Schengen Area – The World’s Largest Visa Free Zone
The Schengen Area is a region in which 26 European nations have eliminated their internal borders to allow for the unhindered and unlimited movement of persons in accordance with a set of rules for policing external borders and increasing judicial and police collaboration in the fight against crime.
Except for Ireland and the nations that will shortly join the Schengen Area—România, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Croatia—the Schengen Area encompasses the majority of the EU countries. Countries like Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein are a part of the Schengen area while not being EU members.
Schengen Area Countries
The 26 Schengen countries are 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, and Switzerland.
The Schengen Area currently has 26 member countries. These are all European nations, and they are where:
- The Schengen acquis is completely implemented by 22 acquis.
- Through particular agreements connected to the Schengen agreement, four of them—EFTA members—implement the Schengen acquis.
- Although they are not members of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein are associate members of the Schengen Area. Through particular agreements relating to the Schengen agreement, they implement the Schengen acquis as members of the EFTA.
- Although they have opened their borders to, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City are not part of the visa-free area.
- Despite being outside of the European continent, the Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands are special members of the EU and a part of the Schengen Zone.
- In addition to Ireland, which continues to maintain opt-outs, there are five other EU states who have not yet entered the Schengen area: Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus, all of which are pursuing membership applications.
The 50,000 km-long Schengen Zone’s external boundaries, which are made up 80% of sea and 20% of land, are the longest in the world. The region has 4312,099 km2 in size, hundreds of airports and maritime ports, several land crossing sites, and a population of 419,392,429 people.
Visa Information for Schengen countries
A holder of a Uniform Schengen visa can travel to all 26 member countries of the Schengen Area:
In terms of GDP per capita, Austria is one of the richest countries in the world. Its 83,871 km2 is home to 8,712,137 people.
The Schengen Accord was formally adopted by the country on April 28, 1995. But on December 1, 1997, it began to be put into practise, more than two years later.
Centrally placed in Europe, Austria has borders with eight nations—more than the majority of its European neighbours. One of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Europe is Vienna, the country’s capital.
One of the first five nations to ratify the Schengen Agreement on June 14, 1985, Belgium began putting it into effect on March 26, 1995. It is a small yet densely populated country with a population of 11,358,379 and a land area of 30,528 km2. The country is surrounded by France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg and is a part of Western Europe. The administrative centre of the European Union is situated in Brussels, which is also known as the EU capital city.
The nation, once known as Czechoslovakia, was just created in 1993 after the peaceful breakup of that state. The 78,866km2 country in central Europe is surrounded by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Germany to the west, and Austria to the south.
Prague is the sixth most visited city on the old continent; hence tourism contributes significantly to the country’s economy.
The Czech Republic accepted the Schengen Agreement on 16 April 2003, and on 21 December 2007 it started putting it into practise.
The Scandinavian nations’ southernmost nation is Denmark. It has a 43,094 km2 area and is located southwest of Sweden and south of Norway. German territory borders it to the south.
The Danish government accepted the Schengen agreement on December 19, 1996, and it went into effect on March 25, 2001. However, Denmark is currently one of the six Schengen countries with reinstituted border controls because to risks from ongoing massive secondary movements and the security situation in Europe.
With a population of 5,785,864 people, the Nordic region boasts one of the best levels of life in both Europe and the entire world.
The northern European Republic of Estonia is bounded to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia, to the north by the Gulf of Finland and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia. Spanning an area of 45,338 km2 and boasting 1,312,442 inhabitants, it is one of Europe’s most sparsely populated countries. Additionally, this flatland country encompasses 2,222 islands and islets in the Baltic Sea.
Over the centuries, the current territory of Estonia has been governed by the Danes, the Swedes and, most recently, the Soviet Union. Its administration inked the Schengen agreement on 16 April 2003 and initiated its implementation on 21 December 2007.
Officially known as the Republic of Finland, this Nordic country borders Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest and Russia to the east. Famous for its education system and for her being one of the safest and greenest countries on the planet. Its 5,503,132 inhabitants live in the happiest country in the world.
Finland has an area of 338,145 km2. The Schengen Agreement was signed on December 19, 1996 and entered into force on March 25, 2001.
France, Europe’s most visited country, is not just about the Eiffel Tower. Known for its fine wines, diversity, historic sites and gorgeous ski resorts, the country attracted her 85.7 million foreign tourists in 2013, the highest number ever.
