What is the Schengen area and the Schengen visa ?
How long has the Schengen area existed?
The Schengen agreements were signed in 1985 and came into force in 1995.
What is the advantage of the Schengen area?
The Schengen area allows the free movement of people within the Schengen area. In concrete terms, this means that a person within the area does not need to show his or her identity documents to move from one country to another. They can move freely in all the countries of the Schengen area.
The Schengen area is the largest free movement area in the world.
Which countries are part of the Schengen area?
The Schengen area is made up of 26 countries, 22 of which belong to the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland (non-EU), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein (non-EU), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway (non-EU), Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (non-EU).
The Schengen area will have 27 members from 1 January 2023 with the integration of Croatia, the last country to join the European Union in 2013. It should be noted that airport controls will only be lifted from 26 March 2023. Croatia was accepted because it presents little risk of immigration, having borders with Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Croatia will also join the Eurozone from January 2023. This means that European tourists will no longer have to change their money.
The non-Schengen countries belonging to the European Union are Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania.
What is a Schengen visa?
The Schengen visa is intended for people from outside the Schengen area. It allows free movement for a maximum of 90 days within the member countries of this area. In order to benefit from a Schengen visa, you must attach a Schengen visa insurance certificate to your visa application.