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Schengen Area

Schengen Area
The Schengen Area
  Schengen Area
  Countries with open borders
  Legally obliged to join
Policy of  European Union
Type Free travel area
Established 1995
Members
Population 419,392,429
Area 4,312,099 km2
European Union
Flag of the European Union

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government
of the European Union

The Schengen Area (English pronunciation: ) is the area comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their common borders, also referred to as internal borders. It mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The Area is named after the Schengen Agreement. Countries in the Schengen Area have eliminated internal border controls with the other Schengen members and strengthened external border controls with non-Schengen states.

Twenty-two of the twenty-eight European Union (EU) member states participate in the Schengen Area. Of the six EU members that do not form part of the Schengen Area, four – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania – are legally obliged and wish to join the area, while the other two – Ireland and the United Kingdom – maintain opt-outs. All four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – have signed the Schengen Agreement, even though they are outside the EU. In addition, three European microstatesMonaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City – can be considered as de facto within the Schengen Area, as they do not have border controls with the Schengen countries that surround them; but they have not officially signed documents that make them part of Schengen. The Schengen Area currently has a population of over 400 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometres (1,664,911 sq mi).[1]

Contents

  • History 1
  • Membership 2
    • Notes 2.1
  • Prospective members 3
    • Notes 3.1
  • Territories of Schengen states outside the Area 4
  • EU member states with opt-outs 5
  • Status of the European microstates 6
  • Regulation of internal borders 7
    • In-country checks 7.1
    • Customs controls 7.2
    • Air travel 7.3
    • Border controls 7.4
      • Danish customs controls proposal 7.4.1
      • French controls against migrants from northern Africa 7.4.2
      • 2015 migrant crisis 7.4.3
  • Regulation of external borders 8
    • Border checks 8.1
    • Short-stay and transit visas 8.2
    • Schengen Visa Fee 8.3
    • Entry conditions for third-country nationals 8.4
    • Stays in excess of 90 days 8.5
    • Entry conditions for third-country family members of EEA nationals 8.6
    • Local border traffic at external borders 8.7
    • Western Balkan states 8.8
  • Police and judicial co-operation 9
  • Legal basis 10
    • Provisions in the treaties of the European Union 10.1
    • The Schengen Agreement and the Schengen Convention 10.2
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13

History

The Schengen Agreement was signed on 14 June 1985 by five of the ten EU member states[2] in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg. The Schengen Area was established outside of the then European Community, when consensus could not be reached among all of its member states on the abolition of border controls.

In 1990, the Agreement was supplemented by the Schengen Convention which proposed the abolition of internal border controls and a common visa policy.[3] The Agreements and the rules adopted under them were entirely separate from the EU structures, and led to the creation of the Schengen Area on 26 March 1995.[4]

As more EU member states signed up to join the Schengen Area, agreement was reached on absorbing it into the EU. The Agreement and related conventions were incorporated into the mainstream of European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997, which came into effect in 1999. A consequence of the Agreement being part of European law is that any amendment and regulation is made within its processes, to which the non-EU members are not participants. The UK and Ireland could not accept abolishing border controls, and were given a full opt-out from the area. The Nordic members required Norway and Iceland to be included, which was accepted, and so a consensus could be reached.

Membership

labelled map of Europe showing Schengen Area



 Schengen Area (EU) 
 Schengen Area (non-EU) 
 Working to implement later 
 EU member states outside Schengen 
This is a clickable map

The Schengen Area currently consists of 26 states, including four which are not members of the European Union (EU). Two of the non-EU members, Iceland and Norway, are part of the Nordic Passport Union and are officially classified as states associated with the Schengen activities of the EU.[5] Switzerland was subsequently allowed to participate in the same manner in 2008. Liechtenstein joined the Schengen Area on 19. December 2011.[6] De facto, the Schengen Area also includes three European micro-states, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City, that maintain open or semi-open borders with other Schengen member countries.[7] Two EU members – Ireland and the United Kingdom – have negotiated opt-outs from Schengen and continue to operate the Common Travel Area systematic border controls with other EU member states.

