Tuesday, January 23, 2018
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Papers and administration is a complex world where one usually gets lost. Moreover, when traveling around countries it gets especially difficult to know what papers you need to take with you. Do I need a visa to live six months in Greece if I come from Finland? And if I come from Poland? What about if I'm legal resident in Spain but I come from Guinea? Is it different if I'm only staying there for a few days? Does my country have an agreement for health problems with it?

The aim of this section is to clarify all these matters so that you don't find yourself on the way back home before planned (Yes, Frankfurt has a nice airport...) and so that you save yourself problems in hospitals or police stations - not that we want to see you there.

So, just take this aspirin against bureaucracy headache and concentrate in enjoying your trip!

Travel Rights for EU Citizens

Citizens of the Member States of the European Union have the right to enter and live temporarily in another Member State for the purposes of tourism, visiting friends or relatives, work or training.

If you travel outside the EU, it is useful to know that you can get consular protection from the authorities of a Member State other than yours if your country does not have a consulate or embassy in the country that you are visiting.

Besides, there are also certain laws and benefits regarding the movement of personal effects.

Free movement

"The right of every European citizen to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States."

The free movement within the EU

  • is one of the basic aims of the Union,
  • is a Fundamental Right for EU citizens since December 2000,
  • 'may' be granted to third-country nationals.
  • abolishes the border controls at internal borders,
  • ensures that free movement is applied in a coherent and simplified way throughout the EU Member States,
  • reinforces the checks and controls at the EU's external frontiers to guarantee the Union's internal peace and security.

This means that EU citizens may cross the internal borders of the Union simply on presentation of a valid passport or identity card. In principle no question may be put to them as to the purpose of the journey, the mean of subsistence, etc. However, this right may be restricted only for reasons of public order, public security or public health.

Besides, public order or national security are allowed to require it for checks at the internal borders or throughout the territory in order to guarantee the security of their citizens. If this happens and you don't have any identification with you, the competent authorities can turn you back at the frontier or take action to expel you from the country. For this reason, it is good to carry always a passport or ID with you.

For more information, check the related documents.

Schengen Convention

"The first agreement to remove all internal border controls, put in place effective controls at the ext ernal borders and introduce a common visa policy."

  • It is incorporated into the EU's Treaties since March 2001.Victory.jpg
  • Countries that have signed up are:
    • 13 EU Member States: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland, Sweden and Denmark (with some special conditions).
    • 2 non-EU Member States: Norway and Iceland.
    • Switzerland started the negotiations in July 2002.
  • Ireland and the United Kingdom WILL:
    • cooperate with police forces and judicial matters,
    • not end border controls.

For more information, check the related documents.

Personal Effects

When traveling within the European Union you are allowed to take your personal effects with you without restriction.

For reasons of public interest, Member States may prohibit or restrict certain goods such as drugs, products from endangered species or certain types of pornography. Medicines can be taken but they must not exceed the quantities corresponding to your personal needs. Firearms can also be taken under very strict rules. More information about personal effects here related documents.


The euro is the legal tender for 17 states. The symbol for the euro is €. You may take with you all the money you need for your travel. Although restrictions on capital movements have been abolished within the European Union, certain Member States may, for administrative and statistical reasons, require you to declare how much money you are bringing into or taking out of their territory.

The Member States concerned have set thresholds above which transfers must be declared. In addition, the national authorities have the right to carry out checks if they suspect that transfers of funds are connected with criminal activities.

Thanks to new EU rules, the cost of using money abroad is coming down. Withdrawing euro from a cash machine or making card payments in euro (up to euro 12 500) now costs the same wherever you are in the EU, the same applies to euro transfers (up to euro 12 500) between bank accounts.

For more information, check the related documents.


You can take your dog or cat with you to any EU country, as long as it has identification through an electronic microchip or tattoo and a valid rabies vaccination.

If you want to take your pet to Ireland, Sweden or the United Kingdom, you may also need to have your pet tested after vaccination to check that it has been effective. The same rule applies to animals from Iceland, Norway and Switzerland and any third country free of rabies or where the disease is under control. Stricter rules apply to countries where rabies is endemic.



  • There are no longer any frontier controls at the borders:
    • between EU countries --except the United Kingdom and Ireland--,
    • between the EU countries and Norway or Iceland.
  • You WILL need a valid passport (or an ID card if you are an EU national):
    • to cross the external borders of this area,
    • to travel to Ireland or the United Kingdom.
  • Make sure that any children either have their own passport or ID card or are registered on yours.
  • Take a valid passport or ID card for travel elsewhere because you may be required to prove your identity.
  • Carry always your passport or ID with you. Public order or national security are allowed to require it for checks at the internal borders or throughout the territory in order to guarantee the security of their citizens. If this happens and you don't have any identification with you, the competent authorities can to turn you back at the frontier or take action to expel you from the country.

Tip: it is a good idea to take a photocopy of your passport or ID with you to a foreign country. If you loose it, it will be easier to prove your identity when you ask for a replacement.

For more information, check the related documents.

