GENERAL INFORMATION FOR ADULTS

 

DOCUMENTS YOU NEED FOR TRAVEL IN EUROPE

Check what travel documents you'll need to cross the border into another EU country (In this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland)

  • Travel documents for EU nationals

If you are an EU national or a national of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, you do not need to show your national ID card or passport when you are travelling from one border-free Schengen EU country to another.

Even if you don't need a passport for border checks within the Schengen area, it is still always highly recommended to take a passport or ID card with you, so you can prove your identity if needed (if stopped by police, boarding a plane, etc.). Schengen EU countries have the possibility of adopting national rules obliging you to hold or carry papers and documents when you are present on their territory.

Driving licences, post, bank or tax cards are not accepted as valid travel documents or proof of identity.

Under Schengen rules, in extenuating circumstances, where a threat to public policy or national security has been identified Member States are permitted to reintroduce temporary border controls. Ensure that you have either your ID or passport in your possession when travelling to these countries.  Also bear in mind that even under normal circumstances you may be required to produce one of these documents.

 

The border-free Schengen area includes:
Austria
Hungary
Norway
Belgium
Iceland
Poland
Czech Republic
Italy
Portugal
Denmark
Latvia
Slovakia
Estonia
Liechtenstein
Slovenia
Finland
Lithuania
Spain
France
Luxembourg
Sweden
Germany
Malta
Switzerland.
Greece
Netherlands
 

 

You must still show a valid ID card or passport (obligatory for Swedish citizens) when travelling to or from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom. Though part of the EU, these countries do not belong to the border-free Schengen area. Before travelling, check what documents you must have to travel outside your home country and to enter the non Schengen EU country you plan to visit.

·Expired or lost passports

Under EU rules, all travellers (including infants) need a valid ID card or passport to travel.

But, if you have:

  • lost your passport or had it stolen
  • realised that your passport has expired

the EU countries have systems in place to deal with such cases.

It is, though, up to each EU country to decide whether and/or when it allows EU citizens to enter or exit their territory without a valid travel document.

As there are no EU rules on travelling without a valid travel document, conditions and procedures vary widely from country to country (and may change without notice). If you have already set off on your trip and:

  • you're in the EU, your first port of call should be your country's consulate or embassy.
  • you find yourself outside the EU, where your country does not have a consulate or embassy, you have the right to seek consular protection from any other EU country.

Bear in mind that, even where some countries allow you to leave or enter their territory without a valid travel document, you may still need to show one in countries you are transiting through.

·Documents for minors

In addition to their own valid passport or ID card, all children travelling:

  • alone; or
  • with adults who are not their legal guardian; or
  • with only one parent

may need an extra (official) document signed by their parents, second parent or legal guardian(s) authorising them to travel.

There are no EU rules on this matter, each EU country decides whether or not it requires such documents.

Bear in mind that, even where a country does not require minors to carry such an authorisation to leave or enter its territory, other countries they transit through may still ask them to show one.

When travelling by air it is highly recommended that you check with the airlines beforehand as many require such authorisations and have their own specific forms for this purpose.

As each country's rules may change without notice you are also encouraged to check with the authorities themselves or with the respective embassies or consulates.

·Entry refusal

In very rare cases, an EU country can refuse entry to you or your family members for reasons of "public policy, public security or public health".

This means the authorities must prove you or your family members pose a "genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat".

You are entitled to receive this decision in writing, stating all the grounds, and specifying how you can appeal and by when.

·Travel documents for non-EU nationals

Passport/Visa requirements

If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a passport:

  • valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting,
  • which was issued within the previous 10 years,

and possibly a visa. Apply for a visa from the consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting. If your visa is from a Schengen area country, it automatically allows you to travel to the other Schengen countries as well. If you have a valid residence permit from one of those Schengen countries, it is equivalent to a visa. You may need a national visa to visit non-Schengen countries.

Border officials in EU countries may ask for other supporting documents such as an invitation letter, proof of lodging, return or round-trip ticket. For the precise requirements contact the local consular services of the EU country in question.