The remaining four EU member states, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, are obliged to eventually join the Schengen Area. However, before fully implementing the Schengen rules, each state must have its preparedness assessed in four areas: air borders, visas, police cooperation, and personal data protection. This evaluation process involves a questionnaire and visits by EU experts to selected institutions and workplaces in the country under assessment.[8]

State Area
(km²)
Population[9] Signed[Note 1] Date of first
implementation[Note 2]
 Austria 83,871 8,414,638 28 April 1995[10] 1 December 1997[11][12][Note 3]
 Belgium 30,528 11,007,020 14 June 1985[13] 26 March 1995[14]
 Czech Republic 78,866 10,535,811 16 April 2003[15] 21 December 2007[16][Note 4]
 Denmark
       (excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands[Note 5])
43,094 5,564,219 19 December 1996[20] 25 March 2001[21]
 Estonia 45,338 1,340,194 16 April 2003[15] 21 December 2007[16][Note 4]
 Finland 338,145 5,391,700 19 December 1996[22] 25 March 2001[21]
 France
       (excluding outermost regions and overseas countries and territories)
551,695 63,929,000 14 June 1985[13] 26 March 1995[14]
 Germany[Note 6] 357,050 81,799,600 14 June 1985[13] 26 March 1995[14]
 Greece 131,990 10,815,197 6 November 1992[23] 1 January 2000[24][Note 7]
 Hungary 93,030 9,979,000 16 April 2003[15] 21 December 2007[16][Note 4]
 Iceland[Note 8] 103,000 318,452 19 December 1996[25]
18 May 1999[26][Note 9]
25 March 2001[21]
 Italy 301,318 60,681,514 27 November 1990[28] 26 October 1997[12][29][Note 10]
 Latvia 64,589 2,245,357 16 April 2003[15] 21 December 2007[16][Note 4]
 Liechtenstein[Note 8] 160 36,010 28 February 2008[30] 19 December 2011[31]
 Lithuania 65,300 3,207,060 16 April 2003[15] 21 December 2007[16][Note 4]
 Luxembourg 2,586 511,840 14 June 1985[13] 26 March 1995[14]
 Malta 316 417,608 16 April 2003[15] 21 December 2007[16][Note 4]
 Netherlands
       (excluding Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands)
41,526 16,703,700 14 June 1985[13] 26 March 1995[14]
 Norway[Note 8]
       (excluding Svalbard [32])
385,155 5,063,709 19 December 1996[25]
18 May 1999[26][Note 9]
25 March 2001[21]
 Poland 312,683 38,186,860 16 April 2003[15] 21 December 2007[16][Note 4]
 Portugal 92,391 10,647,763 25 June 1991[33] 26 March 1995[14]
 Slovakia 49,037 5,440,078 16 April 2003[15] 21 December 2007[16][Note 4]
 Slovenia 20,273 2,048,951 16 April 2003[15] 21 December 2007[16][Note 4]
 Spain
       (with special provisions for Ceuta and Melilla[Note 11])
506,030 46,030,109 25 June 1991[35] 26 March 1995[14]
 Sweden 449,964 9,415,570 19 December 1996[36] 25 March 2001[21]
  Switzerland[Note 8] 41,285 7,866,500 26 October 2004[37] 12 December 2008[38][Note 12]
 Schengen Area 4,189,111 417,597,460 14 June 1985[13] 26 March 1995[14]

Notes

  1. ^ The original agreement, a subsequent protocol extending the agreement to the state, an agreement on accession to the EU, or agreement on association with the Schengen acquis.
  2. ^ Of the provisions related to the elimination of border controls. In some cases the provisions related to the Schengen Information System were applied earlier.
  3. ^ The elimination of border controls took place from 1 December 1997 to 31 March 1998.[11]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i For overland borders and seaports; since 30 March 2008 also for airports.[16][17]
  5. ^ Greenland and the Faroe Islands are not included in the Schengen area. However, persons travelling between the Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Schengen area are not subject to border checks.[18] A Schengen visa will not allow the holder access to either territory, only a Danish visa stamped with either "Valid for the Faroe Islands" or "Valid for Greenland", or both.[19]
  6. ^ East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany, joining Schengen, on 3 October 1990.
  7. ^ The elimination of border controls took place from 1 January 2000 to 26 March 2000.[24]
  8. ^ a b c d EFTA state, which is outside the EU, that is associated with the Schengen activities of the EU,[5] and where the Schengen rules apply.
  9. ^ a b A second agreement, which replaced the first, was signed with Iceland and Norway following the incorporation of the Schengen Agreement into EU law with the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997.[27]
  10. ^ The elimination of border controls took place from 26 October 1997 to 31 March 1998.[29]
  11. ^ The full Schengen acquis applies to all Spanish territories, but there are border checks on departure from Ceuta and Melilla to Spain or other Schengen countries, because of specific arrangements for visa exemptions for Moroccan nationals resident in the provinces of Tetuan and Nador.[34]
  12. ^ For overland borders and seaports; since 29 March 2009 also for airports.[38]

