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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. 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.
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.
|Rules for EU/Schengen nationals|
|Directive 2004/38/EC defines the right of free movement for citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes the European Union (EU) and three European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.Switzerland, which is a member of EFTA but not of the EEA, is not bound by the Directive but rather has a separate bilateral agreement on the free movement with the EU.
Nationals of all EU/Schengen member states holding a valid passport, passport card, or national identity card can enter, reside and work in each other's territory without a visa. If they are unable to present a valid passport or national identity card at the border, they must nonetheless be afforded every reasonable opportunity to obtain the necessary documents or have them brought to them within a reasonable period of time or corroborate or prove by other means that he/she is covered by the right of free movement.
However, EU/Schengen member states can refuse entry to any EU/Schengen national on public policy, public security or public health grounds where the person presents a "genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society". If the person has obtained permanent residence in the country entry is sought (a status which is normally attained after 5 years of residence), the member state can only expel the person on serious grounds of public policy or public security. Where the person has resided for 10 years or is a minor, the member state can only expel the person on imperative grounds of public security (and, in the case of minors, if expulsion is necessary in the best interests of the child, as provided for in the Convention on the Rights of the Child). Expulsion on public health grounds must relate to diseases with 'epidemic potential' which have occurred less than 3 months from the person's date of arrival in the member state where entry is sought.
Since 2001, the European Union has issued a list of countries whose nationals need visas (Annex I) and a list of those who do not (Annex II). 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, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania without a visa, for short stays (usually 90 days within a 180-day period):
|Date of visa changes|
|Rules for the Annex II nationals|
|To be able to enter the Schengen Area/Bulgaria/Croatia/Cyprus/Romania visa waiver, the above Annex II nationals are required to:
The above Annex II nationals can enter the Schengen Area as a whole for pleasure or for business without the need to apply for a visa for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period (which entails considering the 180-day period preceding each day of stay). This does not apply to the nationals of those countries that have concluded visa waiver agreements with the EU – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mauritius, and Seychelles, with respect to which the old definition of 3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry continues to apply. Any time spent by an Annex II national in the Schengen Area on a long-stay visa or a residence permit does not count towards the visa exemption period limit of 90 days.Australia and New Zealand nationals enjoy a more liberal visa policy, with both governments signing additional visa policies with individual Schengen countries. Australia nationals can spend up to 90 days in each of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden without reference to time spent in other Schengen signatory states. New Zealand nationals, however, can spend up to 90 days in each of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland (as well as Hungary if visiting it as the final Schengen destination) without reference to time spent in other Schengen signatory states, but if travelling to other Schengen countries the 90 days in any 180-day period time limit applies. In addition, above the framework of the Schengen visa exemption of 90 days in any 180-day period, Argentine, Chilean, Costa Rican, Israeli, Malaysian, South Korean and Uruguayan nationals are permitted to spend an extra 3 months per 6-month period visa-free in the Czech Republic, regardless of time spent in other Schengen countries. Similarly, above the framework of the Schengen visa exemption of 90 days in any 180-day period, Brazilian, Canadian, Chilean, Israeli, Japanese, Malaysian, Singaporean, South Korean and United States nationals are permitted to spend an extra period of 90 days visa-free in Denmark. Again, above the framework of the Schengen visa exemption of 90 days in any 180-day period, Israeli, South Korean and United States nationals are permitted to spend an extra period of 90 days visa-free in Poland.
The above Annex II nationals can also enter Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania without a visa for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period in each of these countries. The visa-free time restrictions for each of these countries is calculated separately (as well as being separate to the Schengen Area visa-free time restriction).
Although all Annex II nationals can enter Schengen countries, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania visa-free for pleasure or for business, individual countries can decide to impose a visa requirement on those who wish to enter to work (i.e. to carry out a 'paid activity'). The table at the end of the article indicates which individual countries permit Annex II nationals to work during their visa-free stay.
Visa waiver access for Annex II nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine applies only to holders of biometric passports. Visa waiver access does not apply to holders of passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate, which issues Serbian passports in Kosovo.
Visa waiver for New Zealand nationals also applies to Cook Islanders, Niueans and Tokelauans as they also use New Zealand passports.
