The Schengen Area is a zone in which 26 European countries have abolished their internal borders to allow for free and unrestricted movement of people, while also adhering to common rules for controlling external borders and combating criminality by bolstering the common judicial system and police cooperation.
Except for Ireland and the countries that will soon be part of Romania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus, the Schengen Area covers the majority of EU countries. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein are all members of the Schengen zone despite not being EU members.
A Schengen visa is a short-term visa that allows its holder to travel freely throughout the Schengen area. There are no border restrictions between the 27 nations that make up the Schengen area (“Schengen States”). Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland are among these countries.
A Schengen visa is a document issued by a Schengen State that allows:
- A planned stay of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period in the territory of the Schengen States (“short stay visa”).
- A transit via the Schengen States international transit zones at airports (“airport transit visa”).
Austria, one of the richest countries in the world in terms of per capita GDP, with an area of 83,871 km^2 and a population of 8,712,137 people. On April 28, 1995, the country signed the Schengen Agreement. However, it was not implemented until December 1, 1997, which was more than two years later.
Austria lies in central Europe and is surrounded by eight countries, which is more than most other European countries. Its city, Vienna, is still one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe.
Belgium was one of the first five countries to sign the Schengen Agreement on June 14, 1985, and began implementing it on March 26, 1995. With a land size of 30,528 km^2 and a population of 11,358,379 people, it is a small and densely populated country.
The country is bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg and is located in Western Europe. Brussels, the administrative seat of the European Union, is frequently referred to as the EU’s capital city.
Croatia is the most recent country to join the Schengen Agreement joining in January 2023. The Republic of Croatia, as it is officially known, is a nation in the nexus of Central and Southeast Europe. Its entire coastline is along the Adriatic Sea. It shares a maritime boundary with Italy to the west and southwest and borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the southeast.
With twenty counties, Zagreb, the nation’s capital and largest city, serves as the main subdivision. The area is 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles), and there are about 3.9 million people living there.
Czechia, as it is known, was created in 1993, following the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia. The central European country is bordered on the West by Germany, on the South by Austria, on the East by Slovakia, and on the Northeast by Poland.
It has a population of 10,610,947 people, with Czechs accounting for 64.3 percent of the population and Slovaks, Moravian’s, Ukrainians, and others accounting for the rest. The country earns a significant amount of money from tourism, with Prague ranking as the fifth most visited city on the old continent.
The Czech Republic ratified the Schengen Agreement on April 16, 2003, and began implementing it on December 21, 2007.
Denmark is the Scandinavian country with the southernmost location. It is located in the Southwest of Sweden and South of Norway, with a total area of 43,094 km^2. To the south, it shares a border with Germany.
The Schengen agreement was signed by the Danish government on December 19, 1996, and it went into effect on March 25, 2001. However, because to the security situation in Europe and concerns posed by continual major secondary movements, Denmark is one of the six Schengen countries that has resumed border checks.
The Nordic country has a population of 5,785,864 people who enjoy one of the greatest living standards in the world, not just in Europe.
The Baltic Sea borders the Northern European Republic of Estonia on the West, Latvia on the South, the Gulf of Finland on the North, and Lake Peipus and Russia on the East. It is one of Europe’s least populous countries, with a land area of 45,338 km^2 and a population of 1,312,442. In the Baltic Sea, this flatland country has 2,222 islands and islets.
The territory of today’s Estonia has been ruled by the Danish, the Swedish, and, most recently, the Soviet Union for centuries. Its government ratified the Schengen Agreement on April 16, 2003, and began implementing it on December 21, 2007.
The Nordic country, officially known as the Republic of Finland, is bordered to the North by Norway, to the Northwest by Sweden, and to the East by Russia. It is well-known for its educational system as well as for being one of the safest and environmentally friendly countries on the planet. The happiest country on the planet is home to 5,503,132 people.
Finland is 338,145 km^2 in size. It ratified the Schengen Agreement on December 19, 1996, and began implementing it on March 25, 2001.
It is still one of the most popular Schengen destinations.
France, Europe’s most visited country, isn’t only about the Eiffel Tower. The country attracted 85.7 million foreign tourists in 2013, the biggest number ever. The country is known for its fine wine, sheer diversity, heritage monuments, and luxury skiing resorts.
The 551,695 km^2 country is bordered on the Northeast by Belgium and Luxembourg, on the East by Germany and Switzerland, on the Southeast by Italy and Monaco, and on the South and Southwest by Andorra and Spain.
It has a population of 64,720,690 people who can freely travel within the Schengen Area because it was one of the five founding countries of the Schengen Zone on June 14, 1985. The agreements implementation in France began on March 26, 1995.
Germany, the nation of invention and innovation and the second most visited Schengen country, covers 357,386 km^2 and is divided into 16 constituent states. The EU’s most populous member is also the European country that shares borders with the majority of its neighbours.
