Passport and Personal Safety

Passport : Tourist travelling to Schengen countries

Do you always dream to travel outside the country and see the beautiful places around the world? If so, for your first destination to visit is the beautiful countries of Europe. EU countries are one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, full of history, great culture, beautiful architecture and natural landscapes for you to be amazed of. Travel to European countries from US is a great deal for those who want to see a piece of history while grasping the beautiful scenery of this amazing European countries. Travel to European countries from US is a breeze for U.S. citizens.

PassportSchengen Zone: Since both Schengen countries and US are parties to the Schengen Borders Agreement of 1985, it means a US travellers (citizens and Green Card holders) will be able to travel freely across 26 Schengen member countries: 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, and Switzerland without visa for 90 days within any 180 day period for business or tourist. The passport that you should be holding should be at least 3 months valid longer than the period you want to stay.

PassportSchengen Visa: You do not have apply for a visa before you leave on vacation but make sure that your passport has been issued in the last 10 years and stays valid for at least 3 months after you plan to leave. Your passport will receive a stamp upon entry into the country and an exit stamp when you leave. You need a valid reason of travel and proof of sufficient financial resources for the visit. Also you may need to show additional entry documents depending on the county you will be travelling.

To stay longer than 90 days, you must have a visa. Apply for a visa through the embassy of the country where you will spend most of your time. United States passport holders could travel to 176 countries and territories without a travel visa, or with visa on arrival. Get more information on visa requirements for United States citizens.

Now No More Border Controls All Over the Europe

When you are planning to travel to European countries that implement Schengen agreement, a “Schengen Visa” allows you to visit multiple countries in Europe and it ends border checkpoints within these countries. In the 26 Schengen member countries, all internal air, road and train travel are handled as domestic trips between those countries. However, unless you’re a member of a European Union country, you will require a separate visa for these countries.

Not everyone needs a Schengen visa to travel in Europe. If you do need a Schengen visa, you will need to apply at the embassy or consulate of the country where you will spend the majority of your time. The process for obtaining a Schengen visa is quite the same as any other visa. Different consulates require different paperwork, and so this should be something that you clarify with the consulate.

What you Expect on Arrival? Any flight that is departing from a non-Schengen country will arrive at the airport, and you’ll have to pass through immigration, whereby your passport and Schengen visa will be checked thoroughly. Once you depart from one Schengen country to another Schengen country, no immigration process will be there, and therefore Schengen visas are not checked again.

You must note that the Schengen member countries are different from countries of the European Union. The European Union excludes Norway, Iceland and Switzerland (Non – EU members) which are Schengen Members. Even though you can travel with one visa between Schengen countries, it is always safe to carry your passport and any other identification with you. Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, these countries are not a part of the EU customs union and therefore enforce the same level of custom control towards any traveler regardless of whether they come from within the Schengen area or not.

Some countries like Sweden and Finland still maintain customs control at their borders. Another exception to the Schengen area is the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland (IR). The UK maintain their own immigration process, and only allow foreign nationals to visit the UK with a UK visa. In short, a Schengen visa alone wouldn’t permit access to the UK under any circumstances.

Always remember to leave plenty of time when applying for a Schengen visa, as it may take more than 6 weeks to process your request and return your visa. As a rule of thumb, you should apply more than two months prior to your visit, and it may be wise to schedule an appointment with the necessary consulate in advance. The Schengen visa is only for short stay tourism or business purposes only. One cannot stay permanently in any of the countries on a Schengen visa.

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