Tuscan Enterprises advice on documents you may need for your holidays.
In answer to questions posed from citizens of different countries, I thought that Tuscan Enterprises should address the need or lack of need of documents for visiting Italy (you can pretty much extend this to all of Europe). For European citizens, the requirements for tourism-related travel are all regulated by the famous Schengen Treaty of 1985. I am attaching a condensed version from Wikipedia below:
The Schengen Area comprises the territories of twenty-five European countries that have implemented the eponymous agreement signed in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, in 1985. The Schengen Area operates very much like a single state for international travel purposes with border controls for travelers travelling in and out of the area, but with no internal border controls.
The Schengen rules were absorbed into European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999, although the area includes three non-member states: Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. All EU members except Ireland and the United Kingdom are required to implement Schengen and—with the exceptions of Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania—have done so. The Area currently covers a population of over 400 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometers (1,664,911 sq mi).
Implementing the Schengen rules involves eliminating border controls with other Schengen members while simultaneously strengthening border controls with non-member states. The rules include provisions on common policy on the temporary entry of persons (including the Schengen visa), the harmonization of external border controls, and cross-border police and judicial co-operation.
A passport or an EU approved national identity card should be brought anyway when travelling, since identity checks can be done at places like airports and hotels and by the police. This depends on national rules and varies between countries. Occasionally, regular border controls are used between Schengen countries.
The Schengen Area currently consists of twenty-five states. Before 2007 there were fifteen Schengen countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Of these Iceland and Norway are not EU members but negotiated agreements with the EU in order to participate. Ireland and the United Kingdom are the only EU member states that are neither full members of nor committed to join the Schengen Area, having negotiated an opt-out from the Schengen acquis in the Treaty of Amsterdam.
However, the United Kingdom opted into the provisions related to police and judicial cooperation a few years later. The situation in Ireland is different: while Ireland requested and received permission to participate in the Schengen acquis in 2002, they have, As of February 2010, opted not to implement that permission. In 2007, nine countries—the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia—that joined the EU three years previously joined the area.
Before joining the Schengen Area countries must upgrade their border controls with non-Schengen states so as to ensure the Area's integrity. Cyprus, which also joined the EU in 2004, did not meet the necessary criteria and thus has requested a delay for a year, while Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, are still bringing their border controls up to the required standard. Schengen's newest member is Switzerland which joined the Area on 12 December 2008.
The situation is more complicated for citizens of non EU countries, such as the United States, Australia, Canada, etc. These tourists can stay in Italy for up to 90 days without need for a visa. For a stay of 90 days or longer, a visa is required, obtainable from an Italian consular office in your nation of origin.
Italian law also requires an international driver’s license obtainable from your local Automobile Club (AAA for example in the United States). You need to fill in an application, present two passport size photos and pay a minimal fee and you get the license. Some online services also offer this but they are more expensive. Citizens from China or Arab countries, some African States, and South American nations, all need visas to come to Italy (or Europe for that matter).
Last but not least, many people who travel have prescription medicines that they have to take with them. The best idea is to buy enough medications to last the holiday, and to make sure you get a written prescription from your doctor attesting that you must take these specific medications in case you are checked at an airport customs office. My own personal suggestion is that you make a list of the principal ingredients of any medication you take (for heart conditions or diabetes, etc..) so that if anything happens to your meds, you can always go to a pharmacy with the list and they will give you the Italian - or European – equivalency drugs in substitution for the ones you are out of.
These are all simple guidelines to follow, but once done, you can take your mind off these secondary concerns and allow yourself to enjoy your Tuscan Enterprises vacation in a Tuscan Villa or an Umbrian Farmhouse without a care in the world except what wine to put in your glass.