One of the most frequent questions I get asked by travellers is "Will I need any visas for my trip to Europe?" Naturally every country is different and has its own rules and regulations but generally speaking, Australian Passport holders don't require a visa to visit the majority of European countries if they are staying less than 90 days*. So, what exactly is a visa?
A visa is a form of permission for a non-citizen to enter, transit or remain in a particular country. It is usually issued as a stamp in your passport and will specify the allowed duration of your stay in that particular country.
- A visa does not guarantee entry, that decision remains the right of the immigration officials of the country concerned.
- The immigration laws of most countries do not have provision for appeal. Some countries ask visitors to present return tickets and evidence of funds sufficient to cover the intended stay. Others have compulsory currency exchange regulations on entry.
- Some refuse entry to visitors who do not comply with requirements regarding general appearance and clothing, or visitors who are HIV positive.
Visa requirements for each country can be quite different. Some countries charge a fee for visas whilst others don't. Some countries issue visas on arrival whereas others require you to obtain your visa in advance. Rules often apply, too, on how much validity remains on your passport.
Well before you leave home, check with your travel agent as to whether you'll require any visas, or visit http://www.dfat.gov.au/visas/ for up-to-date information.
Nationals of many countries require a tourist visa to visit Turkey. You can find out more details by clicking here.
*Holders of passports from non-Schengen Member countries should familiarise themselves with the Schengen Visa zone in Europe and its time restrictions for visitors. I've written more about the Schengen Zone and how it affects Australian Passport holders in this article.