Visa waiver for Taiwan applies only to holders of Taiwanese passports with their personal ID numbers stipulated in their respective passports. Taiwan issues passports without ID numbers to some persons not having the right to reside in Taiwan, including nationals without household registration and certain persons from Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China. The visa waivers granted by the European Union, the United Kingdom and Ireland to Taiwan passport holders have not altered the European Union member states' non-recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign country. For this reason, Taiwan is listed in Annex II by the European Commission under the heading "entities and territorial authorities that are not recognised as states by at least one member state", by Bulgaria as "China, Taipei" and by Romania under the heading "Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China".
|Rules regarding paid activity during visa-free stay|
|According to a table compiled by the European Commission, some Schengen countries permit certain nationals to work during their visa-free stay:|
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.
Holders of a visa or residence permit issued by a Schengen state, Monaco, 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). However, visas and residence permits issued by Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania are not valid for travel to the Schengen Area.
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.
|Rules for family members of EU/Schengen nationals|
|An individual can enter the Schengen Area as a whole for up to 90 days without a visa if he/she:|
In theory, a family member of an EU/Schengen national who does not fulfil the above conditions does not have to apply for a visa in advance, and can instead obtain a visa on arrival at the border checkpoint of a Schengen country, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania by presenting evidence of the familial relationship.
|Rules for school pupils resident in the EU/Schengen|
|A school pupil who is not a EU/Schengen national, but who legally resides in the EU or Schengen Area, can enter the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania without a visa for a short stay or transit if:|
Even though a school pupil fulfilling all of the above conditions is exempt from having to obtain a visa to enter the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, he or she is nonetheless required to have a valid travel document. However, he or she is exempt from having to carry a valid travel document if:
|Rules for school pupils resident in Annex II countries and territories|
|School pupils travelling in the context of a school excursion as members of a group of school pupils accompanied by a teacher from the school in question who reside in an Annex II country/territory, but hold the nationality of an Annex I country/territory, are granted visa-free entry to Cyprus (a national collective visa is required), Germany, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden (under 18), but not other Schengen countries.|
Note that school pupils (of any nationality and resident in any country) who require a visa for the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania and who are visiting for the purpose of study and/or educational training are waived the visa application fee (but are still required to submit the relevant supporting documents).
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.
|Rules for the holders of local border traffic permits|
|Schengen countries are authorised by virtue of the EU regulation no 1931/2006 to conclude bilateral agreements with neighbouring third countries to introduce a local border traffic permit scheme. Such permits are a type of multiple-entry visa in the form of a passport sticker or a card containing the holder's name and photo, as well as a statement that its holder is not authorised to move outside the border area and that any abuse shall be subject to penalties. The border area may include any administrative district within 30 kilometres from the external border (and, if any district extends beyond that limit, the whole district up to 50 kilometres from the border). The applicant for the permit has to show legitimate reasons to frequently cross an external land border under the local border traffic regime. The validity of the permit can be up to five years.
Holders of local border traffic permits are able to spend up to 3 months every time they enter the border area of the Schengen country which has issued the permit (this time limit is far more generous than the '90 days in a 180-day period' normally granted to third-country nationals visiting the Schengen Area).
A local border traffic permit scheme has been implemented in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia for Ukrainian nationals, is being implemented or negotiated in Poland and Lithuania regarding Belarus and Russia (Kaliningrad area), and has also been implemented in a 30 km border zone between Norway and Russia in 2012. See Schengen Area#Local border traffic at external borders.
There is also a tendency to allow more and more one-year multiple-entry visas to Russians – especially by Finland. There are plans in the EU to allow up to 5 years validity on multiple-entry visas for Russians, partly to relieve the work load at embassies.
Some EU visa waiver bilateral agreements exempt 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):
|Visa waivers maintained exclusively for diplomatic, official and service passports|
Despite the fact that visas are not required for ordinary passport holders, a visa is required for Australian diplomatic and service/official passport holders by Bulgaria and Cyprus, for Israeli diplomatic and service/official passport holders by Cyprus, for Mexican diplomatic and service/official passport holders by Cyprus and Iceland and for the United States diplomatic and service/official passport holders by Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece and Spain.
However, on 5 April 2010, common visa requirements for airport transit were introduced by the European Union. 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:
However, nationals of the above countries are exempt from airport transit visas if they hold a visa or residence permit issued by an EU/Schengen country, Andorra, Canada, Japan, Monaco, San Marino or the United States, are family members of an EU/Schengen national, hold a diplomatic passport, or are flight crew members.
