We will be traveling from London to Paris on the Eurostar this summer. It just occurred to me this evening that we may need a visa to enter France. Do we??
Do American citizens need a visa to travel into France?
Americans don't need visa for all EU and Schengen countries. Two Schengen countries are not in EU: Switzerland and Norway. As an American citizen you don't need visa for France. Let's hope that politics won't go the way, well, let's say wrong way so to say not yet wouldn't be indicated.
You don't need a visa for the average summer vacation if you plan to stay for 90 or fewer days.
Presently, no visa is needed. At one time a visa was required. I went over at that time and had to get a visa stamped into my US Passport. That was in the summer of 1987. Of course, ordinary west European tourists coming to the US were required to have a visa.
C.M. No visa needed.
The actual limit for US citizens in the Schengen Area without a visa is 90 days in any 180. That limit is for the Schengen area as a whole, for example 70 days in France, 15 in Germany and 5 in Italy would add up to your 90 day limit. Note the "in any 180" clause, exiting and re-entering the Schengen Area does not give you any extra time, unless you are over 180 days after your first arrival.
The UK is not in Schengen, your time in London does not count against your 90 days. The UK has a separate limit.
Travelling by Eurostar you will go through French Immigration, and have your passport stamped, at London St Pancras station before you get on the train. This is why you have to be through the ticket barrier 45 mins. before departure.
For more info on Eurostar, including a video, see here: http://www.seat61.com/London-to-Paris-by-train.htm
Iceland is also not in the EU but is in Schengen.
Countries in Schengen but not in EU: Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, plus the "micro-countries" (Vatican city, Monaco etc.)
Countries in the EU but not in Schengen: Ireland, UK, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus.
given the current treatment of foreign visitors to the US I suspect Americans will soon find their generally preferential treatment in Europe diminished. but at least at present no visa is required for Schengen for a visit of up to 90 days. The UK is not part of Schengen so one can head for England when the Schengen period expires if you are taking a long trip.
try immigration with extended visa -- in Italy I was whisked past long waiting rooms of people from less privileged countries to get my permisso. Yes non EU citizens have longer lines -- but I have yet to hear of American being pulled out and detained and questioned and deprived of food and drink for 12 hours as we are now routinely doing to people coming from France to deliver speeches (just happened last week). We just forbid a group of child gymnists from tibet in to compete in a meet. These kinds of behaviors are likely to be mirrored as more and more international tourists get this kind of treatment in the US.
I've also not noticed or experienced preferential treatment as an American.
As an American you get preferential treatment simply by virtue of the fact that you don't need a visa to enter a Schengen country. Not every country's citizens get that benefit.
I seriously doubt that European countries are going to start requiring visas for Americans because the US is restricting immigration because the countries in Europe are not targets of the US restrictions. Visa requirements can be very tit for tat. When the US started requiring visas for Brazilians, Brazil responded by requiring visas for Americans. When the US starts requiring visas for Britons and the French and the Germans, etc. to visit, which will never happen, we can expect that those countries will respond in kind.
Traveling in yesteryear gives some examples of mandatory visas. In the Cold War days only the Soviet block countries required you to get a visa prior to entry. That was true for me in July 1973 prior to going to Czechoslovakia (CSSR), I got the visa in Paris, likewise in Vienna in '77 but I canceled the last minute. I had intended to go to Pilsen.
No country in western Europe required a visa from Americans, but the US made a visa mandatory for visitors from France, W Germany coming here in the 1970s and '80s. I met some. On the 1987 trip France made a visa mandatory for US tourists, slapped a tourist visa on us which I did not experience in the 1970s from any west European country. That's what they looked for, the visa stamped in my Passport, when I arrived in Boulogne by ferry that summer. No such requirement from W Germany and the UK in 1987, those were the three countries on that trip's itinerary.
"...which will never happen...." It certainly did in the past, when those countries did not make it mandatory of US tourists going over there. True that countries retaliate by requiring visas.
In 1999 traveling with a friend in Berlin, I could have gone over to Poland, when she decided to do on a whim a day trip to Poland, ie, to the city of Poznan. So, she went solo for the day, no visa requirements since she had an US Passport. Had she been Canadian on a Canadian passport, she would have had to obtain a visa first at the Polish Consulate in Berlin before just taking off on the train Berlin Zoo to Poznan. Both Canada and Poland had slapped visas on each others' citizens.
but I have yet to hear of American being pulled out and detained and questioned and deprived of food and drink for 12 hours as we are now routinely doing to people coming from France to deliver speeches (just happened last week)
Doing it once suddenly becomes routine? A person was denied entry into the U.S. because they were from France? Would you please give me a reference to this as I couldn't find it. I could find where a French MP going to Canada to give a speech was denied entry into Canada. Or are you referring to the group trying to cross into the U.S. to attend a rally in Washington?
And in regard to the Tibetan Soccer team, did you read the reasons why they were denied or just the headline?
None of these are regular tourists just trying to do some sightseeing.
Here it is:
Note that this person was allowed into the US finally because the Embassy got involved.
The initial issue is that this person was scheduled to speak at Texas A&M University and receive an honorarium, which he clearly stated on his entry paperwork. He has done this multiple times before at multiple US Universities. He did not have a work permit and the Border agent felt this was a violation of the visitor visa program to receive payment for the speech without one.
Who knows whether or how this proposal might advance, but thought this may be of interest:
"EU threatens to introduce visas for US travellers"
Yes, the European Parliament voted and has 2 months to implement a visa requirement on US passport holders. This is in response to the US requiring visas for citizens of 5 EU countries. They say free entry for all EU citizens. So unless it's worked out, travel will be more complicated.
A work permit is explicitly not required for academics traveling to make speeches in the US; the guard was just enjoying pushing someone around. Heck a green card holding businessman from Argentina who has lived in the US and has a gallery in NYC was deported when he tried to return from a visit to family. American citizens like Muhammad Ali and his mother were detained for a long time and grilled about their religion.
Expect retaliation. And in fact retaliatory policy has been introduced for Schengen that would require Americans to get Visas. I don't expect it to pass because of the economic damage but it certainly could.
You might. Another worry-some report today that the EU may take steps to require visas in response to recent actions by the U.S. I hope Rick Steves will chime in on this and one other report listed in today's forum.
The European Parliament vote re visas was a non-binding referendum vote, but it does indicate that it could happen down the road.