The country with an area of 551,695 km2 borders her eight countries in Europe. Belgium and Luxembourg to the northeast, Germany and Switzerland to the east, Italy and Monaco to the southeast, Andorra and Spain to the south and southwest.
A country of invention and innovation and the second most visited Schengen member state, Germany comprises an area of 357,386 km2 and 16 member states. Her most populous EU member state is also a European country bordering most other countries.
Located in Western and Central Europe, bordered by Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east. Austria to the southeast, Switzerland to the south-southwest, France, Luxembourg and Belgium to the west, and the Netherlands to the northwest.
The German passport is one of her three most powerful passports in the world as it allows 84,386,549 residents to visit 188 countries without a visa.
The cradle of Western civilization, Greece sits at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. The Greek Republic is considered the birthplace of democracy, Western literature, history, political science, the Olympic Games, and more. Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the northeast. Greece signed her Schengen Agreement on November 6, 1992 and began implementing it on January 1, 2000, but no neighboring countries have joined yet.
The country has an area of 131,990 km2 and a population of 11,183,716 her. Greece’s unique cultural heritage, beautiful islands and beaches make it a popular destination for many travellers.
Located in Central Europe, Hungary has a place of 93,030 km2 and is domestic to 9,753,281 residents. It stocks land borders with Slovakia withinside the north, Ukraine withinside the northeast, Austria withinside the northwest, Romania withinside the east, Serbia withinside the south, Croatia withinside the southwest, and Slovenia withinside the west. A excessive wide variety of guests go to the us of a every year. In 2017, it obtained 263,940 visa applications. When it involves tourism, Hungary is one of the major scientific tourism locations in Europe. In dental tourism alone, it has a percentage of 42% in Europe and 21% worldwide. It signed the Schengen settlement on sixteen April 2003 and began out its implementation on 21 December 2007.
The Nordic Island United States is positioned withinside the North Atlantic and is volcanically and geologically active. It has a populace of 348,580, two-thirds of which live withinside the capital of Reykjavik and the encompassing area. The United States has a place of 103,000 km2.
Ecotourism and whale-looking are among the pinnacle traveller points of interest in Iceland. However, in 2017, the United States obtained 7,610 visa applications, the least amongst all different states.
It first signed the Schengen settlement on 19 December 1996. It signed a 2nd settlement, which changed the first, on 18 May 1999 following the incorporation of the settlement into EU regulation with the aid of using the Treaty of Amsterdam. Iceland sooner or later began out the implementation of the settlement on 25 March 2001.
The sovereign country of the Italian Republic is placed withinside the coronary heart of the Mediterranean Sea. It has a place of 301,318 km2and is bordered via way of means of France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino, and Vatican City. With 59,429,938 residents, it’s far the fourth maximum populous EU member.
Italy is the successor of what become called the considerable Roman Empire, which left in the back of a wealthy records and a whole lot of cultural attractions, that have affected Italy to turn out to be one of the pinnacle locations in Europe. Italy is likewise the USA that gave the sector a number of the maximum well-known scholars, artists and polymaths as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Galileo and Machiavelli.
It commenced the implementation of the Schengen settlement on 26 October 1997 after having signed it formerly on 27 November 1990.
Read More : Italy visa application and entry requirements
The Republic of Latvia stocks borders with Estonia withinside the northern region, Lithuania withinside the south, to the east is Russia, and Belarus to the southeast. The 64,589km2 usa has a populace of 1,970,530 inhabitants.
Latvia is presently a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, and WTO. It signed the Schengen settlement on sixteen April 2003 and began out its implementation on 21 December 2007, as a result turning into a part of the European without boundaries territory.
Its capital, Riga is understood for its architecture, multicultural heritage, and Old Town, that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Riga changed into named the European Capital of Culture for 2014.
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a German-speaking, doubly landlocked microstate in Central Europe. With an area of just 160 km2 and a population of 37,666 she is the fourth smallest country in Europe.
Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east and north. The country is predominantly mountainous, making it an attractive winter sports destination.
It is the latest country to join the Free Schengen Border Area after signing the io agreement.
The country, with an area of 65,300 km2, is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south and Kaliningrad (a Russian enclave) to the southwest. It has a population of 2,908,249 and its currency is the Euro.
Lithuanian is he one of the oldest languages in the world today. Along with Latvian, it is also one of two extant languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.
Lithuania signed the Schengen Agreement on April 16, 2003 and subsequently began its implementation on December 21, 2007.
