What is the Schengen area?


The Schengen Area is an area in Europe made up of 26 countries where there are no internal borders and therefore, the free circulation of people, goods, services, and capital is allowed. This area has external border control, requiring a permit from third party countries wishing to gain access.

Do not confuse the countries of the European Union with the Schengen Area. They are two different zones and thus have different regulations. The Schengen Area is made up of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

To access the Schengen Area from another country, you need a visa. The Schengen visa, commonly known as a tourist visa, is a permit that allows for free movement within the Schengen Area. This visa permits you to travel to any countries recognized by the Schengen Area during a period of 90 days or less during any 180-day period (the 90 days do not have to be consecutive).

The Schengen visa can extend up to 90 days longer in extraordinary circumstances. In order for the Schengen area to grant your request for a visa extension, you must provide an irrefutable reason for doing so. An irrefutable reason is when someone cannot travel or leave the country for medical reasons. All other reasons, as important as they may be, will probably be rejected.

If you do not follow the rules and stay in these countries for a longer period of time than allowed, you could face penalties: from a fine between 500 and 1,000 euros to a passport ban which will prohibit admission to the Schengen Area for 3 years.