Europe is a must-see destination for many travelers. Unfortunately, if you are not a citizen of the European Union, getting a visa to visit can be a challenge. However, it is still possible to visit Europe as a non-citizen. With a little planning and some patience, you can make your dream trip a reality.
So how exactly do you go about visiting Europe as a non-citizen? It all depends on your country of origin.
ETIAS vs Schengen Visa
Depending on where you are coming from, you may need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver or a Schengen visa.
ETIAS is a visa waiver program that is being implemented by the European Union in 2021. It will be required for citizens of certain countries to have in order to enter Europe. A Schengen visa, on the other hand, is currently required for citizens of most countries outside of Europe.
Currently, there are 50+ countries whose citizens can travel to Europe without a visa for 90 days. These countries are part of the Schengen Area and a few other countries with special agreements. These countries’ citizens can apply for an ETIAS (Electronic Travel Information and Authorization System) waiver.
Which Countries Are Allowed To Travel To Europe Without A Visa?
Citizens of the following countries are currently eligible to travel to Europe without a visa:
Albania – Antigua and Barbuda – Argentina – Australia – Bahamas – Barbados – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Brazil – Brunei – Canada – Chile – Colombia – Costa Rica – Dominica – El Salvador – Georgia – Grenada – Guatemala – Honduras – Hong Kong – Israel – Japan – Kiribati – Macao – North Macedonia – Malaysia – Marshall Islands – Mauritius – Mexico – Micronesia – Moldova – Montenegro – New Zealand – Nicaragua – Palau – Panama – Paraguay – Peru – Saint Kitts and Nevis – St Lucia- St Vincent- Samoa- Serbia- Seychelles- Singapore- Solomon Islands- South Korea- Taiwan – Timor Leste – Tonga – Trinidad and Tobago – Tuvalu – Ukraine- United Arab Emirates – United Kingdom – United States of America – Uruguay – Vanuatu – Venezuela
If you are not a citizen of one of the countries on this list, don’t worry- you can still visit Europe. You will just need to apply for a Schengen visa.
What is a Schengen Visa?
The Schengen visa is a uniform visa that allows citizens of certain countries to travel freely throughout the 26 member states of the Schengen Area.
The Schengen visa allows holders to stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Schengen visas are issued by the embassies or consulates of the Schengen countries.
In order to apply for a Schengen visa, you will need to submit the following documents:
- A valid passport or travel document
- A completed and signed application form
- Two recent photographs that meet the requirements
- Proof of travel insurance that meets the requirements
- A flight reservation or other proof of travel plans
- Proof of sufficient funds for your stay
- A cover letter explaining the purpose of your trip
- Other documents that may be required depending on your specific situation
Application Process: ETIAS and Schengen Visa
Applying for an ETIAS is a relatively simple process. Citizens of eligible countries can apply online through the ETIAS website. The application must be completed at least 72 hours before travel and costs 7 euros.
Starting November 2023, an ETIAS waiver is mandatory for all citizens of countries who currently have visa-free travel to the EU.
If your country is not on this list, then you will need to apply for a Schengen visa. The good news is that the application process is relatively straightforward and once you have your visa, you can travel freely within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days.
Schengen Visas are issued by the embassy or consulate of the country you intend to visit. You will need to submit a number of documents, including a valid passport, proof of travel insurance, and evidence of financial means. The entire process can take up to two months, so it is important to plan ahead.
Applying For a Schengen Visa
If you are not a citizen of one of the countries on the ETIAS list, you will need to apply for a Schengen Visa.
The application process can vary depending on your country of origin, but there are some general steps that all applicants must follow. Here’s what you need to do:
The first step is to check which embassy or consulate you need to apply to. This will depend on your country of origin and your travel plans. For example, if you are traveling to multiple countries in Europe, you will need to apply to the embassy or consulate of the country you are spending the most time in.
Next, you will need to gather all of the required documents. These vary slightly depending on the country you are applying to, but generally include a valid passport, proof of travel insurance, and evidence of financial means.
Once you have all of the required documents, you can submit your application to the embassy or consulate. The entire process can take up to two months, so it is important to plan ahead.
After your application has been processed, you will receive a Schengen visa which allows you to travel freely within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days.
How to Visit Europe as a Non-Citizen
Visiting Europe as a non-citizen can be tricky, but it’s definitely possible with a little bit of knowledge, planning, and patience. Here are the steps you need to take:
1. Determine the reason for your visit. The first step is to figure out why you want to visit Europe. Are you going for business, pleasure, or both? Once you know the purpose of your trip, it will be easier to determine which type of visa (if any) you need.
2. Choose your destination(s). You’ll need to decide where exactly you want to go in Europe. Keep in mind that each country has its own visa requirements, so you’ll need to do some research to figure out which destination is best for you. If you’re not sure, the best bet is to check with the embassy or consulate of the country (or countries) you plan to visit.
3. Check visa requirements. This is an important step! As we mentioned before, each country has different visa requirements. Some countries may not require a visa for certain types of visits, while others may require a visa for all visits. It’s important to check the requirements of each country you plan to visit before you start the visa application process.
4. Start the visa application process. Once you know which countries you want to visit and what their visa requirements are, you can begin the application process. This can be done through the embassy or consulate of the country (or countries) you’re interested in visiting. There are also visa application centers that can help with the process.
5. Collect the required documents. The next step is to gather all of the documents you’ll need for your visa application. This may include things like your passport, birth certificate, proof of financial stability, and more. Again, requirements vary by country, so be sure to check with the embassy or consulate of the country you’re interested in visiting.
6. Submit your application. Once you have all of the required documents, you can submit your visa application. This can be done in person, by mail, or online, depending on the country.
7. Wait for a decision. The final step is to wait for a decision on your visa application. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, so be patient. If your application is approved, you’ll be one step closer to realizing your dream of visiting Europe!
Traveling to Europe as a non-citizen can be daunting, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing all that the continent has to offer. With a little bit of patience and effort, you can make your dream trip a reality. Bon, voyage!