Complete Low-down On Schengen Visa Agreement
If you have travelled to Europe or are planning to travel to Europe, you must have come across the term ‘Schengen’ in your visa application form or guidelines for the visa application. Did you know that it relates to an agreement on ‘free movement across Europe’, widely known as the Schengen Visa Agreement?
The word ‘Schengen’ is taken from the name of a small wine-making town in Luxembourg called Schengen, where the Schengen Visa Agreement was signed in 1985. That’s just one fact. So, if you’re eager to know more about the Schengen Visa Agreement, read this article to quench your curiosity!
WHAT IS THE SCHENGEN VISA AGREEMENT?
In the simplest way, the Schengen visa agreement is an agreement for a free border between the member countries. The concept behind the agreement was to abolish security checks at their common borders. Signed on 14th June 1985, the agreement came into implementation on 26th March 1995. Initially, the Schengen agreement was made with only 5 signatories – Luxembourg, France, Belgium, West Germany, and Netherlands. However, the number of member countries rose to 26 after Liechtenstein joined the Schengen area in 2011.
In the agreement of 1985, one of the major proposals was about abolishing the restrictions on the common borders between the member countries. This led to the formation of Schengen area. Even the vehicle checks were removed, allowing the native residents to cross borders without stopping. In the late 90s, the Schengen community was supplemented with a common visa policy for the whole Schengen area resulting in freedom across borders. The main motive behind all these measures was to build a “Europe without borders”.
The idea of the Schengen Visa agreement is the whole area operates like a single state for international visits, without having any internal border controls and with a common visa for the whole area. However, it took many years for the Schengen community to remove all the borders, ensure safety, and gain trust among themselves.
During the initial period of the treaty, all notions and rules taken by the Schengen countries were independent. But by the end of the 90s, all its rules were incorporated into the European Union law through the Amsterdam treaty.
WHICH COUNTRIES COME UNDER THE SCHENGEN VISA AGREEMENT?
When the Schengen Visa Agreement was made back in 1985, the original signatories were the 5 countries which were part of the European Economic Community (EEC). Later many other members of the European Union joined the pact and became a part of the Schengen area.
Currently, there are 26 member countries of the Schengen agreement including 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. Of these 26 countries, 22 are part of the European Union and the other four are members of European Free Trade Association.
Apart from these countries, the micro nations such as the Vatican City, San Marino, and Monaco are de facto members of the Schengen area. Some territories like the Caribbean islands of France also do not require a separate visa.
So, quite clearly, the Schengen area covers a major portion of Europe. The major countries that do not come under the Schengen visa agreement are the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, as well as Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus. While the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland have chosen to opt out of the Schengen visa agreement, countries including Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus have declared their wish to become part of the Schengen countries. However, their status has been pending due to many political and regional issues, which are yet to be solved.
To be a part of the Schengen community, the countries are required to demonstrate that they can hold responsibility for controlling the area’s external border, co-operate with the other Schengen countries without disputes, maintain high level security, follow the Schengen rules, and efficiently use the Schengen information system and visa information system. Also, all the member countries of the Schengen Visa Agreement undergo frequent evaluations to prove that they follow the Schengen rules correctly.
WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT SCHENGEN VISA REQUIREMENTS?
Applying for a Schengen visa can be quite a challenge, particularly since there is, mostly, no internal check once an individual enters the Schengen area. So, if you’re planning to travel to a Schengen country, it is good that you read through these important rules regarding the Schengen visa:
- Schengen visas are issued for a temporary stay in any country that is currently the member of the Schengen area.
- Once you get the Schengen visa, you can stay in the foreign country for not more than 3 months.
- A Schengen visa is only valid in the Schengen area.
In case you need to extend your trip for more than 3 months, you’ll have to reapply for a visa at the diplomatic office.
- Before filling in the application, you need to decide the purpose of your visit. You can choose the visa category for the application depending on the purpose of your visit.
- All the Schengen visa requirements must be attached to a duly-filled visa application form.
Depending on the visa type, you need to affix the additional documents.
- Make sure that you have signed wherever necessary. Also, enclose all the documents together in an envelope.
- If you have a tourist Schengen visa, you are not allowed to work in the Schengen country. But, you can choose to apply for a new job visa that allows you to work there.
- If you’re a student, you need to submit an enrollment certificate and the admission details of the course that you intend to join in the Schengen state in order to obtain a student visa.
- If you’re a minor, the parents of the applicant or the guardian need to fill the details and duly sign in the required places.
- We recommend you to submit the application form and the other documents at the time of appearing for the interview.
- The requirements must be to the diplomatic office, embassy or the consulate of the country that you plan to visit. In case there is more than one country in your itinerary, you need to, ideally, apply for the visa at the embassy of the first Schengen country you arrive at.
- Re-check and confirm that all the details you’ve provided are accurate before submission. If you fail to present any of the requirements, there are possibilities for the visa to be rejected or delayed.
- Make sure that the documents you submit such as the travel medical insurance are valid in the foreign country.
The Schengen Visa Agreement is surely a good thing for the travellers, but the process of applying for one is definitely a hassle. So, if you’re planning to visit any of these Schengen area countries, you must ensure that you have a good preparation before applying for the visa. In case you need any sort of help during your visa application process, you can always contact us and let us know your requirement. At Visa Reservation, we provide a range of services, including getting your flight itinerary for visa, travel insurance, or hotel reservation for visa. Our experienced visa experts are also available 24/7 to assist you through each step of your visa application, so that your journey is fun and stress-free!