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Visa Requirements for Backpacking Europe

Do I need visas to travel through Europe?

If you are an American citizen traveling for pleasure within Europe, and staying no longer than 90 days in most countries, you most likely don’t need a visa of any sort- just a passport, valid for at least 6 months after you plan to return home.

If you are a citizen of USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, or Japan, you most likely do not need a visa for the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

American citizens traveling to Turkey on U.S. passports must obtain a visa. Currently, holders of all types of passports can purchase a 90-day sticker visa at the port of entry for $20 cash if they are traveling to Turkey as tourists. For further information, travelers in the U.S. may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey at 2525 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 612-6700, or the Turkish consulates general in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, or New York. Information may also be found at Internet address http://www.turkey.org.

Russia's visa regulation's are complex. The State Department website read: "The Russian government maintains a restrictive and complicated visa regime for foreigners who visit, transit, or reside in the Russian Federation.  A U.S. citizen who does not comply with Russian visa laws can be subject to arrest, fines, and/or deportation.  Russian authorities will not allow a U.S. citizen traveler with an expired visa to depart the country, effectively stranding the person for up to 20 days, until local authorities grant an exit visa." For more on Russian visa requirements, go to http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1006.html.

In any case, for countries where you must get a visa in advance, you can deal directly with the consulate of the country or use a visa service. The service will be easier and slightly more expensive, and there are local visa agencies in your city as well as national online services.

BAKPAK DISCLAIMER: you should always check the US government’s travel website at http://travel.state.gov to not only make sure that the visa regulations listed above and passport rules have not changed, but to read about any news and safety updates from around the world according to Uncle Sam.