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Europe Topics specific to Western and Eastern Europe, from UK to the Russian border, and south-east to Turkey.
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Old 17 Jul 2005
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EU Admission Requirements

Sometime in September I plan to exit Russia via Latvia. I intend to confine my travels to EU countries thereafter until I ship the bike and myself back to the US, probably from Germany.

My understanding is that to enter Latvia all I will need is my passport, International Driving Permit, and green card liability insurance, which I am pre-purchasing through Stefan Knopf. It's also my understanding that a person may pass freely between EU countries without any sort of border checks, etc. I've never been to Europe so this is all new to me, and I haven't researched Europe as much as I probably should have because of spending so much time on the numerous requirements for entering and riding in Russia.

Am I correct about this? Any input or advice about touring the EU countries will be appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 20 Jul 2005
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Mike,

We just came though Western and Eastern Europe and crossing all the borders has been very, very easy and we also have a bike with American registration. Typically all they ask for is your passport and the "papers for the bike" which include the registration and the green card insurance. Nobody has ever asked me for any kind of a driver's license. Even in the former Yugoslavian countries and in Eastern Europe the border crossing was very quick.

There were border posts for us crossing into Switzerland and Austria, but they just waived us through. They did check our documents going into Slovenia however and this is also an EU country.

After going through Russia, the EU countries should be a breeze...

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Old 21 Jul 2005
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Thanks Dave, I much appreciate the feedback.


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Old 1 Aug 2005
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The border checkpoints between the 'original' 15 EU countries (excluding GB) have been removed. You treat it as one big country. There are still cursory checks for the 10 new member states, but, as stated above, nobody will trouble you. No checkpoints between Norway and Sweden, either.
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Old 5 Aug 2005
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In 4 years of riding about 30,000 km a year in Europe on my Canadian plated bike, no-one has ever asked me to show anything other than a passport - and the requests for the passport have only been when going in and out of the EC, for example, in and out of the former Yugoslavian countries, or in and out of Switzerland.

Having said that, though, you still have the same obligation to have the papers and to produce them if asked as you would have in North America - the only difference is that you are expected to also have a passport. As mentioned above, passport controls at the border crossings have been eliminated, but you often will see police or customs officers at the side of the road within 25 km or so of a border crossing, just doing random spot checks. I think they are more concerned about locals moving more than their allowed quantity of cigarettes, liquor, etc. from country to country, not so much with visitors.

If you have not been in Europe before, do be aware that speed limits vary from country to country, and speed limits are normally NOT posted every half mile along a roadway, as they are in North America. Instead, you will see a single big sign at the border crossing advising you what the default speed limits are within cities, on secondary roads, and on expressways. Be sure to stop and take a look at this sign, because you won't see the information repeated once you are in the country. Also, be aware that in most European countries, the presence of a sign indicating the name of the town (e.g. "Chicago") is also the point where the speed limit changes from the default highway speed limit to the default city speed limit. You are expected to know this. Likewise, when you leave a town, the presence of an almost identical sign, but with the name of the town you are leaving crossed out, indicates that you may resume the 'out of town' speed limit.

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