There are a number of countries whose nationals do not need a visa to visit the EU for three months or less. The list of countries whose nationals require visas to travel to the United Kingdom or Ireland differs slightly from other EU countries.

Entry conditions to the United Kingdom or Ireland are based on their respective national law and differ from the EU rules.

·Other documents

Do not forget your travel, health and/or car insurance documents.

 

PASSENGER RIGHTS

Have you experienced delays and cancellations?

Do you have special mobility needs?

As an air, rail, ship or bus passenger, you have rights when travelling in the EU (in this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Norway and Switzerland)

·Travellers with reduced mobility

Flying

If you have reduced mobility, you should still have access to air travel like anyone else.

You are also entitled to assistance, free of charge, getting on and off the plane, during the flight and in airports before and after the flight.

To get the best assistance, contact the airline, ticket seller or tour operator at least 48 hours before your trip and explain what kinds of assistance you require. They will also advise on your wheelchair or mobility device and, where applicable, their batteries.

You can't be denied boarding because of your reduced mobility, unless the aircraft is physically too small or there are security concerns.

Airlines do not have to provide help with eating or taking medication during a flight. If you need this type of help, for example during a longer flight, airlines might request that you be accompanied by another person.

If you have problems getting help while travelling, you should tell the airport authorities or the airline concerned.

If you are not satisfied with their reply, you can contact the national enforcement body in the country where the incident happened.

 

WHAT CAN YOU TAKE WITH YOU?

When travelling to another EU country (in this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), it's a good idea to know what you can carry with you in your luggage. Are there maximum amounts for certain products?

Will you need to declare how much cash you are carrying or pay taxes on it?

·Taking alcohol, tobacco and cash with you

Alcohol and tobacco

When travelling from one EU country (in this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) to another, you can take tobacco and alcohol products with you for personal use, but not for resale.

Under EU law, you do not have to prove the goods are for your personal use if you are carrying less than:

  • 800 cigarettes
  • 400 cigarillos
  • 200 cigars
  • 1 kg of tobacco
  • 10 litres of spirits
  • 20 litres of fortified wine
  • 90 litres of wine (including a maximum of 60 litres of sparkling wines)
  • 110 litres of beer.

EU countries may limit the number of cigarettes you can bring with you from certain other EU countries which do not yet charge the minimum level of excise duty. This limit cannot be lower than 300 cigarettes. Check with the customs authorities of the country where you are going before you travel.

If you are carrying more tobacco or alcohol than the amounts automatically allowed for personal use, you may be asked:

  • to prove that they are for your personal use
  • to produce proof of purchase (receipt or invoice).

If you are travelling with tobacco or alcohol and you stay within the personal-use thresholds, you won't have to pay excise duty in the EU country you are going to.

These rules do not apply for travellers under 17 years old, who are not allowed to carry alcohol or tobacco in any amounts. There is no duty-free shopping for travellers going from one EU country to another.

Cash

If you want to travel between EU countries (in this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) with 10,000 euros or more in cash or the equivalent in another currency, you must check with the customs authorities in the countries you are leaving, entering and passing through whether you must declare it.

If you plan to enter or leave the EU with 10 000 euros or more in cash (or its equivalent in other currencies) you must declare it to the customs authorities.

 

MONEY & CHARGES

Whether it's the cost of calling home or charges applied when paying for your purchases, the EU makes sure you are not being overcharged or charged twice while on the move.

·Mobile roaming costs

When you use your mobile phone in other EU countries – to call, text (send SMS messages) or go online – there's a limit on what your operator can charge you.

Throughout the EU, the "Eurotariff" for roaming means the cost of using these services is capped – to put a stop to excessive prices.

The maximum tariffs for calls, texts and going online (data download) are:

 
1 July 2014
30 April 2016
15 June 2017**
Outgoing voice calls (per minute)
€0.19
domestic price + up to €0.05
no extra roaming fee, same as domestic price

 

Incoming voice calls (per minute)
€0.05
domestic price + up to €0.01
Outgoing texts (per text)
€0.06
domestic price + up to €0.02
Online (data download, per MB*)
€0.20
domestic price + up to €0.05

* The cap is per MB but you will be charged per Kilobyte used.