Additionally, individual Schengen countries can impose airport transit visa requirements for nationals of other countries in urgent cases of mass influx of illegal immigrants. For example, nationals of Syria require ATVs for many but not all Schengen countries.
|Additional nationalities (with ordinary passports) required to have an ATV in some Schengen countries|
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. If the main destination cannot be determined, the traveller should apply for the visa at the embassy of the Schengen country of first entry. 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. 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. 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.
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). 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. This varies by country and can usually be performed by hotels instead.
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:
|Country||Entry into force|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||2008|
These agreements are linked to readmission agreements that allow the return of people irregularly residing in the EU.
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. 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). In 2017, about 89,000 Schengen visas were issued to travellers on arrival at the border. People trying this way to travel to the Schengen Area can be denied boarding by the airline because of the carrier's responsibility, which penalises airlines if they carry passengers who do not have the correct documentation.
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:
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.
Schengen visas are only issued on travel documents of UN member states, Kosovo, Palestine, Taiwan, Vatican City, the Order of Malta, and certain international organisations (Council of Europe, EU, NATO, Red Cross, UN). Belgium and France also accept the passport of Somaliland. Passports of Abkhazia, Artsakh, Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia, Transnistria and Western Sahara are not accepted.
Most Schengen visas were issued to applicants located in the countries listed below (listed if more than 100,000 visas issued). Applicants were not necessarily nationals of these countries.
|Visas issued||Refusal rate||Share of multiple-
|Visas issued||Refusal rate||Share of multiple-
|Visas issued||Refusal rate||Share of multiple-|
|United Arab Emirates||167,685||16.5%||54.3%||172,822||12.1%||57.9%||192,812||12.0%||46.2%|
|Applications||Visas issued||Rejection rate||Applications||Visas issued||Rejection rate||Applications||Visas issued||Rejection rate|
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. In October 2013, the Commission proposed that visa requirements for short term visits be abolished for Moldovan nationals holding biometric passports. On 27 February 2014, the European Parliament approved visa-free travel for Moldovan nationals. The Council gave their consent on 3 April, allowing visa-free travel from 28 April 2014.
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. Each of the 19 countries were required to conclude a bilateral visa waiver agreement with the European Union. Agreements were signed and took effect with the United Arab Emirates on 6 May 2015, with Timor-Leste on 26 May 2015, with Dominica, Grenada, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu on 28 May 2015, with Tonga on 21 November 2015, with Colombia on 3 December 2015, with Palau on 8 December 2015, 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. The agreement was subsequently signed by both parties on 29 February 2016 and went into effect on 2 March 2016. The agreement, however, does not apply to UK and Ireland as separate visa-waiver agreements were already in force with these two countries.
An action plan on visa liberalisation with Georgia was launched on 25 February 2013. In December 2015, the European Commission concluded that Georgia 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. 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". In December 2015, the Commission concluded that Ukraine met the criteria for visa liberalization. The visa waiver for Ukraine took effect on 11 June 2017.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Switalski stated that, the action plan for beginning visa liberalization between Armenia and the EU will be on the agenda and dialogue for visa-free travel of Armenian citizens to the EU's Schengen Area will begin in 2018. The Ambassador also stated that Armenian citizens would be granted visa-free travel to the EU by 2020. On 1 May 2018 the newly appointed Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan announced that Armenian citizens would be able to travel within the EU's Schengen Area visa-free in the nearest future. On 24 August 2018 the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel during her meeting with the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said "Georgian and Ukrainian citizens don't need visa to enter the European Union, and we will do everything possible to reach visa liberalisation with Armenia as well."
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. Each of the 19 countries were required to conclude a bilateral visa waiver agreement with the European Union. As of 2018, Nauru is the only one of the 19 countries that has not signed such an agreement.
On 14 June 2012, Kosovo received a roadmap for visa liberalisation with the EU. 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. A Commission report from July 2018 concluded that Kosovo had met all of the conditions required of it for visa free access to the Schengen area.
In December 2013, after signing a readmission agreement, the EU started a visa dialogue with Turkey including a "Roadmap towards the visa-free regime". The EU announced readiness to accelerate the implementation of the visa liberalisation roadmap if Turkey stems the influx of refugees and migrants to Europe.
In the first half of 2016, legislative proposals were presented by the Commission to amend the regulation on visa requirements to include Kosovo and Turkey in the list of countries whose nationals are visa-exempt for short stays in the Schengen Area.
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.Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland are some Schengen members who gave their support to Indonesia for visa-free access to the Schengen Area.
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.
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. 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.