It is in Western and Central Europe, borders Denmark to the North, Poland to the East, and the Czech Republic to the South. It is bordered on the southeast by Austria, the south-southwest by Switzerland, the west by France, Luxembourg, and Belgium, and the northwest by the Netherlands.
The German passport is one of the worlds top three most powerful passports, as its 81,914,672 citizens get visa-free access to 188 countries.
The Schengen Agreement was signed on June 14, 1985, and Germany was one of the five founding countries. On March 26, 1995, ten years later, it went into effect.
Greece, the birthplace of Western civilisation, sits at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Hellenic Republic is regarded as the origin of democracy, western literature, history, political science, and the Olympic Games, among other things.
Greece shares land boundaries with Albania in the Northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria in the North, and Turkey in the Northeast, despite the fact that its borders have varied throughout the year. Despite the fact that Greece signed the Schengen accord on November 6, 1992, and began implementing it on January 1, 2000, none of its neighbours have yet joined.
The country has a total area of 131,990 km^2 and a population of 11,183,716 people. Greece has a rich cultural legacy, as well as stunning islands and beaches, making it a popular tourist destination.
Hungary is a country in Central Europe with a land area of 93,030 km^2 and a population of 9,753,281. Slovakia to the North, Ukraine to the Northeast, Austria to the Northwest, Romania to the East, Serbia to the South, Croatia to the Southwest, and Slovenia to the West share land borders.
Every year, a large number of tourists visit the country. It received 263,940 visa applications in 2017. In terms of tourism, Hungary is one of Europe’s most popular medical tourism destinations. It has a 42 percent market share in Europe and a 21 percent market share worldwide in dental tourism alone.
It ratified the Schengen Agreement on April 16, 2003, and began implementing it on December 21, 2007.
The volcanically and geologically active Nordic island country is located in the North Atlantic. It has a population of 348,580 people, with two-thirds of them living in Reykjavik, the capital, and the surrounding area. The country is 103,000 km^2 in size.
Iceland’s top tourist attractions are ecotourism and whale-watching. However, the country got 7,610 visa applications in 2017, the fewest of any other country.
On December 19, 1996, it became the first country to sign the Schengen Agreement. Following the Treaty of Amsterdam’s integration of the agreement into EU legislation, it signed a second agreement on 18 May 1999, which replaced the first. On March 25, 2001, Iceland began putting the agreement into effect.
The Italian Republic is a sovereign state in the midst of the Mediterranean Sea. It is surrounded by France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino, and Vatican City, and covers a total area of 301,318 km^2. It is the fourth most populated EU member, with 59,429,938 residents.
Italy is the successor to the massive Roman Empire, which left behind a rich history and a plethora of cultural attractions, propelling Italy to become one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. Italy is also home to Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Galileo, and Machiavelli, among the worlds most famous scholars, artists, and polymaths.
It began implementing the Schengen accord on October 26, 1997, after having signed it on November 27, 1990.
The Republic of Latvia is bordered on the North by Estonia, on the South by Lithuania, on the East by Russia, and on the Southeast by Belarus. The population of the 64,589 km^2 country is 1,970,530 people.
Latvia is a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the CBSS, the IMF, the NB8, the NIB, the OECD, the OSCE, and the World Trade Organization. It ratified the Schengen Agreement on April 16, 2003, and began implementing it on December 21, 2007, making it a member of the European borderless zone.
Riga, the country’s capital, is noted for its architecture, multicultural past, and UNESCO World Heritage Site Old Town. For the year 2014, Riga has been designated as the European Capital of Culture.
Liechtenstein is a German-speaking microstate in Central Europe that is doubly landlocked. It is the fourth smallest European country, with a size of approximately 160 km^2 and a population of 37,666 people.
Liechtenstein is bordered on the West and South by Switzerland, and on the East and North by Austria. Because the country is predominantly mountainous, it is a desirable winter sports destination.
It is the last country to join the Schengen border-free zone after signing the agreement.
Latvia to the North, Belarus to the East and South, Poland to the South, and Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave) to the Southwest border the 65,300km^2 country. It is home to 2,908,249 people and utilises the Euro as its currency.
Lithuanian is one of the worlds oldest languages nowadays. It is also one of just two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family, together with Latvian.
Lithuania ratified the Schengen Agreement on April 16, 2003, and began implementing it on December 21, 2007.
Luxembourg is a country with a land area of 2,586 km^2 and a population of 575,747 people. It is a founder member of the Schengen Agreement, which was signed on June 14, 1985, in the Luxembourg village of Schengen. Luxembourg City, the country’s capital, is one of the European Unions three official capitals.
Luxembourg is the worlds second richest country in terms of GDP. It has the EU’s highest minimum wage and is one of the safest countries on the planet.
The country’s motto is Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn, which translates to we desire to stay what we are.
The island country of Southern Europe is made up of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea with a total size of 316 km^2 and a population of 429,362.
In 2017, despite its tiny size, the country received 37,881 visa applications. It is well renowned for its sun, sea, and beaches in terms of tourism. Ancient wonders such as the 5,000-year-old Hagar Qim and the 4,000-year-old Hal Saflieni Hypogeum are among the most appealing tourism locations.