Prospective members

Although Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, is legally bound to join the Schengen Area, implementation has been delayed because of the [39] The Sovereign Base Areas, which are outside the EU, will also need "other handling and mechanisms".[39] As of March 2011 no date has been fixed for implementation of the Schengen rules by Cyprus.[40]

While Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, are also legally bound to join the Schengen Area, implementation has been delayed. Bulgaria's and Romania's bids to join the Schengen Area were approved by the

  • Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 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 81, 21 March 2001, p. 1).
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 693/2003 of 14 April 2003 establishing a specific Facilitated Transit Document (FTD), a Facilitated Rail Transit Document (FRTD) and amending the Common Consular Instructions and the Common Manual (OJ L 99, 17 April 2003, p. 8).
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 1683/95 of 29 May 1995 laying down a uniform format for visas (OJ L 164, 14 July 1995, p. 1).
  • Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) (OJ L 243, 15 September 2009, p. 1).
  • Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on the establishment, operation and use of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) (OJ L 381, 28 December 2006, p. 4).
  • Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 of 18 February 2003 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national (OJ L 50, 25 February 2003, p. 1); also referred to as the Dublin Regulation.
  • Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime (OJ L 210, 6 August 2008, p. 1).
European Union Regulations
  • Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders (OJ L 239, 22 September 2000, p. 19). (Consolidated version).
  • Agreement between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders (OJ L 239, 22 September 2000, p. 13).
The Schengen Agreement and the Schengen Convention
  • Schengen, Borders & Visas, Visa policy (europa.eu)
  • Calculator of travel days remaining under a Schengen short-stay visa (ec.europa.eu) Retrieved 2 March 2014.

