Visa policy of the Schengen Area

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A specimen Schengen visa (issued by Germany)
Schengen stamp at entry to the Schengen territory at Frankfurt airport
Schengen stamp when exiting the Schengen territory from a French airport

The visa policy of the Schengen Area is set by the European Union and applies to the Schengen Area and to other EU member states without the opt-outs obtained by Ireland and the United Kingdom.[1] The visa policy allows nationals of certain countries to enter the Schengen Area without a visa for short stays and requires others to have a visa.

The Schengen Area consists of 22 EU member states and four non-EU countries who are members of EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are not yet part of the Schengen Area but, nonetheless, have a visa policy that is based on the Schengen acquis.[2]

Ireland and the United Kingdom opt out of the EU visa policies and instead operate their own separate visa policies, as do certain overseas territories of EU and Schengen member states.

Nationals of EU and Schengen countries are not only visa-exempt but are legally entitled to enter and reside in each other's countries. Their right to freedom of movement in each other's countries can, however, be limited in a reserved number of situations, as prescribed by the EU treaties.

Visa exemptions[edit]

Schengen Area visa lists.
  Schengen member states
  Other EU members outside Schengen Area but bound by same visa policy and special territories of the EU and Schengen member states. These countries are also legally obliged to join the Area as soon as they meet the criteria.
  Members of the EU with an independent visa policy
  Visa-free access to the Schengen states for 90 days in any 180-day period, although some Annex II nationals can enjoy longer visa-free access in some circumstances (EC 539/2001 Annex II)
  Visa required to enter the Schengen states (EC 539/2001 Annex I)
  Visa required for transit via the Schengen states (EC 810/2009 Annex IV)
  Visa status unknown

Freedom of movement[edit]

Council of EuropeSchengen AreaEuropean Free Trade AssociationEuropean Economic AreaEurozoneEuropean UnionEuropean Union Customs UnionAgreement with EU to mint eurosGUAMCentral European Free Trade AgreementNordic CouncilBaltic AssemblyBeneluxVisegrád GroupCommon Travel AreaOrganization of the Black Sea Economic CooperationUnion StateSwitzerlandIcelandNorwayLiechtensteinSwedenDenmarkFinlandPolandCzech RepublicHungarySlovakiaGreeceEstoniaLatviaLithuaniaBelgiumNetherlandsLuxembourgItalyFranceSpainAustriaGermanyPortugalSloveniaMaltaCyprusIrelandUnited KingdomCroatiaRomaniaBulgariaTurkeyMonacoAndorraSan MarinoVatican CityGeorgiaUkraineAzerbaijanMoldovaArmeniaRussiaBelarusSerbiaAlbaniaMontenegroMacedoniaBosnia and HerzegovinaKosovo (UNMIK)
A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various multinational European organisations and agreements.

Nationals of 'Annex II' countries and territories (visa waiver countries)[edit]

Since 2001, the European Union has issued two lists regarding visas for the Schengen Area: a list of countries whose nationals do not require visas (Annex II)[11] and a list of countries whose nationals do require visas (Annex I).[12] The two lists are also adopted by Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, even though the four countries are not yet part of the Schengen Area.

Nationals of the following 62 countries and territories holding ordinary passports may enter the Schengen Area without a visa, for short stays (usually 90 days within a 180-day period):[13]

Residents and holders of visas of Schengen states[edit]

Holders of a visa or residence permit issued by a Schengen state or Monaco may also travel to other Schengen states, without an additional visa, for a stay of up to 90 days in any 180-day period.[56][57][58]

Holders of a visa or residence permit issued by a Schengen state, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania may also travel to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, without an additional visa, for a stay of up to 90 days in any 180-day period (except nationals of Turkey and Azerbaijan traveling to Cyprus, who still need a Cypriot visa).[59][60][61][62] However, visas and residence permits issued by Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania are not valid for travel to the Schengen Area.

Family members of EU/Schengen nationals[edit]

Individuals of any nationality who are family members of EU/Schengen nationals and are in possession of a residence permit indicating their status are exempt from the requirement to hold a visa when entering the European Union or Schengen Area when they are accompanying their EU/Schengen family member or are seeking to join them.[63]

School pupils resident in the EU/Schengen or Annex II countries and territories[edit]

Holders of local border traffic permits[edit]

Currently the local border traffic regulation agreements exist with Belarus (with Latvia since 2011), Moldova (with Romania since 2010), Russia (with Norway since 2012, with Latvia since 2013 and Poland 2012-20161) and Ukraine (with Hungary and Slovakia since 2008, Poland since 2009 and Romania since 2015). Agreement between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina is pending ratification but is applied on provisional basis.[71]

  1. ^ Poland has suspended the border traffic agreements with Russia indefinitely from 4 July 2016.[72][73]

Holders of non-ordinary passports[edit]

Recent EU visa waiver bilateral agreements are exempting holders of non-ordinary passports from a visa requirement. These waivers are applicable to the counter-party, the Schengen countries, Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and countries that are obliged to implement the Schengen acquis (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania):

  • Armenia - exemption for diplomatic passports[77] (except Denmark and Iceland)
  • Azerbaijan - exemption for diplomatic passports[78] (except Denmark and Iceland; biometric diplomatic passport only for Liechtenstein and Switzerland)
  • Cape Verde - exemption for diplomatic and service passports[79] (except Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland)
  • China - exemption for diplomatic passports[80]
  • Russia - exemption for diplomatic passports[81]

There are no common black[Note 1] or transit[Note 2] lists for holders of diplomatic, service and other official passports. States may still maintain a different policy on these.[84][85][86]

Airport transit[edit]

In general, a passenger who transits through one single airport in the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania while remaining airside less than one day will not require a visa.

