Travel planning

Passports, visas, travel authorizations and customs

Passports and travel

Having the right travel documents is crucial to being able to travel the world, so don’t leave home without the correct items. Here are some helpful tips as you get ready to plan.

Generally, USA and Canadian passport holders can enter any European country visa-free for visits up to 90 days within a 180-day period (use the Schengen Calculator if you’d like to learn more about the exact timing and how to calculate the 90/180 Day Rule). Entering Chile or Argentina also allows a stay of up to 90 days for these passport holders. For some passport holders, a Reciprocity Fee may need to be paid before entering a country.

ETIAS – European Travel Information and Authorization System

Slated for launch in 2025, ETIAS travel authorization is an entry requirement for visa-exempt nationals travelling to any of these 30 European countries

It is not a visa but is an equivalent to the ESTA authorization that visa-exempt nationals from third countries need to have in order to enter the USA, or the ETA authorization for Canada. Similar to the two examples listed, it intends to facilitate traveler screening.

Get all the details you need and sign up for announcements on the official information page for ETIAS.

If you are a US, Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport holder, you will need an ETIAS travel authorization. Check this list for other countries.

ETIAS is not currently active. Once it is, ETIAS will be an online application form. It is recommended to fill it out about 96 hours before travel. Processing should be immediate and the authorization will be issued in electronic format.

The form will ask for personal biometric data like name, gender, date of birth, the applicant’s passport information, questions on travel plans and background questions about health and criminal record and potential EU immigration history.

The application will be associated with a small fee (approximately $7), with applicants under 18 and over 70 years of age exempt.

Each Travel Authorization will be valid for 3 years, but will end sooner if the linked passport expires sooner. With the same ETIAS, travelers can enter and exit Europe multiple times within the allowed 90/180 Day Rule time frame.

ETIAS will be required by the airline carrier during the check-in process, and it will be checked again by border control.

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YOU NEED A PASSPORT! No matter your nationality, make sure you have a passport that is valid beyond your travel date. Check yours today!

For travelers with a US-passport, required passport validity is at least six months beyond the date you intend to return to the USA. No matter your nationality, make sure you are familiar with the validity requirements.

For US-passports, you can obtain application and renewal forms online at the US Department of State, or locally at any post office. It can take up to six weeks to receive your passport, so plan accordingly.

Should this happen to you while abroad please let your Tour Leader know right away so they can facilitate and support to contact the consulate or embassy of your country. Most countries provide guidelines on what to do online. For example, the US Department of State’s Lost or Stolen Passport page is very helpful.

When traveling abroad, it’s a good idea to carry a copy of your passport with you. Make sure you carry the copy separate from your actual passport and leave another copy with someone at home. With smartphones and cloud storage, it may also be helpful to have digital copies you can access while traveling.

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Visas and Customs

US-American and Canadian passport holders do not need a visa to visit any European country, Chile or Argentina for periods of less than three months.

Customs is fairly easy these days as long as you are not trying to smuggle forbidden items. Even fruit is sometimes considered contraband so be aware of what you have packed away.

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