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b This terminology is, for example, used in the Final Act of the Agreement concluded by the Council of the European Union and the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway concerning the latters' association with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis (OJ L 176,10 July 1999, p. 36).
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ a b c d e f
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j
  16. ^
  17. ^ Agreement on the Accession of the Kingdom of Denmark to the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 on the gradual abolition of checks at the common borders signed at Schengen on 19 June 1990
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b c d e
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b
  24. ^ a b
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ a b
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ OJ L 176, 10/07/1999 P. 36
  32. ^
  33. ^ Declaration No. 1. on Ceuta and Melilla attached to the Final Act of the Accession Treaty of the Kingdom of Spain to the Schengen Agreement (OJ L 239, 22.9.2000, p. 69)
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b
  38. ^ a b
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ a b
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^ Balkans Await More Refugees as Germany Exits Schengen
  48. ^ Refugees cross Croatia border in search of new route
  49. ^
  50. ^ http://online.vasabladet.fi/Artikel/Visa/76470 (in Swedish)
  51. ^ a b
  52. ^ a b
  53. ^ a b
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^ http://www.novinite.com/articles/170018/Bulgarian+PM+Foresees+Accession+to+Schengen+Area+in+October
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^ a b
  66. ^
  67. ^ a b [1]
  68. ^
  69. ^
  70. ^ Minister for Justice, Nora Owen, Dáil Debates volume 450 column 1171 (14 March 1995) [2].
    Minister for Justice, John O'Donoghue, Dáil Debates volume 501 column 1506 (9 March 1999)[3].
    "Declaration by Ireland on Article 3 of the Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland" attached to the Treaty of Amsterdam (OJ C 340, 10 November 1997).
  71. ^ See Article 4 of Protocol (No 19) on the Schengen Acquis integrated into the framework of the European Union (OJ C 83, 30 March 2010, p. 290).
  72. ^ See Article 4 of Protocol (No 19) on the Schengen Acquis integrated into the framework of the European Union (OJ C 83, 30 March 2010, p. 290) and the decision of the European Court of Justice in Cases C-77/05 and C-137/05 United Kingdom v Council.
  73. ^ Council Decision (2000/365/EC) of 29 May 2000 concerning the request of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to take part in some of the provisions of the Schengen acquis (OJ L 131, 1 June 2000, p. 43)
  74. ^ Council Decision (2004/926/EC) of 22 December 2004 on the putting into effect of parts of the Schengen acquis by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (OJ L 395, 31 December 2004, p. 70)
  75. ^ Council Decision (2002/192/EC) of 28 February 2002 concerning Ireland's request to take part in some of the provisions of the Schengen acquis (OJ L 64, 7 March 2002 p. 20)
  76. ^ Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern, Dáil Debates volume 698 number 1: Priority Questions—International Agreements (10 December 2009) [4].
  77. ^
  78. ^
  79. ^
  80. ^
  81. ^
  82. ^
  83. ^
  84. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/13/travel/cnnphotos-borderline/index.html
  85. ^ Article 22 of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  86. ^ Article 21 (b) of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  87. ^
  88. ^
  89. ^ Article 45 of the Schengen Convention.
  90. ^ Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) See Title III Article 21
  91. ^ per Article 21 of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  92. ^ Schengen Borders Code, Article 21(b)
  93. ^ a b c d Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of Title III (Internal Borders) of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) COM(2010) 554, pg 5–6
  94. ^
  95. ^
  96. ^
  97. ^
  98. ^ Chapter II of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  99. ^
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  103. ^
  104. ^
  105. ^
  106. ^
  107. ^ a b
  108. ^ a b c
  109. ^ a b c
  110. ^
  111. ^ Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  112. ^ a b Article 7(2) of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  113. ^ Article 3.9 of the Practical Handbook for Border Guards (C (2006) 5186)
  114. ^ Annex VII of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  115. ^ Article 8 of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  116. ^ a b Article 7(3) of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  117. ^
  118. ^
  119. ^
  120. ^ a b
  121. ^ a b c
  122. ^ a b
  123. ^ a b
  124. ^ European Parliament: Study on the Commission's legislative proposals on Smart Borders: their feasibility and costs, pg 66.
  125. ^ This obligation does not apply to long-stay visas and residence permits, both of which are expressly outside the scope of Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 concerning the Visa Information System (cf Article 4(1)).
  126. ^ In relation to third country nationals who are subject to a thorough check but who are not subject to the obligation to have their travel documents stamped (e.g. third country nationals holding residence permits issued by a Schengen member state), it can logically be concluded that border guards at external border crossing points do not need to examine entry and exit stamps in their travel documents to ensure that the they have not exceeded the maximum duration of authorised stay. Instead, the border guard should check the validity of the residence permit. (See Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the operation of the provisions on stamping of the travel documents of third-country nationals in accordance with Articles 10 and 11 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 (COM (2009) 489, p. 7), "The Commission is of the opinion that travel documents of third-country nationals who are in possession of a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen Member State should not be stamped. The purpose of stamping a passport serves to establish whether a third country national respected the authorised length of a short stay within the Schengen area. This logic cannot be applied to third country nationals holding a valid residence permit, as the allowed period of stay in the Schengen Member State which issued the permit is determined by the validity of the residence permit.")