However, on 5 April 2010, common visa requirements for airport transit were introduced by the European Union.[83] Nationals of the following 12 countries are required to hold an airport transit visa (ATV) when transiting through any airport in the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania, even if they remain airside:[120]

However, nationals of the above countries are exempt from airport transit visas if they:

  • hold a Schengen visa, a national long-stay visa or a residence permit issued by a EU member state,
  • hold certain residence permits issued by Andorra, Canada, Japan, San Marino or the United States guaranteeing the holder's unconditional readmission to that country,
  • hold a valid visa for a EU/EEA member state, Canada, Japan or the United States of America, or when they return from those countries after having used the visa,
  • are family members of a EU citizen,
  • hold a diplomatic passport, or
  • are flight crew members whose state of nationality is a party to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation.

Additionally, individual Schengen countries can impose airport transit visa requirements for nationals of other countries in urgent cases of mass influx of illegal immigrants.[83]

Visas[edit]

Schengen visas can be issued by any country in the Schengen area. Travellers must apply to the embassy or consulate of the country which they intend to visit. In cases of travellers visiting multiple countries in the Schengen area, travellers must apply to their main destination's embassy or consulate. [122] If the main destination cannot be determined, the traveller should apply for the visa at the embassy of the Schengen country of first entry.[122][123] Often, external service providers are contracted by certain diplomatic missions to process, collect and return visa applications.

Schengen visa applications may not be submitted more than three months prior to the proposed date of entry into the Schengen area.[124] All countries' embassies may require applicants to provide biometric identifiers (ten fingerprints and a digital photograph) as part of the visa application process to be stored on the Visa Information System (VIS). Biometric identifiers are not collected from children under the age of 12.[125] Travellers must apply in person and are subject to an interview by the consular officers. Providing that the visa application is admissible and there are no issues with the application, a decision must be given within 15 calendar days of the date on which the application was lodged.[126]

Schengen visas are valid for any country in the Schengen Area. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania also accept Schengen visas, as well as visas issued by each other, for stays of up to 90 days in a 180-day period (except for nationals of Turkey and Azerbaijan traveling to Cyprus).[59][60][61][62] However, visas issued by Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania are not valid for travel to the Schengen Area.

The Schengen Convention and Codex permit countries to require visitors to report their presence to a police station within 3 days if passing over an internal border.[127] This varies by country and can usually be performed by hotels instead.

Visa facilitation agreements[edit]

The EU has concluded visa facilitation agreements that allow facilitated procedures for issuing visas for both the EU citizens and nationals of the partner country. The facilitated procedures include faster visa processing times, reduced fee or fee-free visa application processing, reduces list of supporting documents. The agreements are in force with the following countries:[128]

Country Entry into force
 Albania 2008
 Armenia 2014
 Azerbaijan 2014
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2008
 Cape Verde 2014
 Macedonia 2008
 Georgia 2011
 Moldova 2013
 Montenegro 2008
 Serbia 2008
 Russia 2007
 Ukraine 2013

These agreements are linked to readmission agreements that allow the return of people irregularly residing in the EU.[129]

At the border[edit]

In exceptional cases, single-entry Schengen visas valid for up to 15 days may be issued on arrival at the border. These visas are reserved for individuals who can prove that they were unable to apply for a visa in advance due to time constraints arising out of 'unforeseeable' and 'imperative' reasons as long as they fulfil the regular criteria for the issuing of a Schengen visa.[130] However, if the individual requesting a Schengen visa at the border falls within a category of people for which it is necessary to consult one or more of the central authorities of other Schengen States, they may only be issued a visa at the border in exceptional cases on humanitarian grounds, on grounds of national interest or on account of international obligations (such as the death or sudden serious illness of a close relative or of another close person).[131] In 2014, over 122,000 Schengen visas were issued to travellers on arrival at the border.[132] People trying this way to travel to the Schengen Area, can get into problems with the airline because of the carrier's responsibility, which penalises airlines if they carry passengers who do not have the correct documentation.

Visas with limited territorial validity[edit]

In exceptional cases, member states may issue visas with limited territorial validity (LTV) instead of a Schengen visa. A LTV visa may either specifically name member state(s) for which it is valid or, inversely, specifically name member state(s) for which it is not valid. Holders of LTV visas are only permitted to transit via, travel to, and circulate within the territories of, member states for which it is valid.

According to the Schengen visa code, member states may issue LTV visas:[133]

  • when a consulate deems it justifiable to overcome the three-month limitation in six months;
  • or when a member state considers it necessary due to pressing circumstances to derogate from entry conditions as set by Schengen Border code, or to overcome objections of other member states, or in cases of urgency.

