In order to enjoy travel to and within Europe, all travellers, including infants, require a valid passport.
Please note that the following information applies to leisure and business travel. Those seeking information on passports and visas for working in Europe will need to consult the Embassy for the country they wish to work in.
When applying for your passport from your government’s passport authority, make sure you know how much time to allow for delivery, and be sure to give yourself extra time so that it arrives before your planned departure. If your passport is due to expire within six months of your departure, consider applying for a new one before your trip to Europe, as some countries may not accept a passport so close to expiration. Once you receive your passport, be sure to sign it and fill in the personal notification data immediately.
Travel visas may be required for some travellers or for those who are staying for longer periods of time (more than 30 to 90 days, depending on the country). You must be sure to find out what the regulations are for citizens of your home country and each European country to which you are travelling. The best place to find information on this is the Embassy or Consulate of the country/countries you wish to visit.
There is an area within Europe called the Schengen area. This is a group of countries which have all signed an agreement to make travel across their borders easier. In many cases, foreign visitors can obtain a single Schengen visa to visit any of the countries in this zone, instead of having to apply to each country individually. Usually, an application for a Schengen visa is made to the first country in the Schengen area that you wish to visit.
The 25 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and
Please note that if you have a Schengen visa and you wish to visit another European country that is not the in the Schengen area, you may still need to obtain a separate visa for that country.
If you are a citizen of a Schengen country travelling to another Schengen country, you only need your ID card. A passport is not required in this case.
Loss of passports in Europe
Should you lose your passport, report it to the local police and the nearest consulate or embassy for your country, which can reissue your passport when you are abroad. Carrying a photocopy of your passport with you, separately from your actual passport, can speed up replacement time if you do lose your passport. It is also advisable to carry two passport-sized photographs of yourself as these will be required to reissue your passport. Please note that in almost all cases, you will not be allowed to leave Europe without a valid passport.