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Do Americans Need a Schengen Visa to Travel to Europe


More than 17 million Americans traveled to Europe in 2018, an increase of 12.3% from the previous year, according to a report by the US Department of Commerce. The reason for Europe being one of America’s favorite destinations is that despite covering just 2% of the Earth’s surface, it is home to a plethora of countries with diverse cultures, incredible natural beauty and amazing gastronomic delights.

Do US Citizens Need a Schengen Visa?

Traveling to Europe as a US citizen is quite easy, since you do not need a visa to travel to any of the 26 countries bound by the Schengen agreement. However, for you to enjoy a visa-free visit, the duration of the trip must be less than 90 days, within a six-month period. However, there are certain circumstances under which you will need to apply for a visa, such as:

  • US citizens who have been previously denied entry into Europe need to apply for a Schengen visa.
  • Nationals of a third country, who are residing in the US on a temporary or permanent basis, are required to apply for a Schengen visa.

What Documents are Required Upon Entry?

Although US nationals do not need a visa, certain documents will need to be produced at the port of entry into the Schengen zone. These documents include:

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Valid Passport

You need to have passport that is valid for at least 90 days after the completion of you trip. The passport should also have at least two blank pages. 

Financial Documents

You will need to provide documents that prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself through the entire duration of the trip.

Purpose of Travel

You also need to provide a valid reason for your travel to Europe, along with any documents that support this purpose. 

Apart from these, you might need some additional documents specific to certain countries, about which you can know from the specific embassies.

Is Travel Health Insurance Necessary for US Citizens?

Travel health insurance is not mandatory for US nationals traveling to the Schengen area. However, it is always a good idea to have insurance, given that emergencies, especially medical ones, usually come unannounced. And, most leave end up ruining your holiday budget.

What to Expect Upon Arrival in the Schengen Zone?

Once you have arrived at the border of a Schengen country, you will need to provide your passport and all the documents and then go through customs. After this, if your entry is approved, your passport would be stamped with the date of your arrival in the country. You are now free to roam through the entire Schengen zone for a duration of up to 90 days within a six-month period. 

For any additional information, it is advisable to visit the embassy of the specific country you wish to visit. In case you are planning to visit multiple countries, you visit the embassy of the country you will be spending your most time in.

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Blogger, Entrepreneur, Mentor. Having lived in the US and the Middle East for about a decade, and gone through immigration many times, I have a lot to share. Add me on Facebook or contact me on WhatsApp +0014084894785

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