Despite the fact that LTV visas may be issued in exceptional cases only, some member state abuse the facility. For instance, the Spanish Embassy in Russia occasionally issues LTV visas to tourists.

Unrecognised travel documents[edit]

As the following travel documents are not recognised by any Schengen country, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, visas are not endorsed inside the travel documents.[84]

In addition, the following entities are not recognised as sovereign states by any Schengen country, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania. Therefore, passports issued by them are not recognised as valid travel documents by any Schengen country, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania, and visas will not be attached to such passports.[134]

Statistics[edit]

Most visas were applied for from the following countries (listed if over 100,000 applications):

2017
2016
2015

Recent changes[edit]

Changes to the entries on Annex I (list of visa nationals) and Annex II (list of visa-exempt nationals) are regularly considered by the Council of the European Union based on advice from the individual member states. The Council then proposes draft legislation which has to be approved by the European Parliament.

On 24 January 2011, Moldova officially received an action plan on visa liberalization from the EU's Internal Affairs Commissioner.[140] In October 2013, the Commission proposed that visa requirements for short term visits be abolished for Moldovan nationals holding biometric passports.[141][142] On 27 February 2014, the European Parliament approved visa-free travel for Moldovan nationals.[143] The Council gave their consent on 3 April, allowing visa-free travel from 28 April 2014.[144]

On 7 November 2012, the European Commission announced a proposal to introduce visa-free travel for nationals from 16 island nations — 5 from the Caribbean (Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago), 10 from the Pacific (Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) and Timor-Leste. The European Parliament also amended the list to include three other countries: Colombia, Peru, United Arab Emirates in February 2014.[145][146][147] Each of the 19 countries were required to conclude a bilateral visa waiver agreement with the European Union.[148] Agreements were signed and took effect with the United Arab Emirates on 6 May 2015,[149][150] with Timor-Leste on 26 May 2015,[151] with Dominica, Grenada, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu on 28 May 2015,[152] with Tonga on 21 November 2015,[153] with Colombia on 3 December 2015,[154] with Palau on 8 December 2015,[155] with Peru on 15 March 2016, with Kiribati on 23 June 2016, with Marshall Islands on 28 June 2016, with Tuvalu on 2 July 2016, and with Micronesia on 20 September 2016. As of 2018, Nauru is the only one of the 19 countries that has not signed a visa waiver agreement.

On 5 August 2015, the European Commission submitted a recommendation authorising the opening of negotiations on a short-stay visa waiver agreement with China for holders of diplomatic passports.[156] The agreement was subsequently signed by both parties on 29 February 2016 and went into effect on 2 March 2016.[157] The agreement, however, does not apply to UK and Ireland as separate visa-waiver agreements were already in force with these two countries.[158]

An action plan on visa liberalisation with Georgia was launched on 25 February 2013.[159] In December 2015, the European Commission concluded that Georgia[160] met the criteria for visa liberalization. In March 2016, a legislative proposal was presented by the Commission to amend the regulation on visa requirements to include Georgia.[161] The visa waiver for Georgia took effect on 28 March 2017.

On 22 November 2010, the European Council and Ukraine announced "an action plan for Ukraine toward the establishment of a visa-free regime for short-stay travel".[162] In December 2015, the Commission concluded that Ukraine[163] met the criteria for visa liberalization. The visa waiver for Ukraine took effect on 11 June 2017.

Future changes[edit]

Visa exemptions[edit]

Nauru

On 7 November 2012, the European Commission announced a proposal to introduce visa-free travel for nationals of 16 island nations, and the European Parliament amended the list to include three other countries in February 2014.[145][146][147] Each of the 19 countries were required to conclude a bilateral visa waiver agreement with the European Union.[148] As of 2018, Nauru is the only one of the 19 countries that has not signed such an agreement.

Kosovo

On 14 June 2012, Kosovo received a roadmap for visa liberalisation with the EU.[164] In December 2015, the European Commission has adopted the third, and final, report on Kosovo’s progress in fulfilling the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap which lists eight outstanding requirements that remain.[165][166][167]

Turkey

In December 2013, after signing a readmission agreement, the EU started a visa dialogue with Turkey including a "Roadmap towards the visa-free regime".[168] The EU announced readiness to accelerate the implementation of the visa liberalisation roadmap if Turkey stems the influx of refugees and migrants to Europe.[169]

In the first half of 2016, legislative proposals were presented by the Commission to amend the regulation on visa requirements to include Kosovo[170] and Turkey[171] in the list of countries whose nationals are visa-exempt for short stays in the Schengen Area.

