The new European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa will be required for all US citizens who want to enter any of the 26 Schengen-zone countries.
The Schengen area is formed of 26 countries where there are no internal borders, allowing people to move freely between nations.
Currently US citizens do not need a visa for trips to Europe that last under 90 days.
The EU said the new restrictions were drawn up "to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism" but stressed that the ETIAS visa, once obtained, would be valid for three years.
"The ETIAS visa for Americans is a multiple-entry visa with few restrictions in order to promote tourism while maintaining a high level of international security," a spokesperson for the EU said in a statement.
Citizens in these countries require a visa for US visits.
The EU has repeatedly pushed to remove the restrictions and in 2016 the EU Commission released a report calling for US authorities to lift the requirements to ensure "full visa reciprocity".
To obtain the new ETIAS visa US citizens will require a "valid passport, a credit or debit card and an email account", a spokesperson for the EU said.
Minors will still be able to enter the Schengen area without an ETIAS visa and will only need their passports to travel.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies