There are currently 26 countries that are part of the European Schengen Area. These nations have an agreement that one can easily travel between their borders with limited restrictions. For U.S. travelers, this is great news! You can come and go between those 26 countries without needing a new visa for each individual country. U.S. Citizens need a valid U.S. Passport. That’s it! You will have 90 days to travel within this region without needing to worry about visas. After you have spent 90 days in the Schengen Area, you will be required to leave for 90 days. This requirement is strict, though extensions can be applied for in certain circumstances.
European Visa Requirements
You will need to have six months validity in order to travel throughout Europe and the Schengen Area. The European Visa Requirements may be relaxed, but your passport must be valid. Please check the expiration date on your passport carefully before traveling to Europe. Technically they only require 3 months validity for short-term tourism, a business trip, or in transit to a non-Schengen destination. Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure.
If you plan to stay in the Schengen Area longer than 3 months, you will need to contact the embassy of the country where you plan to spend the majority of your time to apply for a visa. You will need to show your valid passport any time you cross a border leaving or entering the Schengen Area. Traveling from one Schengen country to another is easier. You do not need to show your passport until you exit the Schengen area. Be sure to keep an eye on your passport stamps. Your passport needs to be stamped upon entry and exit.
If you need to get a passport, visit your local Passport Acceptance Facility or contact a trusted courier service like Fastport Passport for all your passport and vital document needs. So get your passport and start planning your European vacation!
The Schengen Borders Agreement permits people to travel freely within the Schengen area. The traveler must qualify to enter the Schengen area by crossing an official external border during regular hours of operation and obtaining an entry stamp in the passport. You can travel freely from one member country to another without presenting your passport at each country’s border within the Schengen area. When you first cross any external border of the Schengen area, present your passport for an entry stamp. Immigration officials will decide if you qualify for entry into the Schengen area. During each six months period, you will have three months of visa-free travel within the Schengen area. When you leave the Schengen area after three months, you must wait another three months before you can apply to enter the Schengen area again without a visa. Ensure your passport is stamped upon exiting the Schengen area.
European Visa Requirements: Getting Denied Entry
- Can I be denied entry? Yes. It is possible to be denied entry into the Schengen Area. If you are denied, you are subject to the foreign country’s laws and regulations. You are financially responsible for returning to your place of origin outside the Schengen area. You may contact the embassy of the country you wish to visit to learn more about its entry requirements and to find out whether you need a visa to enter the Schengen area.
Country List of Schengen Borders Agreement
- All European Union countries, except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom, are members of the Schengen Borders Agreement.
- In addition, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein are also members of the Schengen Borders Agreement (but they are not European Union members)