Malta ratified the Agreement on April 16, 2003, and began implementing it on December 21, 2007.
The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces and is noted for its colourful tulips, countless windmills, and excellent cheese. The country is bordered on the East by Germany, on the South by Belgium, and on the Northwest by the North Sea. It has a total size of 41,526 km^2 and a population of 16,987,330 people.
It is a founding member of the EU, the Eurozone, the G10, NATO, the OECD, and the World Trade Organization. It is also one of the five founder members of the Schengen Agreement, which was signed on June 14, 1985.
The Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port and the worlds largest port outside of Asia, is located in the Netherlands. This country in Western Europe boasts the highest English proficiency in the world and, behind Mexico, is the worlds second-largest beer exporter.
Norway, the land of the midnight sun, covers 385,155 km^2. It has a population of 5,254,694 people who call themselves Norwegians. It is bordered to the Northeast by Finland and Russia, and to the South by the Skagerrak Strait, with Denmark on the other side.
The country’s magnificent fjords and Viking past are the key draws for visitors. In 2017, 196,082 visa applications were received by Norwegian embassies around the world.
On December 19, 1996, Norway ratified the Schengen Agreement. Following the Treaty of Amsterdam’s adoption of the agreement into EU legislation, a second agreement, which replaced the first, was signed on May 18, 1999. On March 25, 2001, Norway began implementing the agreement.
Poland is a European Union country in Central Europe. It covers 312,683 km^2 and is divided into 16 administrative entities. The country, which has a population of 38,224,410 people, borders Germany, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Belarus.
Warsaw, the historic town of Malbork, Lublin, Torun, Krakow, and Poznan are among the country’s most well-known and visited cities. The Tatra National Park and the Bialowieza Forest are two more attractions in Poland. According to statistics, the majority of visitors are from Germany, followed by Britons and Russians.
The agreement was signed on April 16, 2003, and implementation began in late 2007.
Portugal, Europe’s westernmost country, shares borderland solely with Spain to the north and east. It has a total size of 92,391 km^2 and a population of 10,371,627 people.
It is the oldest state on the Iberian Peninsula, as well as one of Europe’s oldest. The country, which is known for football, gorgeous beaches, and historic monuments, attracts a large number of people throughout the year. The capital of Portugal, Lisbon, the subtropical island of Madeira, the second-largest city – Porto, the small fishing village of Ericeira, and bidos – which is noted for its many mediaeval castles – among the most visited Portuguese destinations.
Portugal and its only neighbour, Spain, ratified the Schengen Agreement on June 25, 1991, and it went into effect on March 26, 1995.
Slovakia is a landlocked country in Central Europe with a total area of 49,037 km^2. It has a population of 5,444,218 Slovaks who speak the Slovak language. Poland is to the North, Ukraine is to the East, the Czech Republic is to the west, Hungary is to the South, and Austria is to the Southwest.
After the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia on January 1, 1993, Slovakia became an independent country. It signed the Schengen accord ten years later, on April 16, 2003. It began carrying out this convention on December 21, 2007.
Slovakia has the most castles and chateaux per capita in the world. One of the most notable is the Spi Castle, which is on the UNESCO List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
Slovenia has a population of 2,077,862 people and a land area of 20,273 km^2. It is bordered on the West by Italy, on the North by Austria, on the Northeast by Hungary, and on the Southeast by Croatia.
Slovenia is the smallest Schengen country after Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Malta. On April 16, 2003, the country entered the Schengen Area, and four years later, on December 21, 2007, it began full implementation of the treaty.
Slovenia is famous for its beautiful Lake Bled, Postojna Cave, Triglav National Park, and several castles.
Spain is 510,000 km^2 in size and shares land boundaries with France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay in the North and Northeast, as well as Portugal in the West and Northwest. With a population of 46,347,576 people, it is the EU’s second-largest country.
Madrid and Barcelona, two Spanish cities, are among the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Bullfights, the Tomatina festival, and Ibizas parties are some of Spain’s most well-known and well-attended events.
Spain and Portugal signed the agreement on June 25, 1991, and both countries began implementing it on March 26, 1995.
Sweden is a country in Northern Europe that is part of the Scandinavian region. It has a total area of 449,964 km^2 and is bordered on the land by Norway and Finland. A bridge tunnel connects the country to Denmark across the resund, a strait on the Swedish-Danish border. Swedish or Swedes are the names given to the 9,837,533 people who live there.
Sweden ratified the agreement on December 9, 1996, and began implementing it on March 25, 2001.
Switzerland, a non-EU member, joined the Schengen area after signing the agreement on October 26, 2004, and implementing it on December 12, 2008.
The country is bordered on the South by Italy, the West by France, the North by Germany, and the East by Austria and Liechtenstein. It covers 41,285 square kilometres and has four official languages:
Switzerland boasts one of the most robust European economies, and its population of 8,401,739 people enjoys one of the worlds greatest living standards.