  127. ^ a b c Some Schengen member states have exempted certain categories of travellers who are subject to a thorough check from the requirement to demonstrate sufficient funds for his/her stay, proof of onward/return journey and explaining his/her purpose of stay to the border guard at external border crossing points. For example, France exempts Andorran and Monégasque nationals, holders of residence permits and family reunification visas, diplomats, flight crew etc from this requirement (see [5]).
  128. ^ Regulation (EU) No 610/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code), the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, Council Regulations (EC) No 1683/95 and (EC) No 539/2001 and Regulations (EC) No 767/2008 and (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 182, 29 June 2013, p. 5)
  129. ^ Article 6 of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 6).
  130. ^ Details are set out in Annex VI of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  131. ^ For example this place at the Lithuania-Belarus border: , visible in Google Streetview.
  132. ^
  133. ^ Article 9 of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 8).
  134. ^ Regulation (EU) No 610/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code), the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, Council Regulations (EC) No 1683/95 and (EC) No 539/2001 and Regulations (EC) No 767/2008 and (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 182, 29 June 2013, p. 6)
  135. ^ Decision on the subject of Andorra and San Marino of the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA) of the EU on 6 October 2004 (13020/1/04/REV1). See [6].
  136. ^
  137. ^
  138. ^
  139. ^
  140. ^
  141. ^ a b c
  142. ^
  143. ^
  144. ^ a b [7]
  145. ^
  146. ^
  147. ^
  148. ^ [8]
  149. ^ [9]
  150. ^
  151. ^
  152. ^
  153. ^
  154. ^ Art 10(3) of Regulation (EC) No 562/2005 recognises that an entry or exit stamp may be recorded on a sheet of paper indicating the traveller's name and travel document number (rather than inside the traveller's travel document) where stamping the travel document would cause 'serious difficulties' for the traveller. It could be argued that at a particular border crossing point the state of facilities are such that to deny travellers subject to the stamping obligation access to automated border gates and to require them to the processed manually by border guards would constitute 'serious difficulties' for such persons.
  155. ^
  156. ^
  157. ^ Article 26(1)(b) of the Schengen Convention.
  158. ^ a b Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 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 81, 21 March 2001, p. 1).
  159. ^ Cf. in conjunction with
  160. ^ Article 5 of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  161. ^ See Article 6 of Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 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 81, 21 March 2001, p. 1).
  162. ^ Regulation (EU) No 610/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code), the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, Council Regulations (EC) No 1683/95 and (EC) No 539/2001 and Regulations (EC) No 767/2008 and (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 182, 29 June 2013, p. 1)
  163. ^ Articles 3 and 5 of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  164. ^ Council Regulation (EC) No 2133/2004 (OJ L 369, 16 December 2004, p. 5–10)
  165. ^ Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the operation of the provisions on stamping of the travel documents of third-country nationals in accordance with Articles 10 and 11 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006, p. 7
  166. ^ Paragraph 4.2 of the
  167. ^ Article 4.5 of the Practical Handbook for Border Guards (C (2006) 5186)
  168. ^ 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)
  169. ^ 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).
  170. ^ Article 6 of the Council Directive 2003/9/EC laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers (OJ L 31, 27 January 2003, p. 20)
  171. ^ Article 24 of the Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted (OJ L 304, 29 April 2004, p. 12)
  172. ^ Articles 8 and 15 of the Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof (OJ L 212, 20 July 2001, p. 12)
  173. ^
  174. ^
  175. ^
  176. ^
  177. ^
  178. ^
  179. ^
  180. ^ Decision of the EEA Joint Committee No 158/2007 of 7 December 2007 amending Annex V (Free movement of workers) and Annex VIII (Right of establishment) to the EEA Agreement (OJ L 124, 8 May 2008, p. 20).
  181. ^
  182. ^
  183. ^ a b Point 3.2 in
  184. ^
  185. ^
  186. ^
  187. ^
  188. ^
  189. ^ Corrigendum to Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 laying down rules on local border traffic at the external land borders of the Member States and amending the provisions of the Schengen Convention (OJ L 29, 3 February 2007, p. 3).
  190. ^
  191. ^ a b
  192. ^
  193. ^
  194. ^ Latvian visa-free border zones with Russia and Belarus: what are they and why (2013)
  195. ^ Local border traffic at external land borders
  196. ^ Second report on the implementation and functioning of the local border traffic regime set up by Regulation No 1931/2006 (COM/2011/0047 final)
  197. ^
  198. ^
  199. ^ Traffic flows from Murmansk to Kirkenes
  200. ^
  201. ^
  202. ^
  203. ^ Regulation (EU) No 1091/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 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 329, 14 December 2010, p. 1)
  204. ^
  205. ^
  206. ^
  207. ^
  208. ^
  209. ^
  210. ^ a b
  211. ^
  212. ^ Title III, Chapter 2 of the Schengen Convention.
  213. ^ Originally contained in Articles 59 to 66 of the Schengen Convention.
  214. ^ Article 2(15) of the Amsterdam Treaty (OJ C 340, 10 November 1997).
  215. ^ Article 2(63) to (68) of the Lisbon Treaty (OJ C 306, 17 December 2007, p. 57).
  216. ^ Council Decision (1999/435/EC) of 20 May 1999 concerning the definition of the Schengen acquis for the purpose of determining, in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Treaty establishing the European Community and the Treaty on European Union, the legal basis for each of the provisions or decisions which constitute the acquis (OJ L 176, 10.7.1999, p. 1).

