What is a Schengen Visa?
The Schengen visa, applicable to multiple EU member countries, has simplified travel within Europe. ‘The Schengen Agreement,’ was signed in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg on June 14th, 1985, by five countries; Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. This agreement provided a foundation for what we presently know as the Schengen Area. Post this agreement, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden became a part of the Schengen Area.
Though not members of the European Union, citizens of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein also enjoy the same freedom of movement as the EU Schengen members. Notably, the UK is not a part of Schengen regime and one needs to apply for a separate UK visa.
Gathering information about Schengen visa can be complicated. No doubt, when travelers start exploring the details about the visa, they will face challenges. But we are trying to simplify it for you.
Knowledge of the continent is a plus before traveling to Europe. Of the 47 European countries, 28 are EU (European Union) members, but the rest are not. The European Union, the political entity, should not be confused with the European continent. So 22 of the 28 EU member countries are a part of the 26 member Schengen Area. The remaining four are EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries. The Schengen Area operates very much like a single state for international travel purposes with external border controls for travelers entering and exiting the area, and common visas, but with no internal border controls.
Internal frontiers are the national boundaries between the various countries taking part in Schengen, together with airports, railways and other commuting systems.
If you are planning to travel to more than one Schengen country, it is best if you apply at the Embassy/Consulate of the country you will be spending the most time, regarding the residing days. You are privileged to move in and out of the Schengen Area, multiple times within the time permitted on the visa once you are granted a multiple entry visa. But, a single visa does not allow this free movement.
Not just Schengen, non-Schengen, EU, or non-EU member, the list applies to other countries out of which some need a visa to enter the Schengen Area, while some do not. To simplify it, we have created a tabular form:
Schengen Visa required
|Algeria||Guinea-Bissau||Papua New Guinea|
|Belize||Jamaica||Sao Tome And Principe|
|Burkina Faso||Kuwait||South Africa|
|Cambodia||Lebanon||St Vincent & The Grenadines|
|Central African Republic||Libya||Swaziland|
|Cote D’ivoire||Marshall Islands||Timor-Leste|
|Dem. Rep. Of Congo||Micronesia||Tonga|
|Djibouti||Moldova||Trinidad and Tobago|
Know more about Europe: