Recently some new reports stated that, starting in 2021, U.S. and Canadian citizens traveling to Europe would require a visa. Before you panic, please note that this is not the case:
For U.S. citizens traveling to Europe in 2021 and beyond, the will simply have to complete an online application and pay a small fee through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), a pre-screening program that aims to protect European Union (EU) borders. Americans and other non-EU travelers can still travel to Europe without a visa for up to 90 days as long as they complete their form in the ETIAS before travel
ETIAS costs about $9.00 U.S. and you can do it in less than ten minutes, according to a fact sheet issued by the European Commission in July. It calls the ETIAS “a necessary and small procedural step for all visa-exempt travelers” that would help them “avoid bureaucracy and delays when presenting themselves at the border.”
The ETIAS will be required for any of the territories in the Schengen area of Europe — 26 countries that are part of the E.U. It is valid for three years, (or less if a passport expires before then). Do not confuse the Schengen countries with the European Union…not all countries are in the E.U.
The Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
This is a far less difficult and certainly less expensive than applying for a visa.
You can find out more information on their official website here (external link). You will also find a list of the 61 countries whose residents will need to get the ETIAS authorization.