References

See also

On being incorporated into the main body of European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty, the Schengen Agreement and Convention were published in the Official Journal of the European Communities by a decision of the Council of Ministers.[217] As a result, the Agreement and Convention can be amended by regulations.

  • The 1990 Schengen Convention – Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders.
  • The 1985 Schengen Agreement – Agreement between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders.

The Schengen Area originally had its legal basis outside the then European Economic Community, having been established by a sub-set of member states of the Community using two international agreements:

The Schengen Agreement and the Schengen Convention

The legal basis for Schengen in the treaties of the European Union has been inserted in the Treaty establishing the European Community through Article 2, point 15 of the Treaty of Amsterdam. This inserted a new title named "Visas, asylum, immigration and other policies related to free movement of persons" into the treaty, currently numbered as Title IV, and comprising articles 61 to 69.[215] The Treaty of Lisbon substantially amends the provisions of the articles in the title, renames the title to "Area of freedom, security and justice" and divides it into five chapters, called "General provisions", "Policies on border checks, asylum and immigration", "Judicial cooperation in civil matters", "Judicial cooperation in criminal matters", and "Police cooperation".[216]

Provisions in the treaties of the European Union

Legal basis

The Schengen Convention also contained measures intended to streamline extradition between participating countries however these have now been subsumed into the European Arrest Warrant system.[214]

To counter the potentially aggravating effects of the abolition of border controls on undocumented immigration and cross-border crime, the Schengen acquis contains compensatory police and judicial measures.[211] Chief among these is the Schengen Information System (SIS),[211] a database operated by all EU and Schengen states and which by January 2010 contained in excess of 30 million entries. The Schengen Agreement also permits police officers from one participating state to follow suspects across borders both in hot pursuit[212] and to continue observation operations, and for enhanced mutual assistance in criminal matters.[213]

Police and judicial co-operation

Visa liberalisation negotiations between the EU and the Western Balkans (excluding Kosovo) were launched in the first half of 2008, and ended in 2009 (for Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia) and 2010 (for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina). Before visas were fully abolished, the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia) had signed "visa facilitation agreements" with the Schengen states in 2008. The visa facilitation agreements were, at the time, supposed to shorten waiting periods, lower visa fees (including free visas for certain categories of travellers), and reduce paperwork. In practice, however, the new procedures turned out to be longer, more cumbersome, more expensive, and many people complained that it was easier to obtain visas before the facilitation agreements entered into force.[208][209][210]

Citizens of Kosovo holding Kosovo passports as well as people living in Kosovo holding the biometric Serbian passport still need a visa to travel to the EU. Serbia created the Serbian Coordination Directorate to facilitate this process. However, a visa liberalisation road-map for Kosovo is expected to be announced and negotiated in the near future.[205][206][207]

Citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia can enter the Schengen Area without a visa. On 30 November 2009, the EU Council of Ministers for Interior and Justice abolished visa requirements for citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia,[202] while on 8 November 2010 it did the same for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.[203] The former took effect on 19 December 2009,[159] while the latter on 15 December 2010.[204]

Western Balkan states

In late 2009, Norway began issuing one-year multiple-entry visas, without the usual requirement of having family or a business partner in Norway, called Pomor-Visas, to Russians from Murmansk Oblast, and later to those from Arkhangelsk Oblast.[200] Finland is not planning border permits, but has issued over one million regular visas for Russians in 2011, and many of them multiple-entry visas. The EU is planning to allow up to 5-year validity on multiple-entry visas for Russians[201]

There are or have been plans for Lithuania–Russia, Poland–Belarus, Bulgaria–Serbia, Bulgaria–Macedonia and Romania–Ukraine.[196] The agreement between Poland and Belarus had been due to enter into force by 2012,[197] but was delayed by Belarus,[198] with no implementation date set (as of Oct 2012)[199]

As of June 2013 eight local-traffic agreements have come into force. Three of them are Hungary–Ukraine in January 2008, Slovakia–Ukraine in September 2008 and Poland–Ukraine in July 2009.[192] As an EU member, in anticipation of its admission into the Schengen Area, Romania has agreed an local-traffic agreement with Moldova which entered into force in October 2010.[192] The fifth is the one between Latvia and Belarus, which began to operate in February 2012.[193] Agreements Poland–Russia (Kaliningrad Area),[194] and Norway–Russia started operation in 2012. The eighth one was Latvia–Russia in June 2013.[195]

Before the conclusion of an agreement with a neighbouring country, the Schengen state must receive approval from the European Commission, which has to confirm that the draft agreement is in conformity with the Regulation. The agreement may only be concluded if the neighbouring state grants at least reciprocal rights to EEA and Swiss nationals resident on the Schengen side of the border area, and agrees to the repatriation of individuals found to be abusing the border agreement.

