Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Europe?
It depends on where you’re going.
In March, the European Parliament passed a resolution urging an end to the waiver program that allows Americans to travel throughout Europe for up to 90 days without a visa.
The final decision to end the waiver program will require a vote by the European Commission, which has until May 2, 2017 to decide. Nothing has yet changed, but there’s a possibility that a new policy might be approved before the summer travel season.
European Visa Requirements
For the time being, Americans don’t need a tourist visa to enter the 28 countries that are part of the European Union. And, even though the United Kingdom may soon no longer be part of the E.U., American citizens won’t need a visa to visit Britain.
Before traveling internationally, check your passport’s expiration date. If it isn’t valid for more than six months from the time of entry into a foreign country, you may not be admitted.
Russian Visa Requirements
A visa is required, however, for Americans traveling to Russia, and getting one processed takes two to three weeks and costs $193. The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington, D.C. recommends U.S. citizens apply for a three-year multiple-entry tourist visa.
Before applying, travelers need to have an invitation to Russia from a host person or organization such as a hotel or tour operator. Applications are available online at visa.kdmid.ru. When filling it out, list all the areas in Russia you’re planning on visiting — the U.S. State Department says that American citizens could face arrest by Russian authorities if they enter a restricted area. A passport picture is required along with the application, and payment is accepted only by money order or through a certified bank check.
The Russian Embassy also offers an expedited visa service with the option to receive one in four to seven business days. The cost is $283. In addition, the travel company Exeter International, which specializes in travel to Russia, offers help with processing Russian visas. Allow for four to five weeks; fees start at $360.