In 2017, Lithuania received 413,966 visa applications. That’s more than countries like Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Lithuania has her three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Luxembourg is a country of 2,586 km2 and has a population of 575,747. He is one of the founding countries of the Schengen Agreement, which was signed on June 14, 1985 in the village of Schengen, Luxembourg. The capital, Luxembourg City, is one of her three official capitals of the European Union.
In terms of GDP, Luxembourg is the second richest country in the world. It has the highest minimum wage in the EU and is also one of the safest countries in the world.
The southern European island nation consists of an archipelago in the Mediterranean with an area of 316 km2 and a population of 429,362.
Despite its small size, the country received her 37,881 visa applications in 2017. When it comes to tourism, it is primarily known for its sun, sea and sand. Ancient wonders like the 5,000-year-old Hagar Qim and his 4,000-year-old Hal Saflieni Hypogeum are also among the most attractive destinations for travelers.
Malta signed the agreement on 16 April 2003 and began implementing it on 21 December 2007.
Netherland, made up of 12 states, is famous for its colorful tulips, myriad windmills and delicious cheese. Belgium, Germany, and the North Sea are neighbors to the east, south, and northwest, respectively. It has a population of 16,987,330 and an area of 41,526 km2.
Founding member of WTO, OECD, NATO, Eurozone, EU and G10. He was also one of the first her five nations to sign the Schengen Agreement on June 14, 1985.
The port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is the busiest port in Europe and the busiest port outside of Asia. This Western European country is the second largest beer exporter in the world after Mexico and has the best English proficiency in the world.
Read More : The Netherlands Schengen Visa Application Requirements
The land of the midnight Sun, Norway, has a place of 385,a hundred and fifty five km2. It has a populace of 5,254,694 citizens referred to as Norwegians. It is bordered via way of means of Finland and Russia to the northeast, and the Skagerrak Strait to the south, with Denmark on the alternative side.
The country draws traffic in particular due to its lovely fjords and its Viking heritage. In 2017, the Norwegian embassies round the arena acquired 196,082 visa applications.
Norway signed the Schengen settlement on 19 December 1996. A 2nd settlement, which changed the first, changed into signed on 18 May 1999 following the settlement’s incorporation into EU regulation with the Treaty of Amsterdam. Norway began out the implementation of the settlement on 25 March 2001.
It is referred to as the land of the middle of the night solar because certain areas of country get 24 hours of daylight for a part of the summer.Poland
Located in Central Europe, Poland is a member of the EU. Its area is 312,683 km2, and it contains 16 administrative subdivisions. The nation, which has a population of 38,224,410, borders Germany, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Belarus.
Warsaw, the mediaeval town of Malbork, Lublin, Torun, Krakow, and Poznan among its most well-known and popular cities. The Tatra National Park and the Bialowieza Forest are two other attractions in Poland. According to statistics, Germans make up the majority of visitors, followed by Britons and Russians.
The agreement was signed on 16 April 2003, and implementation got underway in late 2007.
Poland is an EU member state in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative divisions and covers an area of 312,683 km2. The country has 38,224,410 inhabitants and borders Germany, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Belarus.
The most famous and visited cities are Warsaw, the medieval city of Malbork, Lublin, Torun, Krakow and Poznan. Poland is also known for its Tatra National Park and Bialowieza Forest. According to the figures, most visitors come from Germany, followed by England and Russia.
Portugal, the westernmost country in Europe, borders only Spain to the north and east. It has an area of 92,391 km2 and a population of 10,371,627.
It is the oldest state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe. Known for its football, beautiful beaches and historic sites, the country attracts large numbers of visitors year-round.
The most visited places in Portugal are the capital Lisbon, the subtropical island of Madeira, the second largest city Porto, the small fishing village of Ericeira and Obidos, known for its many medieval castles. Portugal signed the Schengen Agreement with its only neighbour Spain on 25 June 1991 and entered into force on 26 March 1995.
Slovakia is a landlocked country in Central Europe with an area of 49,037 km2. Its 5,444,218 inhabitants are known as Slovak-speaking Slovaks. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Czech Republic to the west, Hungary to the south and Austria to the southwest.
After the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia on January 1, 1993, Slovakia became an independent state. Ten years later she signed the Schengen Agreement on April 16, 2003. On December 21, 2007, the implementation of this Convention began.
Slovakia is the country with the highest number of castles and castles per capita in the world. Part of the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site, Spis Castle is one of the most famous castles.
