What You Need to Know About Visas Before Backpacking Europe

Imagine walking down the cobblestone streets of Paris or sailing between gorgeous Greek islands. Backpacking Europe is an experience like no other. It allows you to get to know each country, its traditions, and its people on a more personal level.

Whether you happen to be a recent graduate entering a gap year or a seasoned professional in-between jobs, you may find yourself about to embark on a new adventure. Apart from the thrill of traveling, there’s no denying that backpacking through Europe entails organizing and planning out logistics. And one of these logistics could involve acquiring visas for backpacking. That’s why our team at CIBTvisas is here to provide you with the necessary tips for being prepared to acquire a backpacker visa. We want you to be fully ready for the amazing journey ahead.

Do Your Research

Along with 63 other countries, the European Union (EU) allows U.S. citizens to enter the Schengen Zone without needing a visa. The Schengen Zone currently comprises 26 countries across Europe, including some countries that are not EU members, such as Iceland or Switzerland. As an American, you can freely backpack Europe for a maximum of 90 days without needing to obtain a Schengen visa for short-term tourism or a business trip.

Although you will not be required to carry a visa within your first 90 days of backpacking, it’s best to make sure you’re well prepared. Before you even begin your trip, research each country you plan to visit and its individual visa requirements. If you plan on staying longer than 90 days in the Schengen Zone, CIBTvisas can help you complete visa requirements three months ahead of your departure, giving you adequate time to acquire your visa.

Understand The Schengen Visa

Even if you aren’t planning to backpack in Europe for longer than 90 days, it’s important to fully understand what a Schengen visa is and how it works. A Schengen visa, also known as a “short-stay visa,” allows you to travel throughout the EU for an additional 90 days. You will need to provide a list of items to obtain this visa, such as:

  • Valid Passport or Travel Document
  • A Cover Letter
  • Means of Subsistence
  • Europe Travel Health Insurance

CIBTvisas will help you compile and submit the needed documents. We will also assist in figuring out which Schengen visa type you need, as well as giving you updated information on the status of your visa application.

Be Prepared for ETIAS

Although U.S. citizens are currently allowed to backpack in the Schengen Zone for 90 days, there is a new requirement coming into effect at the beginning of 2023. Backpackers and other travelers must apply for an ETIAS (Europeans Travel Information and Authorization System) visa waiver before arrival. It will be valid for 90-day stays, meaning that should you wish to extend your stay, you will still need to obtain a Schengen visa.

CIBTvisas will guide you through filing the ETIAS application. It is a fairly simple online process that should take roughly 10 minutes. The ETIAS is valid for three years from the date approved, allowing you to travel back to Europe for more backpacking adventures! Some information needed for an ETIAS visa waiver includes:

  • Full Name
  • Date & Place of Birth
  • Current Address
  • Passport and other nationality details
Make CIBTvisas Your Backpacking Partner

We’re so excited for you to experience Europe like never before. And here at CIBTvisas, we would love to stand with you as you embark on travel backpacking. Rely on our team to provide information and support for acquiring each of your visa and passport needs.

So whether you’re eager to explore Germany, Italy, or Finland, chat with us today. Explore freely, knowing we’ll be with you every step of the way.

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