Speaking generally, visa requirements may vary depending on country of origin and destination country and conditions can change quickly. When crossing borders within Europe, additional or other requirements may apply. Before departing on a European trip, gathering the most current visa information is essential, otherwise you may be turned down at the airport or worse, upon arrival. The most recent information can always be obtained at the respective country’s embassy or consulate in your home country. Often, these institutions will post this kind of information on their websites.

However, things are a bit easier for travel to countries in the Schengen area. If you travel to one of the Schengen countries and have a visa for it or the right to access the area without a visa, you are normally good to travel to the other Schengen countries as well, as there usually are no passport checks between these countries. Keep an eye on current developments, as member countries reserve the right to reintroduce border checks due to unforeseen or special circumstances.

It is important to note that the Schengen area is not the same as the European Union. Schengen member countries are:

  • 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
  • Switzerland

Additionally, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City have no visa requirements of their own but either accept Schengen visas at their border or have ceased border controls altogether.

The list shows that travel in Central Europe is easy once you have been permitted entry to one of the countries.Different rules apply to Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In the East, EU members Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria are set to become a part of Schengen in the near future, while others such as Ukraine, Russia or Belarus will likely retain their own requirements.

There are quite a number of countries whose nationals do not need a visa for the Schengen area but are permitted entry for up to 90 days with a valid passport. This includes travelers from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Georgia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Ukraine, USA, Uruguay, Venezuela and other countries. Note that this rule applies to travel for tourist purposes only.

Visitors from mainland China need a visa prior to arrival for all European countries except Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Visitors from Canada, the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries do not need a visa for European countries except for Russia. Israeli citizens and visitors from South Korea are allowed to enter all European countries without a visa, a passport is sufficient. Travelers from India and Pakistan and most countries in Africa are required to obtain a visa for all of Europe.

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