There are three types of authorized entry to Europe for International Vacationers:
1. Schengen Visa
2. ETIAS Visa Waiver.
3. Direct Visa application
1. Schengen Visa
In order to reduce the number of visas to travel through Europe, the EU established one border for the whole area. A Schengen visa is a short stay visa that allows the holder to enter and freely move within the Schengen area of 26 counties. These are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Who must apply?
The following nationals do not require a Schengen Visa. United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Albania, Andorra, Antigua & Bermuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Vatican City State, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela. In 2021 people from these countries will need to complete an ETAIS application (see below).
If your country does not appear above, then you will need a Schengen Visa.
How do I get a Schengen Visa?
You must lodge your application for a Schengen Visa at the Consulate of the country that you intend to visit. If you intend to visit more than one Schengen State, choose the country where you will spend the longest time. If you are visiting multiple counties choose the country where you intend to spend the most time. If you will visit several countries for an equal time period, choose the country where you will first arrive. You can check where the consulates are in your country by looking here.
The current cost for a Schengen Visa is €60 per person, €35 for children under the age of 12 years.
The application can be lodged up to 3 months prior to travel. We recommend getting your application in well before final payment of your tour. A decision is usually made within 15 days however, in individual cases it may take up to 30 days and exceptionally 60 days.
For up to date information about the Schengen Visa please read here.
2. ETIAS Visa Waiver
The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) Waiver Form is a digital system (similar to the USA’s ESTA) that allows entry and keep track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to the Schengen Zone. Travelers who fill out the ETIAS Waiver form authorize the EU to carry out pre-travel screening for security and migration risks of visa-exempt visitors. It was designed to save time and improve security.
Toward the end of 2021, non-Schengen visa travelers will have to complete an online application before visiting 22 of the Schengen countries which include:
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.
The online application takes around 10 minutes and includes passport, background and basic personal information such as drug use, terrorism, criminal history etc. The fee is €7 (approximately US$8) and is valid for three years.3
3. Applying Direct Per Country for a Visa
Some European countries are not currently operating under the Schengen agreement. These European countries are mostly in the Balkans and include Albania, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Europe is made of so many vastly different nations. The individual nation requirements change regularly and not in a unilateral way. Therefore, it is best to contact these countries directly to see what type of Visa, if any, is needed to gain entry.
Below is a list of European nations websites to find out directly whether or not you need a Visa and how to apply:
Bosnia and Herzegovina – http://msb.gov.ba/inf_za_strance/default.aspx?id=14555&langTag=en
Estonia – https://vm.ee/en/taxonomy/term/41
Finland – https://um.fi/visa-to-visit-finland
France – www.france-visas.gouv.fr
Greece – http://www.mfa.gr/en/visas/
Liechtenstein – http://www.llv.li/#/12341/visum (let Google translate the page)
Lithuania – http://keliauk.urm.lt/index.php/index-home-page/first/visas (let Google translate the page)
Norway – https://www.udi.no/en/
Romania – https://www.mae.ro/en/node/2035
Slovakia – https://www.mzv.sk/web/en
Switzerland – http://www.swiss-visa.ch
United Kingdom – https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/apply
This information is correct as of March 10, 2019 and is subject to change. It is always your responsibility to check your passport validity and any Visa requirements you may need for your tour, well before your departure date. Blue Danube Holidays do not apply for Visas or Visa Waivers on your behalf. However, we can assist by providing supporting documentation such as proof of your tour or cruise booking.