Ecuador

In January 2018 the Government of Spain submitted a request for visa exemption for nationals of Ecuador.[172]

Indonesia

On 10 July 2015, the foreign minister of Indonesia, Retno Marsudi, and the European Commission Vice President, Frans Timmermans, discussed possibilities for Indonesian passport holders to get visa-free access to the Schengen Area. They noted that the visa rejection rate for Indonesian nationals is low at 1.1% in 2014 and immigration violations by Indonesian nationals are very low.[173] Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,[174] Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland are some Schengen members who gave their support to Indonesia for visa-free access to the Schengen Area.[175][176][177][178][179][180]

During the sidelines of the EU-ASEAN ministerial meeting in Luxembourg on 5 November 2015, the European Commission reportedly included Indonesia in a list of countries proposed for review by the European Council. Indonesia's proposal will be submitted to the council in early 2016. The European Council then ask three main entities (Frontex, Europol and the EASO) to study and review Indonesia's eligibility. If the study results are positive, then the Council and the European Commission will propose new regulations for Indonesia's Schengen visa waiver.[181][182][183]

On 25 February 2016, Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Arrmanatha Nassir, claimed that Indonesia has already received a green light from the EU Commission and almost two-third of Schengen countries to get the visa-waiver status. However, the implementation will not happen in the near future, because the visa-waiver procedure in the EU is quite complex and there are new migration issues in the region.[184] Meanwhile, Patrick Herman, ambassador of Belgium to Indonesia, is confident that the visa waiver agreement will be reached as soon as possible as all stakeholders are working to finalize the necessary agreements.[185]

Russia

On 15 December 2011, in a statement given after an EU-Russia summit, the President of the European Commission confirmed the launch of "Common Steps towards visa-free travel" with Russia.[186] In 2013, Russia and the European Union have agreed on the issue of biometric service passports.[187] The EU suspended talks in March 2014, as a result of the situation in Ukraine.[188]

Visa suspension mechanism[edit]

The European Commission has a duty to monitor the continuous fulfillment of visa liberalization requirements by third countries and to report on those matters. In its first report from December 2017 the European Commission made an assessment on Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and Ukraine. The Commission found that visa liberalization requirements for the concerned countries continue to be fulfilled. The European Commission found that irregular migration persists in the case of Albania and that immediate action must be taken on prevention and fight against corruption and money laundering in Moldova and on safeguarding anti-corruption measures in Ukraine.[189]

Visa issuance reform[edit]

In March 2018 the European Commission proposed to amend the Schengen visa issuance rules to reduce the issuance time from 15 to 10 days and to extend the limit to submit applications up to 6 months in advance of the planned trip. It is also proposed to issue visas with longer validity for trusted regular travellers. The European Commission also proposed to allow issuance of single entry visas valid for one country for visits up to 7 days on arrival at land and sea borders, under temporary, seasonal schemes. A visa fee increase to EUR 80 was also proposed. The Commission will also launch a study during 2018 to examine how the visa application can be fully digitalised in the future.[190]

ETIAS[edit]

We need to know who is crossing our borders. By November, we will propose an automated system to determine who will be allowed to travel to Europe. This way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here. — Jean-Claude Juncker, 2016: State of the Union Address

In November 2016, the European Commission proposed a system for an electronic authorisation of visa-exempt third country nationals called ETIAS[191] (European Travel Information and Authorisation System).[192] Under the proposal the ETIAS will be managed by the European Border and Coast Guard in cooperation with national authorities. Foreign visitors will be required to submit personal data in advance and pay a processing fee (fee is waived for children). Submitted applications will be processed automatically by checking against databases and watch lists and in case no issues appear the authorisation should be issued immediately. The authorisation request may be processed for up 72 hours in which case the applicant must be notified if the authorisation request was issued or refused or if additional information is required. In case the authorisation is refused the applicant will have the right of appeal in accordance with national law of the member state. The authorisation will be valid for five years. A travel authorisation with limited territorial validity may be issued only exceptionally. It is imagined as a system similar to the ESTA system of the United States and the eTA system of Canada. It is expected to enter into operation on 1 January 2020.[193] The cost for developing ETIAS is estimated at €212.1 million.[193][194]

ETIAS requirements will not apply to:[195]

  • nationals of states belonging to EU or the Schengen area
  • people who need a Schengen visa
  • nationals of the microstates in the Schengen area
  • local border traffic permit holders
  • holders of diplomatic passports
  • crew members on duty
  • family members of EU citizens holding a valid residence card
  • nationals of a third country enjoying the right to free movement holding a valid residence card
  • recognised refugees or stateless person residing in one of the member states and holding a travel document issued there
  • visits to the United Kingdom (also pre-Brexit) or Ireland [196]
    • but will apply to visits to Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania, also to Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.[196]

Aside from visa-exempt third country nationals, the ETIAS requirements will also apply to:

  • family members of EU citizens not holding a valid residence card
  • nationals of a third country enjoying the right to free movement not holding a valid residence card

In addition, the EU citizens or nationals of states party to the Schengen agreement who have multiple nationalities will be obliged to use a passport issued by a EU member state or state party to the Schengen agreement in order to enter the Schengen area.

The fee is €5; non-EU visitors to the Schengen area will have to provide various details.[192], this information is cross-referenced against various EU databases[194]

ETIAS can be revoked after it has been issued. The principle for that was decided in an agreement between the Commission and the Parliament in April 2018. It can be revoked if the conditions for issuing it are no longer met, particularly if it was fraudulently obtained. Also if there is a refusal of entry, or on a reported lost or stolen travel document.[197]

Entry/Exit System[edit]

In 2013, the EU also adopted a proposal for establishment of an Entry/Exit System that would make it possible to identify overstayers.[198] The system will register the name, type of travel document and biometrics and the date and place of entry and exit including refusals of entry.