Slovenia has a territory of 20,273 km2 and a populace of 2,077,862. It is bordered with the aid of using Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the southeast,
After Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Malta, Slovenia is the smallest Schengen state. The United States of America joined the Schengen Area on sixteen April 2003 and began out the total implementation of the conference 4 years in a while 21 December 2007.
Slovenia is understood for the scenic Lake Bled, the Postojna Cave, Triglav National Park and its many castles.
Spain has an area of 510,000 km2 and borders France, Andorra and the Bay of Biscay to the north and northeast. Portugal and to the west and northwest. With a population of 46,347,576, it is her second largest country in the EU bloc.
Madrid and Barcelona in Spain are he one of the cities that attract the most foreign tourists to Europe. The bullfight, the La Tomatina Festival and the Ibiza party are among his most famous and busiest events in Spain.
Spain signed her treaty with Portugal on 25 June 1991 and on 26 March 1995 both sides began implementing it.
Read More : Spain Entry Requirements and visa Application
Nordic nation of Sweden is situated in Northern Europe. Its 449,964 km2 region shares land boundaries with both Finland and Norway. The country is connected to Denmark with a bridge-tunnel that spans the Öresund, a strait that separates Sweden and Denmark. There are 9,837,533 people that call themselves Swedish or Swedes.
Sweden began implementing the agreement on March 25, 2001, after having signed the accord on December 9, 1996.
Non-EU member state Switzerland became part of the Schengen Area after signing the agreement on 26 October 2004 and implementing it on 12 December 2008.
The country is landlocked between Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It has an area of 41,285 km and has her four official languages: French, German, Italian and Romansh.
Switzerland is one of Europe’s strongest economies and her 8,401,739 inhabitants boast the highest standard of living in the world.
Read More : Switzerland Visa Application & Entry Requirements
The Essential Features of The Schengen Zone
The removal of borders between European nations has produced:
- Every nationality from across the world is allowed to freely travel the internal boundaries of the Schengen member states without going through border controls.
- Shared guidelines for navigating exterior frontiers.
- Uniform entry and short-stay visa requirements for all participating states.
- Improved coordination between member countries’ police.
- Privileged judicial cooperation among participants, including quicker extradition of prisoners and simpler relocation for carrying out criminal judgments.
- The SIS is a state-of-the-art shared database that helps member nations easily exchange data about people and goods.
- Despite the degree of freedom that the Schengen Area guarantees, the police have the right to conduct inspections at internal borders and in border areas under certain conditions; nonetheless, this is not regarded as a border check. At internal borders, the police have the right to ask visitors for details about their time spent in the Schengen Zone and other relevant information.
- A member state may temporarily reinstate border checks at its internal borders for a maximum of 30 days if lacking total internal security as a result of a serious danger.
The Criteria to Become a Schengen Member Country
Many European countries have decided to become part of or join the Schengen Area, but not all are ready to do so. This is due to the fact that there are certain assumptions or criteria:
- To Have the Power to Control the External Borders Of The Area And To Issue Uniform Schengen Visas On Behalf Of Other Member Countries.
- To be able to work effectively with the law enforcement agencies of other member countries to increase security after the elimination of border controls between member states.
- To be capable of implementing “Schengen Acquis” standards for managing land, sea, and air borders, issuing short-stay visas, cooperating with police, and protecting personal information.
- Being prepared to use and/or join the Schengen Information System (SIS)
Which Are the Non-Schengen Countries in Europe?
Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, The United Kingdom, and Vatican City are among the European nations that are not a part of the Schengen area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the UK belong to the Schengen Zone?
No, you cannot enter the UK with a Schengen visa because the UK is not a member of the Schengen region.
UK residents might need to apply for a Schengen visa if they want to travel from the UK to other countries in the EU.
The Schengen Borders Agreement: What is it?
The Schengen Borders Agreement allows persons to move freely throughout the region if they otherwise meet the requirements to enter the Schengen Zone by passing through an official external border during regular business hours and receiving a passport entry stamp.
Can I use my residence permit to travel within the Schengen Zone?
You can travel without restriction within the entire Schengen Area if you have a residency permit. Your passport bears a stamp from the residency permission. If you do plan to enter and exit the Schengen area, you must let the authorities know.
Can I use the same Schengen visa to enter more than one member state?
Yes, as long as you don’t go over the time allowed by your visa, you can travel within the Schengen Area after receiving a visa.
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