A large portion of Americans consider a trip to Europe to be the ultimate dream vacation. With so many countries so tightly packed together, visiting the many nations of this continent lets you immerse yourself in a wide variety of cultures and environments in a short period of time.
You can spend a whole summer backpacking through the major cities of 10 different countries, or you can take two weeks and hit England, Scotland, and France without breaking a sweat. The possibilities are truly endless.
With so many options and so many places to visit in Europe, you’re going to need to do a lot of planning and figuring in order to make your vacation the best it can be. You’ll have to figure out plane tickets, train schedules, tours, hotels… the works! Fortunately, one thing you may not need to figure out is Europe visas.
If you are a US passport holder, you can visit 26 different European countries without a travel visa. These countries, as well as 12 others around the world, are part of the Visa Waiver Program. This means that those 38 countries and the United States have reciprocal agreements that allow our citizens to visit their countries and their citizens to visit our country without a travel visa for up to 90 days.
This policy is a lifesaver for Americans hoping to hit multiple countries on their once-in-a-lifetime European vacations. Imagine what a hassle it would be if you had to complete a separate visa application every time you crossed a national border in Europe. It would be a paperwork nightmare!
The system we have in place now is much more efficient for travelers. You won’t need any Europe visas if you visit Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, or Switzerland. (Talk about a mouthful!)
If you’re considering a country that isn’t on this list, it’s best to contact Swift to find out if you do in fact need a visa to Europe ahead of time. And remember that when you travel to Europe — or anywhere else — we are always here to answer your questions and help ensure that you have all of the up-to-date documents that you need to travel safely and soundly.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.