If you are traveling to Europe from a country that does not belong to the European Community and your nationality is not European, you will have to go through security controls. There are usually several ticket offices dedicated to Non-EU citizens. They usually do a passport control (validity, visa, etc.), they control the ticket, the length of stay, the money, the medical insurance, among other requirements.
Below I present the most frequently asked questions that you might be asked during passport control at the first airport of entry to the European Community. They are not the rule, nor are they official, but in my direct experience they can be applied to those who travel alone from Latin America to Europe. In fact, many of the casts have been made to me during my travels.
I start by saying that the most important thing is to have ALL the documents/requirements they ask for.
Top questions asked at the airport to enter Europe from Latin America
What are you coming to do in Europe?
It seems obvious, but they ALWAYS ask me. I, who live in Italy, explain that I have lived here for many years, etc, etc. Obviously everyone has a different answer: I come on vacation, I come on my honeymoon, I come to visit friends, I come to learn the language, etc. The important thing is that they are sincere, they have a lot of experience, they control many people every day, they know how to recognize a lie!!! Let’s just say they’re trained for that and lying won’t get them anywhere.
Some variants of this question are: What type of trip are you doing? How long do you plan to travel? What countries do you plan to visit? What is your travel itinerary?
I always recommend bringing a planned travel itinerary, it can simply be a printout with the days and cities where you plan to travel. In Europe they are usually very organized so the philosophy of “we’ll see” they don’t understand it. It is better to bring evidence that the trip is for tourism, if you can print the tickets and tickets for trains, buses, museums, hotels, etc. Everything that shows that they have organized the trip.
Are you traveling alone?
In my experience, young women who travel alone are the most suspicious. Unfortunately there is a long history of young people coming to stay to work and support their families of origin. This is a delicate question, in my opinion. The first time on vacation I was “saved” (from not being returned) by the fact that I had inline skates in my suitcase, when they saw them they lowered their guard, because obviously someone who travels with skates doesn’t really want to stay in a country clandestinely At that time I was very inexperienced and I was about to answer badly, now I know that it is the worst thing they can do. Calm and a sincere smile can change everything. Luckily, in recent years, many girls have ventured to travel alone and now it is much more normal and common than a few years ago.
How do you pay for the trip?
It’s usually better to answer with my work. I have saved etc. I don’t think answers like: my boyfriend pays me, a friend’s uncle pays me, I won the lottery, etc. If you have a job in the country of origin, it is a good idea to bring something to prove it (contract, job letter). Remember that the goal of the immigration officers is to prevent illegal stayers from entering, not to avoid tourists! Demonstrating that they have a stable life in your country is important, it means that the chances of them staying illegally are low.
How much money do you bring?
It is best to show as much money as possible. In cash, in traveler’s checks, with the credit card. If someone is hosting them, they can show the invitation letter to demonstrate that they will not pay for a hotel. Remember that the priority is to show that you are not a burden to Italy, and it is known that the tourist has to travel with money. You can read our post if you want to know how much money you need and how to prove it .
How long do you stay?
This is easy, just show the return ticket. Remember that the maximum stay as a tourist is 90 days.
Accommodation: Where are you going to sleep? What city? Hotel? Friends house?
It is important if you are going to travel on your own (without a travel agency) that you bring a defined itinerary. I’m not saying that later they have to follow it to the letter, but it makes a good impression to have an organized itinerary. The South American idea of ”it will dawn and we will see” is not well received. Bring all the hotels, tickets, museums, information that you have collected to travel.
If they come with a paid tour it is easier. Just show the tour documents. Bring all the contact numbers, better if they are Italian.
If you are staying with friends and relatives, it is important that you bring the invitation letter. Do not forget the photocopy of the identity documents of the person who sent you the invitation letter, and the telephone number.
Is it your first time in Europe?
It’s not a very common question, but my mother has been asked it a few times. If it is not the first time, they can show the entry and exit stamps. This earns them points, because if they have already come and returned to your country it is a positive thing. If it’s the first time, don’t lie, it’s not a problem.
Do you have health insurance?
It is important to bring it, show it and that’s it! If they don’t bring it, it’s a problem, and let’s say that there aren’t many excuses to justify it!
These are some questions, I have not been asked all of them together on the same trip, but at least one or two at a time. If they start to ask a lot of things, in my opinion, it is not a good sign. The important thing is that they remain calm and show all the documents. For those who need an entry visa, obviously the first thing they have to show is the visa. Sometimes they also ask questions as to someone who does not need it.
If you have other questions about your experience, you are welcome in the comments.