Visas, documents, and passports


So, you are planning to visit Europe. Great! We will be happy to welcome you and share what makes this continent so unique. Here are answers to the most common questions about preparing for your trip. Addressing them now will make your travels smooth, easy, and convenient!

Who needs a visa to enter Europe?

Over 60 countries and territories worldwide have a visa waiver for the Schengen area. Some countries on the visa waiter list include the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, and New Zealand.

The visa waiver is a free regime that allows passport holders from these countries to enter the Schengen area without the need for a visa. Just make sure your passport:

  • Was issued in the last decade
  • Is valid for at least six more months
  • Has several blank pages

For most people with passports on the waiver list, the waiver means they can stay in Europe for up to 90 days each 180 days. In other words, if you spent 90 days in the Schengen area, you would have to leave it for 180 days before returning.

Please note that nationals of the countries and territories on the visa waiver list may need an ETIAS travel authorization.

If your country is not on the visa waiver list, you must apply for a visa from a Schengen or the European country you intend to visit at the embassy or consulate nearest you.


What is the Schengen area?

The Schengen area makes travel in Europe simple. Basically, it refers to the European countries that have abolished individual passports and border controls in exchange for a single common policy. For you, this means that no passport control exists when going from country to country in most of continental Europe.

Did you know the Schengen area is the world’s largest free travel area?

Keep in mind, however, that not all countries in the European Union are part of the Schengen area.  Different rules will apply when entering Ireland and Cyprus since they do not belong to the Schengen area. Additionally, please review the UK entry regulations, as it is no longer part of the Schengen area.


What is a Schengen visa?

Because the Schengen area practically functions as one entity, you only need a single visa to visit all the countries included. That means you can fly into France, travel to Germany, and depart from Poland, all under the same simple scheme.

You can find more information here.


How to apply for a visa?

If you need a visa to enter the Schengen area, you should apply for one from the country in Europe you will visit first or spend the most time in. If the European country you intend to visit is not part of the Schengen area, you must apply for a visa directly at the embassy or consulate of that country in your country of residence.

Before applying for the visa, take a moment to consider which specific visa aligns with your requirements. There are several types, though the most common is a tourist visa.

To make the process simple, here is an overview of the steps you will need to take:

  • Most Schengen countries will have an embassy or consulate near you. It can happen, however, that one Schengen country outsources visa processing to another one, so do a simple online search to see if that applies to your home country. It’s also possible that the Schengen country in question has a visa center instead of an embassy or consulate. This can also be determined with a simple online search.
  • Processing visas can take time. Our advice: apply early! The earliest you can apply is six months in advance, and the latest, 15 days. The rule of thumb should always be: earlier is better.
  • Once you have arranged your plans, book an appointment. This can usually be done online, though in some countries, you must make the appointment in person.
  • Fill out the relevant application materials and gather all your materials. The standard list of documents includes the visa application form, a valid passport, two identical photos, travel insurance, a round trip reservation (or at least a flight itinerary with specific dates and flight numbers), proof of lodging, and proof that you can support yourself financially.
  • The last step is to attend the interview and pay the fee.
Important: Even if you have a valid visa, remember to bring your supporting documents with you to Europe. You might be asked at the border for proof of lodging, means, and return passage.


What documents do I need to travel to Europe?

For the latest and most detailed information on entry and visa requirements, kindly refer to this link to review the specific requirements applicable to your country.


What is ETIAS?

ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is a travel requirement introduced by the European Union. From mid-2025 onwards, nationals of the visa-free countries and territories will need an ETIAS to enter any of the countries in the Schengen area and Cyprus.

It is linked to a traveler’s passport and remains valid for up to three years or until its expiration date, whichever occurs first. If you obtain a new passport, you also need to get a new ETIAS travel authorization.

With a valid ETIAS travel authorization, you can enter the territory of these European countries as often as you want for short-term stays, typically for up to 90 days within any 180 days.

For more information, check the ETIAS official website

Want to know more about Europe?

Sign up to our newsletter here: