What countries require visas and can I arrange for one when I get there?
Since the EU was founded, hopping around from one Euro country to the next has gotten a lot simpler and easier for travelers. While in the old days, you could collect dozens of cool passport stamps and show them off to your friends when you got back home. You would also have to physically convert currency in almost every country, shuffle through long lines at border crossings, and stop to make routine customs declarations. Nowadays, it’s all streamlined with one currency (the Euro) and you only get one passport stamp on entry in the EU and one upon leaving. All of this progress happened slowly over many years thanks to the Schengen Agreement which we’ll go into more detail below.
Most importantly, know before you go and do your homework in advance. Depending on your country of origin, the following websites offer up to date travel advisories on more than 180 countries and regions. They are primarily designed for finding out more about a place’s current political climate and list any concerns related to its most recent activities while abroad:
- UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs
- Canadian Consular Affairs Bureau
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- New Zealand Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- What is the Schengen Area? So if you’re not already familiar with the term Schengen, it is actually a tiny village in Luxembourg where the Schengen Agreement began originally over 30 years ago and has grown to what it is now. Basically, it references the EU passport-free zone that covers 26 European countries that have collectively agreed to remove internal border controls within their mutual member zone. Collectively it functions like a single jurisdiction with no passports required and a common judicial system as well as police in an effort to allow free and just so happens to be the largest free travel area in the entire world.
- What is a Schengen Visa? This is a short-term tourist or business visa that allows a person to travel freely to any members of the Schengen Area for stays up to 90 days. In other words, there are no border controls within the Schengen Zone so you can enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries.Please note, if you’re planning to study, work, or live in one of the Schengen countries longer than 90 days, then you must apply for a national visa for that European country instead. The Schengen Visa described above will not be applicable. For more info, check out Schengen Visa
- What are the Schengen Countries? The Schengen Area covers 26 European countries, including all EU countries except Ireland, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein are included in the Schengen Area but aren’t part of the EU. The full list of countries is as follows: 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.