For U.S. Citizens traveling around Europe, you’ll quickly hear everyone talking about ‘The Schengen Area’. But what exactly is the Schengen Area Visa and why do you need to know? If you’re currently traveling around Europe or you are planning to, you’ll need to make sure you understand the importance of this visa and how it impacts you as an international traveler.
Passports and Visas for the Schengen Area
Simply put, the Schengen Area is a list of 26 countries that act as a single country regarding visa travel. For U.S. Citizens, that means you can come and go between those 26 countries without needing a new visa for each individual country. So, for U.S. Citizens, all you need to travel those 26 countries is a valid U.S. Passport. You will have 90 days to travel within this region without needing to worry about visas.
The Schengen Area visa for U.S. Citizens only allows 90 days inside the zone. After you have spent 90 days in the Schengen Area, you will be required to leave for 90 days. They tend to be fairly strict on this requirement, though extensions can be applied for in certain circumstances. However, it should be understood that if you stay past the 90 days, you will be considered an illegal immigrant and you could face deportation and fines.
The good news is that you don’t need a visa to travel most of Europe. All you need is your valid U.S. Passport. 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!