Prices exclude VAT.

** Roaming charges will no longer apply, as long as you are using your phone abroad temporarily. Providers can still charge you for using your SIM card in another country permanently.

These price caps apply to everybody – unless you have opted for a specific service or package. Of course, your provider is free to offer you cheaper rates, so it pays to look out for good deals.

Notification of prices

When you cross a border within the EU, your mobile operator must send you a text telling you the price for making and receiving calls, texting and going online (data download) in the EU country you've just entered.

Protection against "bill shock"

To protect you against excessive data roaming bills, the volume of downloaded data on your mobile device is capped, worldwide, at €50 (or the equivalent in another currency), unless you have agreed to a different limit with your operator. You will also receive a warning when you reach 80% of this agreed limit.

What to do if things go wrong

If you think your service provider has breached your rights as regards these prices and conditions for roaming services:

  • contact the service provider/vendor pointing out your rights and their obligations and ask them to solve the problem before you're forced to take the matter further.
     
  • if you're not satisfied with your provider's response, you can contact the relevant national regulatory authorities. They may have the power to resolve the dispute. In many cases, they have set up special procedures and sort things out fairly and quickly. You can submit complaints to them about terms & conditions, quality of service, access to networks and services, and roaming services.

VAT REFUNDS AND EXCISE DUTIES

VAT refunds

If you are visiting from outside the EU you are entitled to a VAT refund on goods you have bought during your stay in the EU if the goods are shown to customs on departure within three months of their purchase together with the VAT refund documents. These are normally prepared by the seller although, as the scheme is voluntary, not all merchants participate. Some countries set a minimum value of purchases to qualify for a refund.

Excise duties

If you enter the EU from outside, you can bring with you goods free of VAT and excise duties for personal use within the limits set out below. The same applies if you come from the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar or other territories where EU rules on VAT and excise do not apply.

Alcoholic drinks

  • 1 litre of spirits over 22 % vol. or 2 litres of fortified or sparkling wine
  • 4 litres of still wine
  • 16 litres of beer

Tobacco products

There is a higher or lower limit depending on the country you are visiting if you are coming from outside the EU. If an EU country decides to apply the lower limits, it may choose to apply them only to land and sea travellers (Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia) or to all travellers (Estonia and Romania).

Higher limit

Lower limit

200 cigarettes or
100 cigarillos or
50 cigars or
250 g tobacco

40 cigarettes or
20 cigarillos or
10 cigars or
50 g tobacco

Other goods including perfume

Up to a value of €300 per traveller or €430 for travellers by air and sea is allowed. Some EU countries apply a lower limit of €150 for travellers under 15.

 

THE €URO, CASH TRANSFERS AND PAYING BY CARD

·The €uro

You can use the euro in 19 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

You can use all the notes and coins in all EU countries that have adopted the euro, including many of their overseas territories, such as the Azores, the Canaries, Ceuta and Melilla, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Madeira, Martinique, Mayotte, Réunion, Saint Barthélemy, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City use the euro as their national currency, in agreement with the EU. A number of countries and territories use the euro as their de facto currency such as Kosovo and Montenegro.

·Cash transfers and paying by card

When travelling, most of us avoid carrying large amounts of cash. We often rely on our debit/credit cards to cover our day-to-day expenses during our trips. As long as the payments you make are carried out in euro and within the EU, you should be charged no more for them than for any national electronically processed payment of the same value in euros.

These rules also apply to transactions in euro (e.g. between euro accounts) in countries outside the euro area and to payments in Swedish krona and Romanian lei.

 

SAFETY

Make sure your trip goes as smoothly and safely as possible by reading up on information that could come in handy before you set off, while en route or when you get there.

·Air safety/security

Hand luggage and hold luggage

When travelling by plane from an airport in the EU (in this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), you should keep in mind certain security requirements when packing and boarding:

  • Liquids carried in the aircraft cabin such as aerosols, drinks, toothpaste, cosmetic creams or gels must be carried in a transparent plastic bag - maximum capacity 1 litre - and no container may hold more than 100 ml. Liquid containers larger than 100 ml must be placed in checked baggage. The volume restriction does not apply to medicines and baby food.
     
