If you want to learn about Schengen visa-free countries, this article will help you know the countries where citizens do not need a visa to enter any of the 26 countries in the Schengen Area.
These countries include Belgium, Sweden, France, Estonia, Latvia, Portugal, Finland, Switzerland, Iceland, Lithuania, Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Austria, Malta, as well as Italy.
Certainly, Schengen visa-free countries allow citizens of some countries to travel to any country in Schengen Area without applying for a visa. As such, you only need to have a valid passport to enter the country and exit.
There are many reasons why you may want to visit one of the countries in the Schengen Area. Among the reasons is that the Schengen Area is widely known as the world’s largest visa-free zone.
Reading this blog post will help you know the “55” countries to which their citizens can travel without a visa to any part of the Schengen Area.
About Schengen Visas
If you intend to travel to any country in the Schengen Area from a country not visa-free, you need to apply for a Schengen visa. This short-stay visa enables you to move freely through the Schengen area.
As has been noted, the Schengen Area cuts across 26 European countries. The Schengen visa endorses you for a short stay that doesn’t exceed 90 days in 180 days.
Types Of Schengen Visa
If you’re a non-citizen of any Schengen visa-free country, you need to apply for any of the following Schengen visas based on your purpose overseas.
- Schengen Airport Transit Visa
- Schengen Medical Visa
- Schengen Tourism Visa
- Schengen Business Visa
- Visa for Visiting Family or Friends in Schengen
- Schengen Visa for Film Crew
- Schengen Official Visit Visa
- Schengen Cultural Visa
- Schengen Spouse Visa
- Schengen Visa for Religious Purposes
- Schengen Sports Visa
- Schengen Student Visa
Requirements To Apply For A Schengen Visa
Here is a list of documents often required when applying for a Schengen visa.
- Duly completed visa application form, which includes your signature.
- Valid passport, which must feature your signature, at least two (2) blank pages, and should be valid for a minimum of 3 months after the expiration date of your visa.
Your passport must have been issued to you in the last ten (10) years.
- Two (2) passport photographs must be held using a paper clip. The photograph must be 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm and on a plain white background.
- Photocopies of your passport’s information page, residence permit (if relevant), and your previous Schengen visas (if necessary).
- Proof of travel medical insurance, with coverage of £30,000 in case of hospitalization or medical care. You must ensure that your medical insurance is valid all through your visa validity period.
- Proof of flight and hotel reservations, such as a travel plan and hotel booking
- Statement from your sponsor or local employer, which should feature their name, contact information, the nature of your employment, your salary, employment start date, and your reason for travel.
- Proof of financial means like your accounts statement
- Birth certificate copy (required by applicants who are below 18 years old)
Schengen Visa-Free Countries List
There are about “55” Schengen visa-exempt countries around the world. These countries cover different continents, such as Asia and North America.
As a citizen of any of these countries, you can travel without a visa across Schengen for a maximum of 90 days.
The following is the list of Schengen visa-free countries.
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- El Salvador
- North Macedonia
- Brunei Darussalam
- Solomon Islands
- Costa Rica
- Vatican City State
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Antigua and Barbuda
- New Zealand
- Marshall Islands
- South Korea
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- Trinidad and Tobago
- San Marino
- St. Lucia
Conditions/criteria For Entering Schengen Visa-Free Countries
To enter any of Schengen’s visa-free countries, you must meet several conditions and criteria, as indicated below.
- Must possess a valid passport with a validity period of not less than six months. This requires you to check your passport’s expiration date, including that of your children.
- Make sure you hold your passport with you whenever traveling to or through a country in the Schengen Area. Generally, this doesn’t matter if there is a border check, as you must hold a valid passport when traveling across international borders.
What Happens When You Travel To A Schengen Visa-Free Country Without Passport?
Of course, anything can happen when you travel to a Schengen visa-free country without holding a valid passport or travel document.
Below are some things that are likely to occur when you travel to a Schengen visa-free country with no valid passport.
- The airline may disallow you from boarding your flight. If you were lucky enough to board your flight, the airport officials might deny your transfer to another plane during transit.
- Moreover, you may be disallowed entry at the Port of Entry (POE) no matter how long you intend to stay in the country.
What Do Immigration Officials Do At The Borders Of Countries In The Schengen Area?
When crossing the border of any country in the Schengen area, the immigration officials at the border will check your travel document (passport) for validity and your visa.
The immigration official will also examine your passport to ascertain whether you need a visa. This means that you have to tender your passport to the official.
Remember that immigration officials will disallow entry of ineligible travelers into the country.
Furthermore, you must ensure that the immigration official stamps your passport while entering and leaving the country. Without the stamp, you will likely face issues with the local authorities during your stay or with the immigration officials when leaving the country.
Citizens In Need Of A Visa To Travel Through Schengen
Are you traveling through one of the countries in the Schengen Area? If yes, you surely need to get a Schengen Airport Transit Visa when crossing the borders of a country in the Schengen Area to another country.
- Sri Lanka
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
Schengen Airport Transit Visa
By getting a Schengen Airport Transit Visa, you’ll be given the authorization to travel through an airport in a country in the Schengen area to complete your trip to another country.
It is without a doubt that non-citizens must apply for a Schengen Airport Transit Visa regardless of whether they would move out of the airport’s terminal.
Additionally, citizens of some specific countries are required to get a visa when traveling in certain regions in the Schengen Area.
Exemptions for Schengen Airport Transit Visa
You are not required to apply for a Schengen Airport Transit Visa when transiting through a country in the Schengen Area since you meet the following conditions.
These include if you:
- are a diplomatic passport holders
- possess a valid Schengen visa
- are biologically related to an EU/EEA, or Swiss citizens
- have a valid residence permit issued by a European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) member state.
- possess a valid residence permit of the Principality of Andorra, Republic of San Marino, USA, Canada, or Japan.
- hold a valid visa from an EU or EEA member state, the US, Canada, or Japan.
- work as a flight crew member of a contracting party to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which EU countries have exemptions from the Schengen area?
EU countries exempt from being part of the Schengen area include Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Croatia, and Romania.
Can I travel to Turkey without a Schengen Visa?
No, you must apply for a Schengen Visa to travel to Turkey. However, you’ll be denied entry if you don’t have a valid passport.
Which country is easiest to get a Schengen visa?
Citizens of Lithuania find it very easy to apply for and procure a Schengen visa. Besides, about 98.7 percent of Schengen visa applications from Lithuania get approval.
Is Greece part of Schengen?
Of course, Greece is inclusive of the 26 countries in the Schengen Area. Greece is a republic in southeastern Europe. It is located in the southern part of the Balkan peninsula.
Which Schengen visa is the most difficult to get?
Up to 16.9% of Belgium applications are denied, the most prevailing percentage in any country in the Schengen Area.
Conclusively, Schengen visa-free countries allow citizens of 55 countries to have free entry and exit into any of the countries in the Schengen Area. So you’ll enjoy your visit irrespective of if your purpose for the journey is for business, visiting family and friends, tour, medical, or religious purposes.
Thanks for reading!