March 9 (UPI) — Starting in 2021, U.S. citizens will need a visa to visit most European countries due to border security issues.
U.S. citizens traveling to Europe for less than 90 days currently only need a passport, but the European Union announced Friday that starting in 2021 they will need a visa to visit most European countries.
“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,” the EU said.
The new policy applies to 26 countries in the Schengen zone of Europe.
It requires U.S. citizens to apply for a European Travel Information and Authorization System visa.
To obtain the visas in 2021, U.S. citizens will need to have a passport, which is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Europe, a credit or debit card and an email account, the EU said. There is an exception to the new rule for minors, who will still only need their normal passport.
The ETIAS visas will be valid for three years.
The United States has previously been in a dispute with the EU over requiring visas for Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Cyprus when they were not required for 23 other EU nations. In June 2018, the European Commission voted in favor of imposing visas on U.S. citizens in the five countries.