E hands.jpg


No Visa for

  • You will NOT need a visa for traveling within the EU if you are a citizen of:
    • an EU country,
    • Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway.
  • Other countries whose nationals do NOT need a visa if visiting the EU for 3 MONTHS or less are:
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Salvador, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.
  • Some exceptions exist for specific categories of persons (but any member state may reintroduce / exempt this obligation at some point):
    • holders of diplomatic passports, official duty passports or other official passports,
    • civilian air and sea crew,
    • crew and helpers involved on disaster, rescue or emergency relief,
    • holders of laissez-passer issued by some intergovernmental organizations to their officials.
  • A valid residence permit issued by a Schengen State together with a valid travel document can substitute for a short-stay visa. Note that you will need your passport to prove the validity of your residence permit.

Visa for

  • The United Kingdom and Ireland maintain autonomous visa.
  • Nationals subject to visa requirements when crossing the external borders of the EU:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burma/Myanmar, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dj ij bouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Northern Marianas, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, São Tomé and Príncipe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Surinam, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Comoros, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Western Samoa, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

  • For the Schengen area there is a 'uniform short-stay visa' policy: you can travel through the whole area with the same visa.
  • National long-term visas from a member state only allow to transit through the territory of the other member states. Under special circumstances, if it is a Schengen state, this visa may be valid as a uniform short-stay visa during 3 months from the date of validity of the visa.
  • The Commission presented a proposal that introduces a special travel authorization, which would enable third-country nationals to stay up to six months in the territory of the Member States on condition that the stay in one Member State does not exceed three months.

For more information, check the related documents.

Residence Permit

  • In some countries you are required to notify the authorities your presence even if you don't need a residence permit to live there. In most cases this is done automatically when you check in at the hotel or when your landlord fills in a declaration in respect of the tenancy.
  • EU citizens do not need a residence permit to stay in another EU Member State if the stay is under three months.
  • If the stay is for more than three months, you must apply for a residence permit.

Family members

When traveling with an EU citizen, members of the EU citizens family need to carry a valid passport or identity card. In the case of minors, they have usually a special identity card or an entry in the passport of one of the parents.

When traveling with an EU citizen, family members who are not nationals of an EU Member State may need an entry visa to enter or pass through a Member State depending on their nationality. This visa should be granted free of charge and without undue formalities by the competent consulate authorities.

When traveling alone, family members who are not nationals of an EU Member State are not entitled to this visa arrangements.

Family members considered are: the spouse, children under 21 (or dependent), as well as the parents and the spouse’s parents (if they are also dependent on the EU citizen).

For more information, check the related documents.

Non-EU nationals

"Citizens of third countries may enter and travel within the European Union provided they fulfill the entry conditions."

These conditions include:

  • the possession of a valid travel document,
  • the possession of a visa if required,
  • being able to demonstrate the purpose of the journey,
  • being able to demonstrate the possession of sufficient means of subsistence for the period of stay and for the return

Rights include:

  • third-country nationals shall not be listed in the Schengen information system for the purpose of refusing entry and they shall not be considered to be a threat to public policy or national security for all Schengen States,
  • may enter and travel within the territory of the Member States applying the Schengen provisions for a period of up to three months.

For more information, check the related documents.


Citizens of the EU

If you or a member of your family are suddenly ill or have an accident during a visit to any EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you have the right to get immediate/urgent health care. Students, seconded workers, and persons entitled to social security pensions or annuities, as well as members of their families, have the right to get not-urgent health care.

To prove this right a passport should be enough, but it is easier if you get the E111 form.

Only publicly funded emergency treatment is included in this scheme and each country has its own rules for public medical provision. In some, treatment is free, in some you pay part of the cost, in others you have to pay the full cost and then claim a refund. So: keep all your bills, prescriptions and receipts.

Personal health problems

If you are traveling abroad with somebody, it is a good idea to tell your partners if you have any important physical or psychological problems that might occur during the trip. It is very important that you make sure that they aware of them and that they know how to react to things such as allergies, phobias, epilepsy, somnambulism, asthma attacks, etc.


Although a passport is often enough in many countries to get medical treatment, to facilitate the process of getting immediate health care it is good if you have the E111 form. This proves that you are affiliated to a health insurance scheme in a Member State and allows you to receive immediate health care in the country in which you are staying temporarily.

So just pick one up from your national health insurance authorities before you travel.

You will still be entitled to receive immediate health care even if you do not have an E111 form, but you may then be asked to pay for everything. After, you can claim a refund from the authorities responsible for your health insurance scheme.

E sectual.jpgMedicines

Special medicines

If you use special medicines, check that it is legal in the country you visit and carry with you your prescription or a letter from your doctor. Check with your doctor if you require prescribed medicines while abroad and inform yourself if you can find this medicine there were you go.


There are at present no requirements for vaccinations in the EU countries but there are some requirements or recommendations for certain of their overseas territories. Check with your doctor before you go.


It is advisable to take out travel insurance. Few EU countries pay the full cost of medical treatment, even under reciprocal health service arrangements. Illness or an accident abroad may mean extra travel, accommodation and repatriation costs, for which you would need to be insured.

