Europe’s Schengen nations are those nations that have signed the Schengen Agreement, which means that citizens of these countries may travel freely between them without having to provide any kind of identification at every border crossing.
In 1985, the Schengen Area was formed by just five nations, but it now has 26 members, 22 of which are also members of the European Union (EU).
The Schengen Agreement was integrated into EU legislation by the Amsterdam Treaty, which came into force in 1999. Only a few nations in Europe do not participate in the Schengen Agreement.
There are a total of 26 countries in the Schengen area:
- Czech Republic
Non-Schengen countries having open borders:
Three countries that have not signed on to the Schengen Agreement but have open borders and welcome visitors from Schengen countries are also worth mentioning:
- San Marino
- Vatican City
Non-Schengen/non-European countries that accept a Schengen visa:
Travellers with Schengen visas may also enter 18 non-Schengen countries, most of which are located outside of Europe. However, several of these countries have limitations on entry.
|Albania||Antigua and Barbuda||Belarus||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Montenegro||North Macedonia||Romania||Sao Tome and Principe|
The Schengen Agreement’s history
Originally signed in 1985, the Schengen Agreement was ratified by five member states of the European Economic Community (EEC), the forerunner of the European Union: Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.
There are no internal border checks in the Schengen Area, which allows people to move freely between Schengen countries. Reduced-speed vehicle inspections and the ability to cross borders at locations other than specified checkpoints were part of the Schengen Agreement. Under the deal, visa rules would also be harmonized.
It was only in 1990 that the Schengen Convention bolstered the Schengen Agreement. Internal border restrictions were recommended to be abolished, and a uniform visa regime was established.
The Schengen Convention’s accords and laws established the 1995 Schengen Area, which is still in existence today. As a single undivided state, the Schengen Area facilitates cross-border movement by removing border checkpoints.
Obtaining a Schengen visa and travelling to and from the Schengen area
Anyone entering or leaving the Schengen Area must still undergo external border procedures. Additionally, travellers from outside the Schengen area must still have a visa to enter or exit any Schengen member states.
One hundred and five nations’ nationals must have a visa on their person to enter or exit a Schengen country, regardless of whether they’re a citizen of one of those countries.
Even while obtaining a Schengen visa is not particularly difficult, the flexibility that a Schengen visa provides means that applications are considered seriously.
A lengthy application procedure and a long wait after applying are typical for official documents like these. Ten nations, in particular, have the smoothest process to acquire a Schengen visa for their citizens.
The 10 Easiest Countries to Obtain a Schengen Visa:
- Czech Republic
Obtaining a long-term visa is more likely in the nations mentioned earlier because of the lower rejection rates, shorter waiting periods, and better chances of acquiring one.
Also See: Satellite Nations 2022
All travel must occur within six months of getting the approval letter for one’s Schengen visa application. A person may anticipate being allowed to stay in a nation other than their home country for a maximum of ninety days.
Traditional visas not related to a specific region of Europe vary only slightly from Schengen visas. Travel inside the Schengen Area is free with a Schengen visa, but only for 90 days; a standard visa, on the other hand, allows for longer stays but is more country-specific.