What to see in Ghent?
Ghent, Belgium

Schengen Area is an area of ​​27 European countries that have abolished all controls on their shared borders, allowing the free movement of people between them as if it were a single country. This agreement aims to facilitate travel, trade and other interactions between participating countries. As of 2024, the Schengen area includes 27 countries, here is the list:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Hungary
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Denmark
  • Iceland
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Czech Republic
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Estonia
  • Croatia
Temple of Santa Maria di Loreto in Rome
Rome, Italy

Brief history and important dates

  • The Schengen Agreement was signed 14 June 1985 year in the Schengen village in Luxembourg. It was originally signed by five countries - Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France.
  • Convention for the Application of the Schengen Agreement was signed 19 June 1990 year and entered into force in 1995, expanding and specifying the measures provided for in the original agreement
Attractions in Berlin
Berlin, Germany

Which countries may be added to this list in the near future?

In the near future, the following countries may be added to the list of Schengen countries:

  1. Bulgaria: Bulgaria is already a member of the European Union and has been making efforts to join the Schengen area for several years. Major obstacles include security and migration policy issues.
  2. Romania: Romania is also a member of the EU and, like Bulgaria, is actively working to fulfill the criteria for joining the Schengen area. Security concerns and effective border management remain major issues that need to be addressed.
  3. Cyprus: Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004 and is seeking to join the Schengen area. However, the island is divided into Greek and Turkish parts, which creates difficulties for integration into the Schengen area.

These countries have already passed a significant part of the path to joining the Schengen area and continue to work to fulfill all the necessary criteria. The final decision to join is made unanimously by all members of the Schengen area, and the process may take some time depending on political and technical factors.

Main square in The Hague
The Hague, Netherlands

Which countries are no longer on this list and why?

At the moment, no country that was ever part of the Schengen area has left it. All current members remain part of the zone. However, in the context of Europe and the European Union, it is worth mentioning the UK, which was never part of the Schengen area, but left the European Union in 2020 (Brexit).

Reasons why the UK was not part of the Schengen area:

  1. Sovereignty and control of borders: The UK has always placed great importance on control of its borders and has chosen not to join the Schengen Agreement in order to retain full control over entry and exit into its territory.
  2. Differences in legal and administrative systems: The UK had its own legal and administrative systems that differed from continental European standards, making integration into the Schengen area more difficult.
  3. Political Considerations: Domestic political considerations and public opinion in the UK were against making it easier to enter and leave the country, which also contributed to the decision not to join the Schengen Agreement.

Thus, no country has left the Schengen area after joining, and current members continue to be part of it.

Which countries are included in the Schengen area?
Vienna, Austria

Main aspects of the Schengen area

  1. Free movement:
    • Citizens of Schengen countries can travel between these countries without having to go through border controls. This also applies to third-country nationals who have received a Schengen visa, allowing them to travel to all countries in the zone.
  2. General visa rules:
    • Schengen countries have a common visa policy for short-stay visas. This means that a visa issued by one of the Schengen countries is valid for all other countries in the zone.
  3. No internal boundaries:
    • Internal borders between participating countries are virtually non-existent, meaning there are no passport controls or other types of border controls at these borders. This greatly simplifies and speeds up travel between countries.

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