The Entry/Exit System proposal was adopted by the European Commission in October 2017. The plan still needs to be adopted by the Council of the European Union. The European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT Systems in the area of freedom, security and justice is tasked with development of the system which is meant to be operational by 2020.[199]

The EU also plans to establish a Registered Traveller Programme that would allow pre-screened travellers easier access.[200]

Reciprocity[edit]

Visa requirements for the European Union citizens
  European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
  Visa free access for all EU citizens
  Visa free access for some (1-27) EU citizens
  Visa on arrival for all EU citizens
  Visa on arrival for some (1-27) EU citizens
  Electronic visa application

As per Regulation No 539/2001 (amended by Regulation No 1289/2013)[201] reciprocity is required from all Annex II countries and territories. That means that these countries must offer visa-free access for 90 days to all EU citizens (except nationals of Ireland and the United Kingdom) and to the nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. When this is not the case, the affected EU or Schengen member state is expected to notify the European Commission. Starting six months after the notification, the Commission may adopt an implementing act to suspend the visa-free regime for certain categories of nationals of the third country concerned, for a period of up to six months, with a possible prolongation by further periods of up to six months. If the Commission decides not to adopt such an act, it has to present a report explaining the reasons why it did not propose the measure. If after two years from the notification the third country is still requiring visas from nationals of one or more member states, the Commission shall adopt a delegated act to re-impose the visa obligation on all nationals of the third country, for a period of 12 months. Either the European Parliament or the Council could oppose the entry into force of the delegated acts.[202] All of the states that implement the common visa rules – including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania – may notify the European Commission about non-compliant third states.[203]

Since the adoption of this policy, full reciprocity has been achieved with all Annex II countries except the United States, which still requires visas from nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.[204] In November 2014, the Bulgarian government announced that it would not ratify the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership unless the United States lifted visa requirements for its nationals.[205] Since the United States failed to lift the requirements, on 3 March 2017 the European Parliament voted in favor of a non-binding resolution calling on the European Commission to revoke the visa-free travel for US nationals to the Schengen Area.[206]

Some Annex II countries also impose minor restrictions on nationals of EU or Schengen member states, but they are not considered a breach of reciprocity by the European Commission:

  • Australia requires all nationals of EU and Schengen states to obtain an electronic authorization before travel (eVisitor), which is issued free of charge.
  • Canada requires all nationals of EU and Schengen states to obtain an electronic authorization (eTA) when arriving by air.[Note 4] The application fee is 7 CAD.
  • Israel requires a visa from German nationals born before 1928, which is issued free or charge if they were not involved with the Nazi Party.[208][209][210]
  • Japan introduced a temporary visa waiver for Romanian nationals on 1 September 2009. It has been renewed several times since then, and it is currently set to expire on 31 December 2018.[211][204]
  • The United States requires nationals of eligible EU and Schengen states to obtain an electronic authorization (ESTA) for air and sea arrivals. The application fee is 14 USD.

Stays exceeding 90 days[edit]

For stays in the Schengen Area as a whole which exceed 90 days, as a general rule, a third country national (i.e. a non-EU, EEA or Swiss national) will need to hold either a long-stay visa for a period of no longer than a year or a residence permit for longer periods. Similarly, a third-country national who wishes to stay for more than 90 days in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania will be required to hold a long-stay visa or a residence permit.

Although long-stay visas issued by Schengen countries, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania have the same uniform design, as a national visa, in general, the procedures and conditions for issue are determined by each individual country. Therefore, for example, whilst some Schengen countries (such as France) require applications for long-stay visas to be made in the applicant's home country, other Schengen countries permit applicants to lodge their applications after arrival. Some countries, such as Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Switzerland offer a hybrid regime, whereby third-country nationals are required to apply for long-stay visas in their home country, with the exception of a few nationalities who are permitted to apply for a residence permit directly upon arrival without having first to obtain a long-stay visa. For example, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Switzerland allow New Zealand nationals to apply for a residence permit upon arrival without having to apply for a long-stay visa in advance, but not South African nationals.[212][213][214][215]

However, in some situations, the procedures and conditions for the issue of long-stay visas have been harmonised among all Schengen member states, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. For example, Council Directive 2004/114 has harmonised the conditions of admission of third country nationals wishing to study in a Schengen member state, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania.[216] Consequently, following the deadline for the implementation of the Directive (i.e. 12 January 2007), all Schengen member states (as well as Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania) are obliged to apply the same criteria in dealing with applications from third country nationals who wish to be admitted to their territory in order to study (namely that the applicant must have a valid travel document covering the duration of the stay, parental authorisation (if a minor), sickness insurance, not be regarded as a threat to public policy, security or health, and payment of the relevant fee).[217]

Long-stay visas issued by a Schengen country entitle the holder to enter the Schengen Area and remain in the territory of the issuing state for a period longer than 90 days, but no more than one year. If a Schengen state wishes to allow the holder of a long-stay visa to remain there for longer than a year, the state must issue them with a residence permit.

