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Visa and Regulations

Everything you need to know before you visit Europe.

Other than planning your fun activities in Europe with Eurail, it's important to understand the vital documentation aspects of your trip. How long can you legally stay in Europe? Do you need to get a visa? To make all of this easier for you, we provide you with a short summary of European visa regulations. The following information is only applicable to people who do not hold a European Union or Schengen country citizenship.

 

The 4 Golden Rules

Rule #1: Make sure to check whether you need to get a Visa 3 months before your trip.

 

Rule #2: No matter where you're from and even if you don't need a Visa, you cannot spend more than 90 days within 180 days in Europe as a tourist (so 3 months within half year period)!

 

Rule #3: When boarding a train (or bus or plane) in Europe, always have your passport with you, not just a regular ID. Although in most European countries there are no passport border checks, companies can refuse to board you if you do not have a travelling passport (or some other ID proving that you are in Europe legally).

 

Rule #4: Most airlines and border controls will refuse entrance if your passport is not valid for at least 3 months (6 months for some countries) after your intended date of departure date from Europe. Therefore always check your passport expiration date as well as the airline requirements .

Do I need a Visa?

You don’t need a Schengen visa if you're from: Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and others. If your country isn’t listed, check here if you need a visa.*

 

You need a Schengen visa if you're from: China, India, Indonesia, Russia and others. If your country isn’t listed, check here if you need a visa.*

 

United Kingdom and Ireland: these countries are not part of the Schengen agreement, and thus have own regulations on entering the country. If you need a visa to come to Europe, most likely you’ll need a separate visa for UK and Ireland. Good news is that one visa works for both. The ‘visa free countries’ listed above do not need visa for UK and Ireland.

 

Turkey: in general, getting into Turkey is not difficult, however you need to meet the required criteria. Check for more detailed regulations here, even if your country is listed as visa-exempt for Turkey, as the length of stay and the visa requirements for obtaining e-visa vary from country to country. You can receive e-visa at the airport, however it is best to fill the form out at least 48 hr prior to your trip.
 

  • E-visa or visa on arrival: Australia, Canada, China, India, United States.*

  • No visa: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea.*

 

* Information accurate as of February 2018.

The Schengen area

No internal border system in Europe comes from the ‘Schengen Agreement’, signed by most European countries. It means you can travel freely between so-called Schengen countries, without any ID checks at the border. You simply ‘cross’ the border, often without even knowing you’re in a new country. European Union and Schengen Area are different things, so keep in mind that not all countries in the European Union (and Europe) are part of the Schengen zone. Here's a list of the Schengen countries:

 

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.*

 

Although Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria are not part of the Schengen Agreement, you can still enter them if you hold a valid Schengen visa, or come from a visa exempt country. United Kingdom, Ireland and Turkey are also not part of the Schengen Agreement, and have their own visa regulations.*

 

* Information accurate as of February 2018.