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What documents do you need when traveling to EU countries?

| Monika Kraska |

Are you going to travel to the European Union countries? Or maybe you have a move ahead of you? If so, you certainly want to know what you need to bring with you to cross the borders of foreign countries without any problems. Visa, passport, or maybe just an ID card? What documents do you need to travel within the European Union?

Passport – Is it needed to travel within the EU?

A passport is a document that confirms a person’s identity, as well as his citizenship. European Union citizens can move around most EU countries on its basis, but they do not have to. That means that when visiting Schengen countries, you do not need to show any documents – however, for identification purposes, it is advisable to carry an ID card.

The Schengen zone includes 26 countries, 22 of which are members of the European Union. These are: Poland, Belgium, Finland, Estonia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Slovakia, Netherlands, Malta, Hungary, Sweden, and Luxembourg. The remaining 4 countries, namely Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, are not members of the European Union, but their citizens can still cross their borders without a passport.

There are 5 countries that belong to the European Union but are not in the Schengen area. These countries are Romania, Ireland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Croatia. In their case, it is necessary to show a passport or ID card when crossing the border.

Citizens of non-EU countries are, in any case, necessarily required to have a valid passport to travel within the Schengen zone and the rest of the European Union.

Visa – Who must have one when traveling within the EU?

Being a citizen of the European Union and wishing to travel within its territory, you do not need a visa. The situation is similar for citizens of 41 non-EU countries who intend to visit the EU for up to 3 months. Among these countries, we find, among others, the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. 

A visa obtained in one of the Schengen countries allows you to move around all its countries. The same situation applies to a residence permit. If, on the other hand, you want to visit a country outside the Schengen zone, you will probably need a separate visa.

Do you need a passport to go to England?

On 01.02.2020, the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union. That means that the rules for entering its territory are different from Schengen countries. From October 1, 2021, crossing the border of the UK requires the identification of a valid passport. Unfortunately, entry into the country is not possible based on an ID card alone. An exception is made for those with settled status (permanently or temporarily) in the UK. Moreover, unless you are going to England for tourism or business (up to 6 months), you will also need a visa.