The holder of a long-stay visa or a residence permit issued by a Schengen country is entitled to move freely within the other states which comprise the Schengen Area for a period of up to 90 days in any 180 days.[218] Third-country nationals who are long-term residents in a Schengen state may also acquire the right to move to and settle in another Schengen state without losing their legal status and social benefits.[219]

However, some third-country nationals are permitted to stay in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days without the need to apply for a long-stay visa. For example, France does not require nationals of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City to apply for a long-stay visa.[220] In addition, Article 20(2) of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement allows for this 'in exceptional circumstances' and for bilateral agreements concluded by individual signatory states with other countries before the Convention entered into force to remain applicable. As a result, for example, New Zealand nationals are permitted to stay for up to 90 days in each of the Schengen countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) which had already concluded bilateral visa exemption agreements with the New Zealand Government prior to the Convention entering into force without the need to apply for long-stay visas,[41][221] but if travelling to other Schengen countries the 90 days in any 180 day period time limit applies.

Means of subsistence[edit]

In addition to general requirements, EU member states also set entry conditions for foreign nationals of countries outside the EEA and Switzerland called the "reference amounts required for the crossing of the external border fixed by national authorities" regarding means of subsistence during their stay.[222][223]

Authorities of Austria, Cyprus and Luxembourg decide on a case-by-case basis.

Country Reference amount
Belgium €45 per day for aliens staying with a private individual; €95 per day for aliens staying at a hotel.
Bulgaria €50 per day; minimum €500 per stay[224]
Croatia €100 per day; but €50 for aliens possessing a certified guarantee letter, a proof of paid travel arrangements, etc.
Czech Republic €40 per day up to 30 days[225]
Germany €45 per day in the form of cash, credit cards and cheques but alternatively a letter of guarantee from the host.[226]
Denmark DKK350 per day
Estonia €78 per day or a letter of invitation
Finland €30 per day[227]
France €120 per day if holding no proof of accommodation; €65 per day if staying at a hotel; €32.50 per day if holding proof of accommodation.[228]
Greece €50 per day; minimum total amount of €300 for a stay of up to 5 days reduced by 50% for minors[229]
Hungary HUF1000 per entry or letter of invitation, confirmation of accommodation or any other credible proof.[230]
Iceland ISK4,000 per day + ISK20,000 per each entry
Italy €269.60 fixed sum for stays up to 5 days (€212.81 per person for groups of two and more);

6–10 days: €44.93 per day (€26.33); 11–20 days: €51.64 fixed sum + €36.67 per day (€25.82 + €22.21); 20+ days €206.58 fixed sum + €27.89 per day (€118.79 + €17.04).

Latvia €14 per day or certified invitation letter
Liechtenstein CHF100 per day; CHF30 for students
Lithuania €40 per day
Malta €48 per day
Netherlands €34 per day
Norway NOK500 per day (indicative for those not staying with friends or relatives)
Poland PLN300 for stay not exceeding 3 days; PLN100 per day by stay exceeding 3 days; PLN20 per day if cost of the stay were paid.[231]
Portugal €40 per day + €75 per entry
Romania €50 per day; minimum €500 per stay
Slovakia €56 per day (€30 for accommodation, €4 for breakfast, €7.5 for lunch, €7.5 for dinner, €7 for spending) or a certified invitation letter[232]
Slovenia €70; €35 for minors accompanied by parents[233]
Spain €583.74 minimum amount (for stays of up to 10 days); €64.86 per day in excess of 10 days.[234]
Sweden SEK450 per day
Switzerland CHF100 per day; CHF30 for students

Netherlands exempts visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, United States and Vatican City from holding proof of sufficient funds and return tickets.[235] Romania requires visitors from the Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine to hold a medical insurance covering the period of stay. Romania also exempts visitors from Australia, Canada, South Korea and the United States from holding proof of sufficient funds and return tickets.[236]

Visa policies of Ireland, United Kingdom and overseas territories[edit]

Ireland grants visa-free entry to all Schengen Annex II nationalities, except for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Georgia, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, Palau, Peru, Serbia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine and Venezuela. It also grants visa-free entry to several additional countries – Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Fiji, Guyana, Lesotho, Maldives, Nauru, South Africa and Swaziland.

The United Kingdom grants visa-free entry to all Schengen Annex II nationalities, except for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Peru, Serbia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. It also grants visa-free entry to several additional countries – Belize, Botswana, Maldives, Nauru, Namibia and Papua New Guinea. The visa policy of the United Kingdom also applies to the Crown dependencies.

British overseas territories have independent visa policies. Some of them are generally aligned with the visa policy of the United Kingdom, but there are many exceptions and additions. Akrotiri and Dhekelia has open borders with Cyprus and follows the visa policy of the Schengen Area, but requires permits for stays longer than 28 days per 12-month period.[237][238]

French overseas departments and territories and the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have individual visa policies that are mostly aligned with the Schengen Area, with some exceptions regarding countries recently added to Annex II and some additions.

