Safe Travel Tips

Travel safety advice and documents

Documents required for EU travel

It’s important to be aware of what travel documents you’ll need to cross the border into another EU country.

As the DiscoverEU contest is only aimed for those with EU citizenship, you will be required to travel with your EU Member State issued passport or national ID card.

How do I keep my travel document safe?

Backup before you leave

  • Scan (via mobile or home scanner) and store in a secure location, a copy of your passport or national ID card. You should be able to access this as long as you have an internet connection. This can be helpful in case you lose your travel document, or it gets stolen.
  • Leave a scanned version of your passport with someone you trust, and who you can count on to respond and act quickly to your call for help (f.e. parents).

On the road

  • Keep your travel document in a place that is zipped up, out of sight and hard to get to.
  • Make a laminated, wallet-sized copy of the main page of your travel document. While it’s necessary to hand over your actual passport to a border guard, countless other situations (e.g. hotel desks) may require nothing more than something with your name and travel document number on it. By using a copy of your travel document, you will be less likely to leave it behind.

How do I know which countries are included in the border-free Schengen-area?

The border-free Schengen area includes:

Non-Schengen area includes:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, United Kingdom.

What documents are accepted for border-free travel in Schengen EU countries?

If you are an EU national, you do not need to show your national ID card or passport when you are travelling from one border-free Schengen EU country to another.

Even if you don’t need a passport for border checks within the Schengen area , it is still always highly recommended to take a passport or ID card with you, so you can prove your identity if needed (if stopped by police, boarding a plane, etc.). Schengen EU countries have the possibility of adopting national rules obliging you to hold or carry papers and documents when you are present on their territory.

Driving licences, post, bank or tax cards are not accepted as valid travel documents or proof of identity.

What documents are accepted for non-Schengen EU countries?

When travelling to or from a non-Schengen country you must show a valid ID or passport. Before travelling, check what documents you must have to travel outside your home country and to enter the non-Schengen country you plan to visit.

Swedish citizens should always travel with their passport.

When are Member States allowed to impose border controls?

Under Schengen rules, in extenuating circumstances, where a threat to public policy or national security has been identified Member States are permitted to reintroduce temporary border controls.

More detailed information and the list of countries which have temporarily reintroduced border controls.  Ensure that you have either your ID or passport in your possession when travelling to these countries.  Also bear in mind that even under normal circumstances you may be required to produce one of these documents.

Can I be refused entry to an EU-country?

In very rare cases, an EU country can refuse entry to you or your family members for reasons of “public policy, public security or public health“.

This means the authorities must prove you or your family members pose a “genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat“.

You are entitled to receive this decision in writing, stating all the grounds, and specifying how you can appeal and by when.

Expired or lost passports

Under EU rules, all travellers need a valid ID card or passport to travel. In order to travel with the travel ticket(s) issued by DiscoverEU, you’ll be required to travel with the travel document you apply with (passport or national ID card).

What if my passport got lost or stolen?

The EU countries have systems in place to deal with such cases. It is, though, up to each EU country to decide whether and/or when it allows EU citizens to enter or exit their territory without a valid travel document.

See the current rules and information (where available) and/or visit the websites of the authorities of the country you are travelling both from and to:

What are the implications when traveling without a valid travel document?

As there are no EU rules on travelling without a valid travel document, conditions and procedures vary widely from country to country (and may change without notice). If you have already set off on your trip and you’re in the EU, your first port of call should be your country’s consulate or embassy.

Bear in mind that, even where some countries allow you to leave or enter their territory without a valid travel document, you may still need to show one in countries you are transiting through.

Official travel advice

The travel advice can be obtained directly from the national foreign ministries. In emergencies, this advice may change frequently.

Emergency information

European Emergency Number

The European emergency phone number, is available everywhere in the EU, free of charge. In an emergency anywhere in the EU you can dial 112.

How does 112, the European Emergency Number, work?

You can call 112 from fixed and mobile phones to contact any emergency service: an ambulance, the fire brigade or the police.

A specially trained operator will answer any 112 call. The operator will either deal with the request directly or transfer the call to the most appropriate emergency service depending on the national organisation of emergency services.

Operators in many countries can answer the calls not only in their national language, but also in English or French. If the caller does not know where he is, the operator will identify where the person making the call is physically located and will pass it to the emergency authorities so that these can help immediately.

112 is also used in some countries outside the EU – such as Switzerland – and is available worldwide on GSM mobile networks.

When should I use 112?

112 operators respond only to real emergencies, such as the need for an ambulance, police or fire brigade. They do not provide traffic and weather reports, general information or answers to queries.

Hoax Calls to 112 are a waste the time and money of the emergency operators and can also be dangerous and a criminal offence in most countries.

Unplanned healthcare

How do I go to a doctor/hospital abroad?

If you need to see a doctor or get hospital treatment during a trip to another EU country, having your European Health Insurance Card with you will make administration and reimbursement for public health care much easier.

Remember that health care and social security systems vary from one EU country to another. In some countries you might have to pay the doctor or the hospital directly for treatment, even though you may not normally do that in your home country. You can find information about the healthcare system in the country you visit from a national healthcare institution, a National Contact Point, through the EHIC smartphone application, or by selecting a country from the list below:

What are the implications when traveling without a valid travel document?

As there are no EU rules on travelling without a valid travel document, conditions and procedures vary widely from country to country (and may change without notice). If you have already set off on your trip and you’re in the EU, your first port of call should be your country’s consulate or embassy.

Bear in mind that, even where some countries allow you to leave or enter their territory without a valid travel document, you may still need to show one in countries you are transiting through.

© 2018 European Union | An initiative of the European Commission