Banking Account



IBAN is an initiative being driven by the European Commission and banks across Europe to introduce a standard account number format for use with cross border payments in Europe.

Why are IBANs being introduced? The use of IBANs will standardize the identification of bank accounts. When a cross-border payment is made in Europe, an IBAN will be used to identify the account to which the payment should be made. Their use will reduce payment errors and delays.

The use of IBANs does not extend to UK domestic payments.

How will bank account identification change?

An IBAN is NOT a new bank account number. Existing sort codes and account numbers will be retained, and additional characters will be added to create a standard identifier which is known as an IBAN.

How will an IBAN be identified?

An IBAN is not a single account structure to replace the national numbering systems. It is a way of representing national account numbers in an internationally recognised standard format. An IBAN adds a country code and check digits to the front of the domestic account number format.

To make a payment, you will need to quote an IBAN and its associated BIC (Bank Identifier Code) in the same way that you currently quote an account number and a BIC.

Example of a UK IBAN: Country Code: GB Check Digits: 99 Bank Code: RBOS Sort Code: 123456 Account No.: 12345678

The country code identifies the country in which the IBAN was issued. It also indicates the national account structure to be used when deciphering the account number contained within the IBAN.

The check digits are calculated by the financial institution issuing the IBAN, using a formula applied to the whole IBAN.

Electronic and printed forms of an IBAN

When an IBAN is printed in paper form, for example on an invoice, the IBAN may be split into groups of four characters to make it easier to read. When an IBAN is processed electronically it must not contain blank spaces and must not include the word "IBAN".

Paper form: GB99 RBOS 1234 56 12 3456 78 Electronic form IBAN: GB99RBOS12345612345678

Examples of other European IBANs

  • Austria: AT611904300234573201
  • Italy: IT40S0542811101000000123456
  • Belgium: BE62510007547061
  • Luxembourg: LU280019400644750000
  • Denmark: DK5000400440116243
  • Netherlands: NL39RABO0300065264
  • Finland: FI2112345600000785
  • Norway: NO9386011117947
  • France: FR1420041010050500013M02606
  • Poland: PL60102010260000042270201111
  • Germany: DE89370400440532013000
  • Portugal: PT50000201231234567890154
  • Greece: GR1601101250000000012300695
  • Spain: ES0700120345030000067890
  • Iceland: IS140159260076545510730339
  • Sweden: SE3550000000054910000003
  • Ireland: IE29AIBK93115212345678
  • Switzerland: CH9300762011623852957

What should I do if I receive an IBAN on an invoice?

You should quote the IBAN in the account number field on the payment instruction which you give to your bank. You must also ask your supplier to provide you with their Bank Identifier Code (BIC). This code tells us where to send your money.

Will I need an IBAN?

You will only need an IBAN if you invoice people in other European countries. In addition, your suppliers within Europe may ask for your IBAN.

How do I get an IBAN?

IBANs can be issued by your Relationship Manager or enquire through your branch of The Royal Bank of Scotland who will also advise of the suitability of obtaining an IBAN.


Driving licence

There is a principle of mutual recognition of licenses between the Member States.
This means that if you have a valid driving license issued by a Member State of the EU, this is valid in all the EU for the classes of vehicles for which it was issued in the Member State of origin.

If you want to hire a vehicle in your destination, you only need to present the driving license issued in your country of residence. With it you have the right to drive the same kind of vehicles as in your country.


If you are driving abroad, you are required to follow the code of the country where you are.
The only equipment and accessories you may be required to carry in your vehicle are those that are obligatory in the country where the vehicle is registered. However, Member States may require the carrying of a warning triangle in your car, even when this is not compulsory in the Member State of registration.

The driving codes are more or less the same throughout the Union. However, some rules vary and are not always displayed (like the maximum speed or the maximum permissible level of alcohol in the blood). If you go to another country, you should ask there about this, since if you break the code you will get the same penalties as those which apply to nationals of that country.

Vehicle Registration

If you registered your car or motorbike in a Member State, the registration certificate allows you to use that vehicle everywhere in the Union.

If the owner (the person whose name appears in the registration certificate) is not present, then you have the obligation to justify your possession of the vehicle. A paper signed by the owner confirming that you are allowed to drive it should be enough.

Vehicle Insurance

Normally, you do not have to produce your "green card" or insurance certificate when crossing an internal frontier of the European Union. The license plates of your car are an evidence that you got the obligatory civil liability insurance in your Member State.

However, if you are responsible for a car accident in another Member State, your insurance certificate will constitute proof that you are covered by an insurance policy that enables the victim/s to obtain compensation.

Moreover, if you are the victim of a car accident in another Member State, you will be indemnified following the rules of that Member State or the rules of your country of residence (if the indemnification there is higher).

There are not yet uniform rules about the indemnification, but you have, irrespective of the Member State, a minimum coverage up to EUR 350 000 for personal injury and EUR 100 000 for material damage. Note however that the total amount can be limited in certain Member States where the same accident results in a number of victims.

If the accident is caused by an uninsured or unidentifiable car, you are entitled under Community law to compensation from the motor vehicle guarantee fund of the Member State in which the accident occurred.

Source Documents

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