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Clarifying the Schengen Area

Do you still have doubts about what the Schengen area is and which countries are part of it? Read this article to find out more.

What’s the Schengen Area?

The Schengen Area is an area in Europe that includes a number of countries that have abolished borders and passport control among themselves. It functions as a single jurisdiction area for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. This means that a Schengen visa allows access to the entire Schengen area. This does not mean, however, that it gives access to all the countries of the European Union.

The area is named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement signed in Schengen, Luxembourg.

Which countries are part of the Schengen area?

The countries that are part of the Schengen agreement are:

– 22 European Union countries, namely: Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Greece and Malta

– 4 EFTA countries (European Free Trade Association), namely: Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

– 3 Micro States, namely: Monaco, San Marino and Vatican

Which European Union countries are not part of the Schengen area?

There are five exceptions for countries that belong to the European Union but are not yet part of the Schengen area. Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Croatia are still in the process of joining the common space. Ireland for its part, although it has always shown a tendency to join, has never done so and is not expected to do so soon due to the border with Northern Ireland and the agreement it has with the United Kingdom (which even before Brexit never joined Schengen area) for free movement between the two countries.

Andorra is not part of the European Union, but it is a micro state between two EU states (France and Spain) that have not joined the Schengen area and maintain border control with the EU. However, as travelers to Andorra have to pass through the Schengen Area and Andorra does not require or issue any visas, the entry requirements are, in practice, the same as in the Schengen area. Visitors from Andorra who need a visa to enter the Schengen area need a multiple entry Schengen visa, since to leave Andorra, they have to enter the Schengen area a second time, since the country does not have an airport.

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