The Schengen Area: all you need to know
What is the Schengen area?
The Schengen area represents a group of European countries who have entered into an agreement with one another, allowing citizens the freedom to move around without border restrictions. This is a relatively similar idea to moving between American states – with flights, rail and road travel treated as internal domestic journeys.
The Schengen area is not an EU initiative and exists completely separately, although many countries in the zone also happen to be in the EU. It is useful to gain some insight into the way the Schengen area works, since its border control system provides a useful way of travelling between member states.
Today, 26 states are members of the Schengen area, with additional countries such as Bulgaria and Romania set to enter into the agreement in the near future.
[jcolumns inbordercss=”1px dotted gray”] Austria
Iceland (not EU)
Liechtenstein (not EU
Switzerland (not EU)
There are various types of Schengen visa, depending on the nature of trip within the Schengen Area.
A Schengen visa allows its holder to move freely around the Schengen states, with minimum to no border control, for a set period of time. Successfully applying for a visa however does not entitle the holder to employment within the Schengen Zone.
The different types of Schengen visa are outlined below.
Short Stay (or Multiple Entry) Schengen Visa
This is the most common type of Schengen visa. It allows you to leave and return to the area any number of times during an accumulated stay of 90 days, over a period of no more than 6 months.
Airport Transit Visa
Holding this visa allows you to pass through the Schengen area in transit, without entering the territory itself.
This is similar to a short stay visa but is valid for a year. Usually, these are used for the purpose of business visits and require an invitation letter from the specific Schengen country.
Important to note
It is important to note that holding a Schengen visa is a temporary measure and does not grant successful applicants permanent residence or settled status within the Schengen zone.