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. In 2013, Russia and the European Union have agreed on the issue of biometric service passports. The EU temporarily suspended talks in March 2014, as a result of the situation in Ukraine; however, a number of EU politicians and officials stated that they would be interested in restarting the process.
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, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, 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.
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.
In November 2016, the European Commission proposed a system for an electronic authorisation of visa-exempt third country nationals called ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System). 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 three 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 by the end of 2021. The cost for developing ETIAS is estimated at EUR212.1 million. On 5 September 2018 the Council adopted regulation 2018/1240 establishing ETIAS.
ETIAS requirements will not apply to:
Aside from visa-exempt third country nationals, the ETIAS requirements will also apply to:
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 an EU member state or state party to the Schengen agreement in order to enter the Schengen area.
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.
In 2013, the EU also adopted a proposal for establishment of an Entry/Exit System that would make it possible to identify overstayers. 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 was adopted by the EU Council on 30 November 2017 with the regulation 2017/2226. 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.
The EU also plans to establish a Registered Traveller Programme that would allow pre-screened travellers easier access.
As per Regulation No 539/2001 (amended by Regulation No 1289/2013) 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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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:
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.
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. 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).
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. 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. The Van Der Elst visa rule allows non-EU-citizens employed in an EU country to work temporarily as a resident in another EU country for the same employer up to 12 months, as a part of a service the company sells in that country.
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. 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, but if travelling to other Schengen countries the 90 days in any 180 day period time limit applies.
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.
|Belgium||EUR45 per day for aliens staying with a private individual; EUR95 per day for aliens staying at a hotel.|
|Bulgaria||EUR50 per day; minimum EUR500 per stay|
|Croatia||EUR100 per day; but EUR50 for aliens possessing a certified guarantee letter, a proof of paid travel arrangements, etc.|
|Czech Republic||EUR40 per day up to 30 days|
|Germany||EUR45 per day in the form of cash, credit cards and cheques but alternatively a letter of guarantee from the host.|
|Denmark||DKK350 per day|
|Estonia||EUR78 per day or a letter of invitation|
|Finland||EUR30 per day|
|France||EUR120 per day if holding no proof of accommodation; EUR65 per day if staying at a hotel; EUR32.50 per day if holding proof of accommodation.|
|Greece||EUR50 per day; minimum total amount of EUR300 for a stay of up to 5 days reduced by 50% for minors|
|Hungary||HUF1000 per entry or letter of invitation, confirmation of accommodation or any other credible proof.|
|Iceland||ISK4,000 per day + ISK20,000 per each entry|
|Italy||EUR269.60 fixed sum for stays up to 5 days (EUR212.81 per person for groups of two and more);
6-10 days: EUR44.93 per day (EUR26.33); 11-20 days: EUR51.64 fixed sum + EUR36.67 per day (EUR25.82 + EUR22.21); 20+ days EUR206.58 fixed sum + EUR27.89 per day (EUR118.79 + EUR17.04).
|Latvia||EUR14 per day or certified invitation letter|
|Liechtenstein||CHF100 per day; CHF30 for students|
|Lithuania||EUR40 per day|
|Malta||EUR48 per day|
|Netherlands||EUR34 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.|
|Portugal||EUR40 per day + EUR75 per entry|
|Romania||EUR50 per day; minimum EUR500 per stay|
|Slovakia||EUR56 per day (EUR30 for accommodation, EUR4 for breakfast, EUR7.5 for lunch, EUR7.5 for dinner, EUR7 for spending) or a certified invitation letter|
|Slovenia||EUR70; EUR35 for minors accompanied by parents|
|Spain||EUR583.74 minimum amount (for stays of up to 10 days); EUR64.86 per day in excess of 10 days.|
|Sweden||SEK450 per day. Needed proof is a copy of three months of bank statements, or of two years of income tax declaration, if there is no official sponsor with proof of that.|
|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.Romania requires visitors from Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, 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.
The United Kingdom and Ireland have their own visas, which are mainly not recognised by each other or in the Schengen Area. Schengen visas are not valid for visits to the United Kingdom or Ireland.
Ireland grants visa-free entry to all Schengen Annex II nationalities, except for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Georgia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, 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, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, 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.
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.
Svalbard is an entirely visa-free zone.
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. Schengen countries give visa-free access to nationals of all European Union candidate and applicant states except Turkey. Candidate states Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia 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.
Schengen visas that are valid for further travel are accepted as substitute visas for national visas in the following countries: