Documents you need when going to Europe
If you are planning to travel to Europe, there are some things you need to get in order first. Your trip won’t be a lot of fun if you don’t prepare all your documents beforehand. Credentials such as your passport, visas, identity cards, and driving permits should be prepared well before the departure date so that you don’t have to deal with anything at the last minute.
So, let’s highlight and discuss some important documents in detail so that you get a head start.
Having a valid passport
In Europe, the only document a US or Canadian citizen needs is a valid passport. In most countries, if you are 16 years or older when you got your passport, it will be valid for 10 years. And for people under the age of 16, the passport is valid for 5 years. So, the first things you should look for is the issue date which can be found on the front page of your passport.
Usual processing time of passport is between 6 to 8 weeks. However, you can apply for faster processing time, which will cost you extra money. So, before planning your trip, make sure that your passport is valid for at least three months after your ticketed date as most European countries adhere to this rule. You can also check your destination country’s laws and regulation to make sure that you have everything you need.
A visa is an official stamp that is placed on your passport. It is proof that you have been allowed entry to another country. However, you can enter some EU Schengen areas without a visa. Right now, Europe provides visa-free access to 62 non-EU countries and citizen of these countries can visit and stay in Schengen areas for up to 90 days. However, when you are entering without a visa, you’re officially on a “short stay visitor” status.
A new law passed in Europe will now require a special permit visa called European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). It is a fully electronic verification system for tourists and businessmen to travel and transit through Schengen areas without a visa. ETIAS visa will be mandatory from 2021, so it is best if you apply for ETIAS Online VISA right now and get yourself verified.
If you want to avail discounts on transportation, shopping, restaurants, hotel, and sightseeing through Europe, you are going to need an International Student Identity Card (ISIC). After proving that you are a student, you can easily get yourself registered and avail this card. Students under the age of 26, you can also use their ISIC as a credit card. Moreover, if you are teacher, you can get an International Teacher Identity Card (ITIC), and if you are a non-student traveler under the age of 26, you can get International Youth Travel Card (IYTC). These cards work the same way as ISIC, cost about $25 and are valid for a year.
The Bottom Line
Before your trip, you make a lot of copies of these documents and leave some at home in case of an emergency. In Europe, it’s a lot easier to replace stolen or lost documents if you have a photocopy that proves your ownership.