Visa-free travel: what travelers need to know to avoid problems?
Which European countries are now open to Ukrainian travelers?
Ukrainians can now travel without visas with a biometric passport to 30 European countries. They are divided into three blocks:
- 22 countries of the European Union that are part of the Schengen area: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Finland, France, Czech Republic , Sweden and Estonia;
- 4 EU countries that have not yet lifted controls on their internal borders: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania;
- 4 countries that are not part of the EU, but are members of the Schengen Agreement: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Two countries within the EU – Great Britain and Ireland – have their own migration policy, therefore, to visit them, citizens of Ukraine will still need to apply for visas.
In addition, the visa requirements for Ukrainian travelers were removed by 4 countries and territories that can only be reached in transit through the member states of the Schengen Agreement – these are Monaco, Andorra, San Marino and the Vatican.
The main rules for a visa-free regime with the EU:
- have a biometric passport;
- stay in the EU for no more than 90 days within a 180-day period;
- be able to justify the purpose of the visit when crossing the border;
- during a visa-free trip, do not get a job, even a short-term one – for this purpose, you must apply for a work visa.
There is no mandatory requirement to replace an ordinary passport with a biometric one. Holders of old-style passports can continue to travel to the EU on a valid visa until its expiration, and then again apply to consulates for new visas.
What documents can you ask a traveler at the border with the EU?
Crossing the border with European countries by foreigners is regulated by the Schengen Border Code. The border check is based on its rules and comes down to the main task – to make sure that the traveler does not plan to violate European immigration rules.
Both “visa” and “visa-free” foreigners are subject to the same 5 requirements:
- availability of a document for crossing the border (for example, a passport);
- convincing justification of the purpose and conditions of stay in European countries;
- availability of sufficient financial means for staying in the EU and for returning home;
- the absence of the traveler in the list of persons who are prohibited from entering the EU;
- no threat from the traveler to public order, security and international relations.
List of documents that the border guard may ask for, depends on the purpose of the trip… The traveler can choose which document to present to him at the border to confirm the purpose of the trip, conditions of stay and financial viability.
For business travel / business trip it could be:
- invitation to the event;
- other document confirming a trade or business relationship;
- a ticket to an event, if the purpose of the trip is to visit it.
For business trips, a return ticket is not included in the list of mandatory documents, since the period of a business visit may be delayed. But it is important to be ready to explain this to the border guard.
For tourism or private travel you can present:
- accommodation booking or invitation is not an official “visa”, but arbitrary, if you are going to stay with friends;
- return ticket (if you are traveling by car, this is not a requirement);
- route or plan of your trip if you are traveling by car.
As proof of financial viability or travel security, the traveler may provide such confirmation options (of your choice):
- travel checks
- paid accommodation and tickets
- financial guarantees of the inviting party
- credit cards of international payment systems
Important! Bank statements on account status, employment certificates and other similar documents not included in the list and not required to provide.
Health insurance policy not included in the package of required documents, but it is worth making it out to be sure during the trip. Also, if you are traveling by your own car, you will be required to have a policy civil liability (the so-called “green card”).
The material was prepared according to the data of the “Vidkriy Evropu” campaign – you can get more information on the website http://openeurope.in.ua/.
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