Schengen Visa Application – Movement Around Europe

Schengen Visa Application – 26 Countries In Total!

The Schengen Visa application –  Agreement abolished internal borders, enabling passport-free movement between a large number of European countries.

Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain implemented the agreement in 1995. They were followed by Italy and Austria in 1997, Greece in 2000, and Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland in 2001. (Norway and Iceland are not in the EU.) Nine more EU countries joined in 2007, after the EU’s eastward enlargement in 2004. They are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. Switzerland, which is not in the EU, implemented the agreement in December 2008. And in December 2011 tiny Liechtenstein – outside the EU, like its neighbour Switzerland – also joined Schengen.

Are other countries going to remove border checks too?

Andorra and San Marino are not part of Schengen Visa, but they no longer have checked at their borders. There is no date yet for Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, or for Bulgaria and Romania, which joined in 2007. According to the European Parliament, Bulgaria and Romania have brought their border security up to EU standards and are fit to join Schengen. But not all EU governments agree, and a decision on their bid to join has been postponed.

Which EU countries are not a party to the Schengen agreement?

The UK and Republic of Ireland have opted out. The UK wants to maintain its own borders, and Dublin prefers to preserve its free movement arrangement with the UK – called the Common Travel Area – rather than join Schengen. The UK and Ireland began taking part in some aspects of the Schengen agreement, such as the Schengen Information System (SIS), from 2000 and 2002 respectively. You must still show a valid ID card or passport when travelling to or from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom Though part of the EU, these countries do not belong to the border-free Schengen area. Before travelling, check what documents you must have to travel outside your home country and to enter the non-Schengen EU country you plan to visit.

Schengen Visa Application – European Union Visa

If you are an EU national, you do not need to show your national ID card or passport when you are travelling from one border-free Schengen EU country to another.

Even if you don’t need a passport for border checks within the Schengen area, it is still always highly recommended to take a passport or ID card with you, so you can prove your identity if needed (if stopped by police, boarding a plane, etc.). Schengen EU countries have the possibility of adopting national rules obliging you to hold or carry papers and documents when you are present on their territory. Driving licences, post, bank or tax cards are not accepted as valid travel documents or proof of identity.

Have you: lost your passport or had it stolen? realised that your passport has expired during your trip? In either situation, under EU rules you may travel only with a valid ID card or passport. But help is at hand, as the EU countries have systems in place to deal with such cases.

The conditions and procedures do vary widely from country to country. So if you’re in the EU, your first port of call should be your country’s consulate or embassy. (If you have a similar problem outside the EU, where your country does not have a consulate or embassy, you have the right to seek consular protection from any other EU country.)

Documents for minors applying for Schengen Visa application

In addition to their own valid passport or ID card, all children travelling:

alone; or with adults who are not their legal guardian; or with only one parent may need an extra (official) document signed by their parents, second parent or legal guardian(s) authorising them to travel. You should first consult the local embassy of the country the children are travelling to for information on which, if any, other documents they need to make the trip.

Sample story

Lars is Swedish and holidaying in Spain. He took his ID card issued by a bank with him – in Sweden, it’s accepted as proof of identity. But Lars could get into trouble if the Spanish authorities want to check his identity because the only valid ID documents they recognise are national ID cards and passports issued by the Swedish authorities.

 Non-EU Nationals

Passport/Visa requirements

If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a passport: valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting, which was issued within the previous 10 years, and a visa. Apply for a visa from the consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting. If your visa is from a “Schengen area” country, it automatically allows you to travel to the other Schengen countries as well. If you have a valid residence permit from one of those Schengen countries, it is equivalent to a visa. You may need a national visa to visit non-Schengen countries.

Border officials in EU countries may ask for other supporting documents such as an invitation letter, proof of lodging Schengen visa application, return or round-trip ticket. For the precise requirements contact the local consular services of the EU country in question.

There are a number of countries whose nationals do not need a visa to visit the EU for three months or less. The list of countries whose nationals require visas to travel to the United Kingdom or Ireland differs slightly from other EU countries. Entry conditions to the United Kingdom or Ireland are based on their respective national law and differ from the EU rules.

For further information about applying for a Schengen Visa click here.

Other documents

Do not forget your travel/ health insurance documents!

Useful links and further information –


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