Ever wanted to learn about the Schengen Agreement, and how it works? This blog post will let you know the countries involved in the agreement, as well as how the agreement creates possibilities for no internal borders.
Before anything else, let’s list out the participating countries of the Schengen agreement. This features a large number of countries, namely Spain, Finland, Belgium, Greece, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Norway, Germany, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland, Iceland, Italy, Estonia, Malta, Luxembourg, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Latvia, Sweden, and Austria.
Bear in mind that all of these countries did not sign the Schengen Agreement at the same time. Five (5) countries first signed the agreement in 1985, which include Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, as well as Luxembourg.
Unquestionably, the agreement serves as the legal aspect of the creation of the Schengen Area. The countries signed the agreement in a village in Luxembourg, known as Schengen. This is where it got its name.
Thus, this blog post will explore all the things you need to know about the Schengen Agreement. These include details on the Schengen Agreement, convention, countries involved, area enlargement, and more.
Let’s delve in.
Schengen Agreement definition
The Schengen Agreement is an agreement that currently covers up to “26” European Union countries in order to enable citizens to move without restrictions between these countries. This eliminates passport and immigration controls.
As has been noted, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg were the first 5 countries to sign the Schengen Agreement on June 19, 1990, and was implemented in 1995.
The “26” countries covered in the Schengen Agreement consists of 22 EU member states.
Schengen Agreement Pros and Cons
It is without doubt that the Schengen Agreement has many pros and cons, as stated below.
Benefits of the Schengen Agreement
- The Schengen Agreement facilitates tourism and international trade between countries in Schengen Area. You’ll surely not need a passport to travel to any of the participating countries.
- It also makes it possible for refugees to travel without restriction from one country to another.
- The Schengen Agreement has lessened the number of border checks in existence.
- The agreement also makes it relatively easy and quick in crossing borders.
Disadvantages of the Schengen Agreement
- The Schengen Agreement only covers some parts of Europe, and not all. This means that you still need a visa to cross some borders.
- The agreement does not allow authorities to enforce immigration laws, as it should. Hence, people are able to enter different countries without identity checks.
- Moreover, the Schengen Agreement does not encourage monitoring of travelers and goods at the borders. In fact, there are criticisms that the agreement has inefficient security measures.
- Another con of the Schengen Agreement is that it allows citizens to travel to their preferred country in the Schengen Area without a applying for many visas.
- Lastly, the Schengen Agreement is renowned for its low level of crime rates.
About the Schengen Convention
Schengen Agreement subsequently got support due to the Schengen Convention in 1990.
The convention addressed a number of concerns such as setting up a cooperating structure between internal and immigration officers, eradicating internal border controls, as well as determining the processes for a uniform visa issuance.
The Schengen Convention also addressed the operation of a single database (Schengen Information System) for every country in the Schengen Area.
Additionally, the Schengen Agreement of 1985 brought about the Schengen visa, which is an endorsement made in a passport for citizens of non-Schengen Area countries.
The Schengen Area Enlargement
Each country in the Schengen Area joined the agreement on different dates, as indicated below.
- 1995 – Portugal and Spain
- 1997 – Italy and Austria
- 2000 – Greece
- 2001 – Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, and Norway
- 2007 – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, as well as Slovenia
- 2008 – Switzerland and Liechtenstein
However, Croatia, Romania, Cyprus, and Bulgaria are yet to become part of the Schengen area. Even as the Azores, Canary Islands, and Madeira, are not within the European continent, they are widely known as special EU members.
Schengen Visa Policy Explained
The Schengen Agreement has made provision of a common document that creates possibilities for people who are on transit to enter any of Schengen Area countries.
Entering any of the member states is visa-free due to the agreement, which enables citizens of many countries to cross borders without having a visa. Thus, you can stay for a maximum of 3 months in a period of 6 months.
Who Needs a Schengen Travel Medical Insurance?
If you applied for a uniform visa, you need to possess a valid travel medical insurance in order to cover medical costs during your stay in a Schengen Area country.
The validity period of your travel medical insurance should cover for stay in the country. It should worth at least €30 000.
As a matter of fact, diplomatic passport holders have exemptions from paying for a travel medical insurance.
Persons Exempted from Applying For Schengen Airport Transit Visa
Depending on your nationality, you may be required to get a Schengen Airport Transit Visa in order to transit through airports in some of Schengen Area countries.
Here are list of persons who have exemptions from applying for Schengen Airport Transit Visa.
- Individuals who possess a diplomatic passport
- Persons with a valid visa or resident permit issued by a Schengen Area country
- Individuals with a valid visa for an EU Member State or the EEA, USA, Japan, or Canada
- Persons who are holders of a residence permit from the Republic of San Marino, the Principality of Andorra, Japan, Canada, or USA
- Persons who possess a valid residence permit for an EU Member State or an EEA
- Individuals who relate to an EU, EEA or Swiss national
- Persons who are members of a flight crew of a contracting party to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Explore answers to questions commonly asked with regard to the Schengen Agreement, and its pros, cons, area enlargement, etc.
Why was Schengen agreement created?
The Schengen agreement came about to ease people’s unrestricted entry and exit between countries in the Schengen Area. Without doubt, the agreement makes it possible for citizens to work and reside in any of the member state based on some criteria.
Do US citizens need a visa for Schengen countries?
No, citizens of the United States of America do not need to apply for a visa to enter any of the countries in Schengen Area for up to 3 months. This is because USA is among Europe’s visa-exempt countries.
How long can American stay in Schengen Area without visa?
Americans can stay in any of Schengen Area countries without applying for a visa for a period of 90 days.
How can I stay in Schengen for longer than 90 days?
To extend your stay in any of the countries in Schengen Area, you need to apply for a Student Visa, a Long-Term-Stay Visa, a Freelancer Visa, a Working Holiday Visa, or marry an European citizen.
Which European country is not a member of the Schengen agreement?
The Republic of Ireland is renowned as the only European country that is not part of the Schengen agreement.
When did the Schengen agreement start?
The Schengen agreement was initiated on June 14, 1985. At that time, the agreement involved five (5) countries, which include France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
How does the Schengen agreement work?
The Schengen agreement works by enabling citizens of several European countries to transit visa-free to any Schengen Area country. Because of this, you may only need to show your passport or ID to cross borders of Schengen Area countries.
What did the Schengen agreement in 1985 accomplish?
The Schengen Agreement has a number of accomplishments. These include that it got rid of numerous internal borders in EU’s countries, which enables citizens of Schengen Area countries to travel to any of the participating countries without a passport.
Can US citizens travel to Schengen countries without a passport?
No, you need to hold your US passport whenever you’re traveling from outside the United States of America to any country in Schengen Area. Undoubtedly, holding a valid passport will enable you to have a smooth and easy entry and exit.
What are the requirements to apply for a Schengen visa?
- Filled out application form for Schengen visa
- Valid passport or travel document with a minimum of 2 blank pages. Besides, your travel document must be valid for at least the next 90 days
- Photocopy of your passport’s personal details page
- 2 passport-sized photos with plain white background (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm)
- Proof of funds like your bank statement
- Proof of valid travel medical insurance, equivalent to £30,000
- Travel itinerary
- Proof of hotel booking
- Copy of birth certificate (needed if less than 18 years old)
All things considered, the Schengen Agreement made it possible for the nonexistence of internal borders between countries in the Schengen Area. This is a big plus to citizens of participating countries who want to travel to any of these countries for whatsoever purpose.
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