Visiting Europe on a Schengen Visa-I: Valid Countries

The rates of international travel and travel insurance are dropping due to the economy, but those with wanderlust have a bonanza in the form of the Schengen visa. The Schengen visa, or Europe travel insurance, has made travel across most of Europe easier and simpler, covering 25 countries in the European region.

Remember, however, that not all European countries are part of the Schengen agreement to require a common visa. The United Kingdom, for example, has chosen not to participate in it, and so, if you want to visit that country, you will need a separate visa.

The 25 countries that come under the Schengen visa are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

While American citizens do not require a Schengen visa to visit most European countries, they must carry their American passport, proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay, and a return airline ticket. Also remember that Schengen countries require all visitors to have sufficient health insurance, up to $45,000 (???30,000) for medical expenses. Remember to purchase adequate international travel health insurance before travel.