I have a tendency to travel. Often, I go when I never planned to go to start with. When I moved to Korea, I never planned on coming to Korea, but I have been here 13 years. When I went to Nigeria, I actually wanted to go to Japan, but my husband chose Nigeria, but it was a good adventure for me. When I went to Romania, I wanted to go back to Japan or to Germany. However, I was vetoed and taken to Romania. It was the experience of a life time! I learned so much it is astounding! I wouldn’t take back any of the traveling I have done. Sometimes, I just don’t know ahead of time what is going to happen. When I got an email with job offers from Korea, I hadn’t applied for them. I was completely shocked! For someone like me, you just know know what to expect around the corner. I try to keep up on things internationally because that is how my life has been spent. From the time I was 4 years old until now, I have lived in 8 separate countries and traveled to several more. It wasn’t planned, but it just happens to me. I read online about things that happen and keep in contact with people all over the world. I learned something lately that anyone who travels will want to know. If I have a chance to go back and visit my friends in Romania or visit one of the other countries in the European Union, I need to keep this in mind: The laws about entering the European Union are about to change.
Yes, there is still such thing as a visa, but there is going to be something else too: An ETIAs travel authorization. Beginning January 21, 2021, people from the U. S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and many more will have to get this travel authorization before traveling into what is called the Schengen countries, and the ones like Romania who are not currently part of this, are working on being part of it soon, There is a list of countries that are part of the Schengen countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.
ETIAS stands for European Travel and Authorization System. What you will have to get if you want to go is not a visa, so you can’t apply for it at the consulate. You have to go online to ETIAS, fill out some forms, pay the price, and get authorization to travel. This will be in addition to whatever visa you get. If you wait to the last minute, don’t worry because they say it won’t take as long as getting a visa. Once you do it, you are registered for 3 years and can travel back and forth all you want, but it expires after three years or when your passport expires. If you don’t do this before you go, you may be turned away at the border. For me, as an American, I have been able to travel almost anywhere I want my whole life without any hitch, but it is about to change. (I don’t want to go to Communist North Korea and places like that, so that is why I said I can travel almost anywhere I want.)
The first time I went to Romania, the travel agent got the tickets wrong and booked us to Budapest, Hungary instead of Bucharest, Romania. When we realized the mistake, we didn’t worry about it because both places were 12 hours from where we wanted to go. We didn’t change our tickets. We just flew into Budapest and drove into Romania. We had no visa at the border, but we were let in immediately, and we got our visa after we reached our destination. However, it is not going to be that easy for Americans to travel anymore in Europe. What a shock!
I also read about why they decided to do this. Does it surprise you that they are doing it to try to cut down on terrorists’ attacks? It doesn’t surprise me. However, there are some of us that have never been a threat and traveled where ever we wanted freely, but it is not going to be as free as it once was. The people who have been causing trouble have caused our freedoms to be taken away.
Once of the reasons they made the European Union to begin with was so these countries could travel freely between themselves. If your country is part of the European Union now a days and you are from Romania, but want to work in Italy, you have no problem with a visa. Just go to Italy and get a job. If you live in France and want to work in Portugal, no problem, etc. It is freer for them, but for people from other countries, the freedom of traveling in Europe is about to change if you don’t know the rules ahead of time.
The articles I read are a heads up for me, and this is a heads up for you others who read my blog and like to travel. The date everything changes is January 21, 2021. Besides a visa, you will have to get authorization from ETIAS, and I read that you can find them online. This is not just something Americans must do, but people from many countries are included, so if you happen to be traveling to any country in the European Union after January 21, 2021, please get this done before you go so they won’t turn you away at the border.