will soon require the visa, including France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, can be found here. Americans can still visit the UK and Ireland with just a passport. Previously, US citizens could stay in the EU for up to 90 days without a visa; the ETIAS visa is valid for three years. (Read more European Union stories.)