The Schengen visa allows a person to travel to any Countries of the Schengen, for stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.
The Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.
The ‘Schengen area’ comprises of a group of European countries that do not have any restrictions for travelling across their territory. Through the Schengen agreement, these countries have abolished all types of border controls along their mutual borders to make it easier for people travelling to other Schengen area countries. This means, the whole area acts as a single country, where you just require a single ‘Schengen’ visa to travel across the member Schengen area countries.
The 26 countries that are currently members of the Schengen agreement are Austria, Belgium, 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.
*There are certain other European Union members that are likely to be part of the Schengen area countries. This includes Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania. Though these countries have expressed their wish to be included in the Schengen area, their status is still pending due to various reasons.
Travel Documents and Entry Requirements for non-EU Nationals
You will have to present several documents at the Schengen port of entry, in order to be permitted to enter, if you are a non-EU/Schengen country national, regardless if you are a visa-exempt or not.
The documents you need to provide when entering the Schengen Area are as follows:
- Valid Passport. Issued within the previous 10 years and valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU.
- Schengen Visa. If you are a national of one of the third-world countries in need of a visa.
EU/Schengen border officials may also ask for other information and documents such as sufficient funds, proof of accommodation, how long you intend to stay, round-trip airline ticket, purpose of your entry, travel insurance, invitation letter, etc.