  • Duty free liquids purchased from any airport or airline may be carried as hand luggage as long as the item and the receipt remain sealed inside the security bag (with a red border) provided at the time of purchase. You may not open the security bag until arrival at your final destination. However, security officers may need to open the bag and the bottles for screening. If this happens, and you have a connecting flight at another airport, tell the security officer so the liquids can be re-sealed in a new security bag.
     
  • Any sharp objects that might be used as weapons are not allowed in the aircraft cabin. These could be everyday objects such as corkscrews knives and scissors of a certain size, which should be packed in your hold luggage.
     
  • Limits on the size of cabin baggage and the number of items you are allowed to take on board are set by the airlines so check with your airline before you travel.
     
  • Explosives and inflammable items - fireworks or aerosol spray paint for example, and other inflammable and toxic substances such as acids - are prohibited on flights. They may not be carried in either cabin or checked baggage.
     
  • No weapons of any kind are allowed on board the aircraft.

Check your airport's website for a detailed list of prohibited items or ask your airline before travelling.

For general safety, all travel items are scanned or otherwise checked before being allowed into airport security zones.

Cockpit doors are kept locked to prevent unauthorised persons from entering the flight deck.

·Use of body scanners at EU airports

At any EU airport, passengers may be screened by body scanners, either as the primary method of screening or as an additional method to resolve the cause of any alarms.

It is up to each EU country to decide whether to use these, but if a country has chosen this option it must comply with EU rules. If you are asked to undergo screening by such a scanner you should know, in particular, that:

  • you must be given the possibility of opting out from a body scanner. In this case you  will be screened by an alternative method including at least a hand search;
  • you must be given full information on the technology used before you are screened;
  • you can ask that the image of your body is analysed by a human reviewer of the gender of your choice;
  • the human reviewer will be somewhere else and will not be able to see you;
  • the image will be blurred so you cannot be identified and the images cannot be copied, stored or printed;
  • only scanners which do not use ionizing radiation can be used.

·Airlines banned within the EU

All airlines operating flights that begin or end in the EU (in this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) must meet certain safety standards. Some airlines across the world operate in conditions below European safety levels and may therefore either:

  • be banned from operating at all in European airspace
  • be allowed to operate only under certain specific conditions

If you are concerned about aircraft safety, you can check the list of airlines banned within the EU.

IN AN EMERGENCY

·112: single EU emergency number

112 is the European emergency number you can dial free of charge from fixed and mobile phones everywhere in the EU. It will get you straight through to the emergency services - police, ambulance, fire brigade.

National emergency numbers are still in use too, alongside 112. But 112 is the only number you can use to access the emergency services in all EU countries.

112 is also used in some countries outside the EU - such as Switzerland and South Africa.

How does it work?

  • You can call 112 from fixed and mobile phones to contact any emergency service: an ambulance, the fire brigade or the police.
     
  • A specially trained operator will answer any 112 call. The operator will either deal with the request directly or transfer the call to the most appropriate emergency service depending on the national organisation of emergency services.
     
  • Operators in many countries can answer the calls not only in their national language, but also in English or French. If the caller does not know where he is, the operator will identify where the person making the call is physically located and will pass it to the emergency authorities so that these can help immediately.
     
  • 112 is also used in some countries outside the EU - such as Switzerland and South Africa - and is available worldwide on GSM mobile networks.

 

EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD

 

When you're travelling in the EU, remember to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. If you need emergency medical care, the EHIC card will simplify the paperwork and help you get refunded for any public health care expenses.

·What is the European Health Insurance Card?

A free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.

Cards are issued by your national health insurance provider.

Important – the European Health Insurance Card:

  • is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property,
  • does not cover your costs if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment,
  • does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different services that cost nothing at home might not be free in another country.

 

Source: http://europa.eu/ - Official website of the European Union