While the United States has been home to more than 5 million tourists a year, estimates are expected to decline dramatically by the end of the next decade. Tourists are now more likely to have fewer choices in decades to come, according to the European Travel Association (EED). The organization speculates that the rapid decrease will lead to a dramatic decline in the amount of affordable travel options available through local and international travel organizations. In turn, the decrease could also affect the amount of tourists visiting other countries.
In response to the possible reduction in European travel, many citizens of the United States are planning to pack their bags and head over to Europe. “Americans may have always considered Europe a second home, but with stricter visa requirements and an uncertain economy, they’re looking at it as a major vacation destination,” says Karen Lewis, a travel writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Some are making the move as early as Spring, but others are taking time out of the busy season to make the trip. “There’s definitely a feeling of anxiety among us because the economy isn’t really turning around yet,” says Jon Miller, a thirty-two year old architect from San Francisco. “Even if things do start to pick up, we don’t know how long that’ll last.”
If you are thinking about traveling to Europe, whether you are an American or a European national, you may be wondering what types of documentation you will need in order to stay legally. Many European governments require proof of citizenship before issuing a visa. Depending on where you are traveling to, a visa waiver may be required before entering the country. Lack of documentation can result in a hefty fine.
Some areas of Spain require proof of nationality upon arrival, while others do not. In most cases, tourists will receive a Spanish Passport upon arrival. This permits free movement throughout Spain, as well as access to certain public and private facilities. Some tourist zones, such as the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, are especially welcoming non-Spanish citizens. But, for the most part, people staying in Spain do not need a passport in order to travel abroad.
For those who plan to stay for more than 3 months, it is advisable to apply for and receive a visa waiver before leaving for your travel date. Once in Spain, a tourist may apply for a visa in order to stay for 3 months or longer, but proof of identity is not necessary. In order to qualify, proof of age (minimum age requirement is 20 years old) and a valid passport are all that is needed in order to legally remain in the country.
Like many countries in Europe, there are various types of documentation that are required in order to cross the border between Northern and Southern Europe. In most cases, tourists applying for flights to Spain need proof of citizenship, which can be done by presenting one of the following documents: birth certificates, marriage/divorce certificates, official documents confirming identity and residence, or an identity card. Documents in English are always preferred, as many Europeans are also accustomed to reading and speaking in English.
While Spain borders Northern Ireland, Britain does not; so, a passport can be valid for 90 days between both countries. British citizens traveling to Spain also need to present proof of age (minimum age requirement is 20 years old), as well as a valid passport (passport card is also necessary). Some British nationals who choose to travel to Spain may obtain a job on a British company’s premises, or be eligible for “Work permit.” For citizens of the European Union, a working permit is necessary in order to work in Spain.
As far as international travel is concerned, Americans need to follow some rather strict rules. Visas to Spain are limited to the number of days that can be spent there, as well as the total number of non-immigrant tourist days (i.e. sightseeing). The US government does not have any restrictions regarding the transport of goods into and from the country, but American citizens who travel to european countries may be restricted to stay for 90 days. Finally, Americans who travel to Spain may not spend the money necessary to pay for flight tickets. Americans planning to travel to Spain should make all of these stipulations known prior to traveling.