The Faroe Islands and Greenland have the same list of nationalities exempt from visas as the Schengen Area, and arrivals from the Schengen Area are not subject to border checks. However, Schengen visas are not valid there, so nationalities that are not exempt need separate visas for these territories.[239][240]

Svalbard is an entirely visa-free zone.

Visa policies of candidate and applicant states[edit]

Countries applying to join the European Union are obliged to adopt the EU's visa policy no later than three months before they formally join the Union.[241] Schengen countries give visa-free access to nationals of all European Union candidate and applicant states except Turkey.[242] Candidate states Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia maintain similar visa policies to the Schengen Area with some notable exceptions regarding countries that were added to the Annex II more recently and additional nationalities not listed in Schengen Annex II, while Turkey still requires visas even from nationals of some of the Schengen member states. Bosnia and Herzegovina as an applicant country also has its visa policy mostly aligned with the Schengen Area.

Validity for other countries[edit]

Schengen visas that are valid for further travel are accepted as substitute visas for national visas in the following countries:

  •  Albania — 90 days; must hold a multiple entry C visa or D visa used to enter the Schengen Area at least once.
  •  Andorra — should hold a multiple entry visa, relaxed checks
  •  Antigua and Barbuda — 30 days; USD100 visa waiver fee applies.
  •  Belarus — 5 days; for nationals of China, Gambia, Haiti, Honduras, India, Lebanon, Namibia, Samoa and Vietnam only.
  •  Bosnia and Herzegovina — 30 days; must hold a multiple entry visa.[243]
  •  Bulgaria — 90 days; must hold a double or multiple entry C visa valid for the period of stay.
  •  Colombia — 90 days; for nationals of Cambodia, China, India, Macau (180 days), Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam only. Schengen visa must be valid for 180 days at the time of entry to Colombia.[244]
  •  Croatia — 90 days; must hold a double or multiple entry C visa valid for the period of stay.
  •  Cyprus — 90 days; must hold a double or multiple entry C visa valid for the period of stay.
  •  Dominican Republic — 90 days;
  •  El Salvador — 90 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
  •  Georgia — 90 days within any 180 day period;
  •  Gibraltar — 21 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
  •  Guatemala — 90 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
  •  Honduras — 90 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
  •  Jamaica — 30 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
  •  Macedonia — 15 days; must hold a C visa valid for at least 5 days beyond the period of stay and must be valid for re-entry to any of the Schengen Area member states.
  •  Mexico — 180 days;[245]
  •  Moldova — 90 days within any 180 day period; applicable to nationals of China, Kuwait, and Qatar only.
  •  Montenegro — 30 days;
  •  Nicaragua — 90 days; not applicable to all nationalities.
  •  Oman — certain nationalities can obtain an electronic Omani visa if holding a valid Schengen visa.
  •  Philippines — 7 days for nationals of China; 14 days for nationals of India.
  •  Qatar — Non-visa-free nationals can obtain an electronic travel authorization for 30 days if holding a valid Schengen visa
  •  Romania — 90 days; must hold a double or multiple entry C visa valid for the period of stay.
  •  Sao Tome and Principe — 15 days;
  •  Serbia — 90 days;
  •  Turkey — certain nationalities can obtain an electronic Turkish visa if holding a valid Schengen visa.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Black list of passport types where a visa is required for entry, corresponding to Annex I of Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001.[82]
  2. ^ Transit list of passport types where a visa is required not only for entry, but also for airport transit, corresponding to Annex IV of Council regulation No. 810/2009.[83]
  3. ^ Fantasy passports are either imitation passports issued by minorities, sects and population groups; or identity documents, etc., issued by private organisations and individuals. Camouflage passports are passports issued in the name of former States no longer in existence.[84]
  4. ^ Except for French nationals living in Saint Pierre and Miquelon who fly directly from there to Canada.[207]

References[edit]

