Travel to European Countries in the Schengen Area (passport info reminder)
Check the expiration date on your passport carefully before traveling to Europe. Entry into any of the 26 European countries in the Schengen areafor short-term tourism, a business trip, or in transit to a non-Schengen destination, requires that your passport be valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure. If your passport does not meet the Schengen requirements, you may be refused boarding by the airline at your point of origin or while transferring planes. You could also be denied entry when you arrive in the Schengen area. For this reason,we recommend that your passport have at least six months’validity remaining whenever you travel abroad. You can find passport validity requirements for your destination country, along with other important information, on our Country Specific Information pages. To ensure that your travel plans are not disrupted, plan ahead to renew your passport before traveling. Visit our passport website for more information on applying for a new or renewal passport.
The European countries that make up the Schengen area are enforcing the requirement that short-term tourism or business visitors’ passports be valid for at least three months beyond the intended date of departure from the Schengen area, though adherence varies from country to country. Some Schengen countries assume all travelers will stay the full three months allowed for visa-free visitors, meaning you may not be admitted unless your passport is valid for at least six months, regardless of the duration of your stay. This requirement may also apply if you are transiting a Schengen airport for several hours en route to a non-Schengen destination.
If you are a U.S. citizen with a valid U.S. passport traveling for tourism or business, you can apply to enter the Schengen area without a visa for a period of three months within each six-month period. If you spend three months in the Schengen area during any six-month period, you must wait another three months before you can apply to enter the Schengen area again without a visa. If you do not meet these conditions, or plan to stay in the Schengen area longer than three months, contact the embassy of the country where you plan to spend the majority of your time to apply for a visa.
When you first cross any external border of the Schengen area and present your passport for entry, an immigration official will determine if you qualify for entry into the Schengen area. You may be denied entry if the officer determines you do not qualify for entry. When moving from one Schengen country to another, you do not need to show your passport until you exit the Schengen area. Ensure your passport is stamped upon entry and exit. For additional information on traveling to and within the Schengen area, see our FAQ below.
Courtesy of U.S. Department of State
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