Schengen Area

Schengen Area

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The Schengen Agreement is a treaty that established the Schengen Area in Europe, which has effectively abolished internal border checks. It was signed on June 14, 1985, by five of the then-ten member states of the European Economic Community and enacted a decade later, with all nations in the European Union (EU) except the United Kingdom and Ireland joining over the next several years.

What countries are in the Schengen Area?

Border checks at the area’s shared borders were withdrawn as part of the deal, allowing individuals to travel freely within it. It allows residents of border areas to cross borders away from permanent checkpoints and has standardized visa procedures, allowing for the issuance of a Schengen Visa for stays of less than 90 days.

The Schengen Area is a zone in which 26 European countries have eliminated their internal borders to allow for unfettered movement of people while following too common standards for policing external borders and combating crime by enhancing the shared judicial system and police cooperation.

The Schengen Area countries are listed below:

Austria Hungary Norway
Belgium Iceland Poland
Czech Republic Italy Portugal
Denmark Latvia Slovakia
Estonia Liechtenstein Slovenia
Finland Lithuania Spain
France Luxembourg Sweden
Germany Malta Switzerland


What is a Schengen Visa?

A Schengen Visa is a short-term European visa. This type of Visa enables the holder to travel freely throughout the Schengen Area. The visa, itself is issued by one of the Schengen nations. That is to say, you can visit any of the Schengen countries for up to 90 days during a 180-day period. The Schengen Visa is the most common visa in Europe. In order words, it entitles the holder to enter, travel freely within, and exit the Schengen area from any Schengen member country. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long is a Schengen visa valid for?

    This depends on a number of things such as whether or not you have had a Schengen visa in the past or how many countries you intend to visit. Generally you first Schengen visa will be issued for the duration of your stay. Future applications may be granted for multiple entry for a number of years.
  • Which countries is a Schengen visa valid for?

    There are 26 Schengen members states in Europe. You can see the full list of countries in the Schengen zone in our resources section.
  • How long does it take to process a Schengen visa?

    You can expect an update on your application within 3 days of submission. You can choose express processing at checkout for a response within 24 hours. Once you attend your appointment, your visa can take up to 15 working days to be processed by the Embassy.