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  9. ^ Article 28 of Directive 2004/38/EC (Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States).
  10. ^ Article 29 of Directive 2004/38/EC (Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States).
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  15. ^ Officially referred to as "British citizens who are not nationals of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the purposes of Union law: British nationals (Overseas), British overseas territories citizens (BOTC), British overseas citizens (BOC), British protected persons (BPP), British subjects (BS)". Regulation (EU) No. 509/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council
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  22. ^ Ratified by the EP on 15 December 2015
  23. ^ Ratified by the EP on 15 December 2015
  24. ^ Ratified by the EP on 8 June 2016
  25. ^ Ratified by the EP on 8 June 2016
  26. ^ Ratified by the EP on 8 June 2016
  27. ^ Ratified by the EP on 5 July 2016
  28. ^ Ratified by the EP on 1 December 2016
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  189. ^ COM(2017) 815 final REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL First Report under the Visa Suspension Mechanism {SWD(2017) 480 final}
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  191. ^ "Essential requirements needed for an ETIAS visa". https://www.etiasvisa.com.  External link in |website= (help)
  192. ^ a b "Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and amending Regulations (EU) No 515/2014, (EU) 2016/399, (EU) 2016/794 and (EU) 2016/1624" (PDF). 
  193. ^ a b "European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Security Union: Commission proposes a European Travel Information and Authorisation System". 
  194. ^ a b "European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Security Union: A European Travel Information and Authorisation System - Questions & Answers". 
  195. ^ Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) See page 36-37.
  196. ^ a b Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) See pages 22-23.
  197. ^ ETIAS - The European Travel Information and Authorisation System April 2018
  198. ^ Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing an Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data of third country nationals crossing the external borders of the Member States of the European Union (EUROPEAN COMMISSION 2013)
  199. ^ Security Union: Commission welcomes adoption of Entry/Exit System for stronger and smarter EU borders
  200. ^ Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing a Registered Traveller Programme (EUROPEAN COMMISSION 2013)
  201. ^ Regulation (EU) No 1289/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (OJ L 347, 20/12/2013, p. 74–80).
  202. ^ The details of the procedure are set out in Articles 1(4) of Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 as amended by Regulation (EU) No 1289/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013(OJ L 347, 20/12/2013, p. 74–80).
  203. ^ State of play and the possible ways forward as regards the situation of non-reciprocity with certain third countries in the area of visa policy, European Commission, 12 April 2016.
  204. ^ a b State of play and possible ways forward as regards the situation of non-reciprocity with certain third countries in the area of visa policy and assessment of the effectiveness of the reciprocity mechanism provided for in Article 1(4) of Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001, European Commission, 20 December 2017.
  205. ^ http://m3web.bg, M3 Web -. "Bulgaria Will Not Sign TTIP Unless US Lifts Visa Requirements - Minister - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency". 
  206. ^ Sharman, Jon (3 March 2016). "European Parliament votes to end visa-free travel for Americans". The Independent. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  207. ^ "Entry requirements by country". Government of Canada. 
  208. ^ Consular services, Israeli Embassy in Germany.
  209. ^ German nationals who were born before 1928, Israeli Embassy in Germany. (in German)
  210. ^ Statement, Israeli Embassy in Germany. (in German)
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  212. ^ "Overview of visa requirements/exemptions for entry into the Federal Republic of Germany". 
  213. ^ "Consulate-General of the Republic of Hungary in New Zealand: General information for entering Hungary, a member of the Schengen Area". 
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  216. ^ Council Directive 2004/114/EC of 13 December 2004 on the conditions of admission of third-country nationals for the purposes of studies, pupil exchange, unremunerated training or voluntary service (L 375/12, 23 December 2004)
  217. ^ Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of Directive 2004/114/EC
  218. ^ Regulation (EU) No 265/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 March 2010 amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a long-stay visa (OJ L 85, 31 March 2010, p. 1)
  219. ^ Council Directive 2003/109/EC concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents (OJ L 16, 23 January 2004, p.44).
  220. ^ "Accueil Particuliers - service-public.fr". 
  221. ^ "Page not found - 404 error - eeas - European Commission". 
  222. ^ "Annex 25 – Reference amounts required for the crossing of the external border fixed by national authorities" (PDF). 
  223. ^ http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/e-library/documents/policies/borders-and-visas/schengen/docs/reference_amounts_table_en.pdf
  224. ^ Article 19(5) of the Ordinance on the terms and the procedure for the issuing of visas, adopted by Council of Ministers Decree No 97/11.05.2002
  225. ^ Act No 326/1999 Sb. on Residence of Aliens in the Territory of the Czech Republic and Amendments of Some Acts
  226. ^ Article 15(2) of the Residence Ac t of 30 July 2004
  227. ^ Aliens' Act (301/2004, paragraph 11)
  228. ^ Minimum wage equivalent.
  229. ^ Common Ministerial Decision No 3021/22/10- f of 24 December 2007
  230. ^ Decree No 25/2001. (XI. 21.) of the Minister of Interior
  231. ^ Regulation of the Minister for Internal Affairs and Administration of 22 December 2008 on the means of subsistence that an alien entering the territory of the Republic of Poland should possess and on the documentation confirming the ability to access such means (Journal of Laws 2008, No 235, item 1611)
  232. ^ Article 4 of the Act No 48/2002 Coll. on Stay of Aliens and on amendment of certain acts as amended
  233. ^ Instructions on refusing entry to aliens, conditions for issuing visas at border crossings, conditions for issuing visas for humanitarian reasons and procedure for revoking visas (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 2/01)
  234. ^ Order of the Ministry of the Presidency (PRE/1282/2007)
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  236. ^ "Country information (visa section)". Timatic. International Air Transport Association (IATA) through Olympic Air. Retrieved 1 April 2017. 
  237. ^ Protocols No. 3 and 10 to the Treaty of Accession 2003, EUR-Lex, 23 September 2003.
  238. ^ Control (entry, settlement and commercial enterprises) ordinance 1960, Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia Gazette, consolidated version as of 3 May 2016.
  239. ^ Visa and Work Permit, Government of the Faroe Islands.
  240. ^ Schengen and Tourists, Government of Greenland.
  241. ^ "Russians, Ukrainians, Turks need visa for Croatia". 
  242. ^ "European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Visa free travel for citizens of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia before Christmas". 
  243. ^ "Visas for Bosnia and Herzegovina". 
  244. ^ "PAISES A LOS CUALES COLOMBIA EXIGE VISA" (PDF). 
  245. ^ Países y regiones que No requieren visa para viajar a México

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