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).[191]

Permits are issued with a validity period of between one to five years and allow for a stay within the Schengen side of the border area of up to three months. Permits may only be issued to lawful residents of the border area who have been resident in the border area for a minimum of one year (or longer if specified by the bilateral agreement). Applicants for a permit have to show that they have legitimate reasons to cross frequently an external land border under the local border traffic regime. Schengen states must keep a central register of the permits issued and have to provide immediate access to the relevant data to other Schengen states.

Schengen states which share an external land border with a non-EU member state are authorised by virtue of the EU Regulation 1931/2006 to conclude or maintain bilateral agreements with neighbouring third countries for the purpose of implementing a local border traffic regime.[190] Such agreements define a border area which may extend to a maximum of 50 kilometres (31 mi) on either side of the border, and provide for the issuance of local border traffic permits to residents of the non-Schengen side of the border area. Permits may be used to cross the external border within the border area, are not stamped on entry or exit of the Schengen Area and must display the holder's name and photograph, 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.

Local border traffic at external borders

As of 6 April 2015, the non-EU family members of an EU national who are in possession of a residence card, which is issued to them under article 10 of directive 2004/38/EC, are entitled to enter the UK without the need to apply for an EEA Family Permit or a Visa, only by providing their residence card at the border. However, the UK border officers would grant entry to non-EU family members if they can prove their relation to the EU national family member who would be accompanying them, by providing documents such as marriage certificate or birth certificate. Entering the UK as the holder of an Article 10 residence card

For example, the UK interprets "residence card" in Article 5(2) of the Directive to mean "UK" residence card, and ignores other cards, instead requiring an "EEA family permit" contrary to the Directive.[185] Showing the family tie with the EU national by other means (as mentioned above) should circumvent this. Denmark and Ireland do not prescribe that a valid residence card will exempt non-EEA family members from the visa requirement.[186][187] Spain only permits residence cards from Schengen countries, therefore cards from the UK, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus are not allowed. The Spanish legislation is not in conformity with the Directive.[188] Austria, somewhat like the UK, seems to require a permanent residence card issued by the Austrian authorities to enter without visa.[189]

However, this requirement has (as of December 2008) been incorrectly transposed into Belgian, Latvian and Swedish law, and not transposed at all by Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Germany and Slovenia.[184] Five member states (as of December 2008), do not follow the Directive to the effect that non-EEA family members may still face difficulties (denial of boarding the vessel by the transport company, denial to enter by border police) when travelling to those states using their residence card gained in another EU country. A visa or other document(s) may still be required.[184]

The right of entry into the EEA and Switzerland (includes all EU and EEA countries and Switzerland) without additional visa was extended to the third-country family members of EEA nationals exercising their treaty right of free movement who hold a valid residence card of their EEA host country and wish to visit any other EEA member state for a short stay up to 90 days.[180][181] This is implied in Directive 2004/38/EC, Article 5(2) provided that they travel together with the EEA national or join their spouse/partner at a later date (Article 6(2)). If the non-EEA family member has neither an EEA residence card nor a visa, but can show their family tie with the EU national by other means, then a visa must be issued at the border free of charge and entry permitted.[182][183]

Entry conditions for third-country family members of EEA nationals

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 citizens of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City to apply for a long-stay visa.[174] 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 citizens 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, Poland, 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,[175][176][177][178][179] but if travelling to other Schengen countries the 90 days in a 180-day period time limit applies.

Asylum seekers who request international protection under the Geneva Convention from a Schengen member state are not issued a residence permit, but are instead issued, within three days of the application being lodged, an authorisation to remain on the territory of the member state while the application is pending or being examined. This means that, whilst their application for refugee status is being processed, asylum seekers are only permitted to remain in the Schengen member state where they have claimed asylum and are not entitled to move freely within other states which comprise the Schengen Area.[171] Successful applicants who have been granted international protection by a Schengen member state are issued residence permits which are valid for at least three years and renewable, whilst applicants granted subsidiary protection by a Schengen member state are issued residence permits valid for at least 1-year and renewable, unless there are compelling reasons relating to national security or public order. Family members of beneficiaries of international or subsidiary protection from a Schengen member state are issued residence permits as well, but their validity can be shorter.[172] Applicants who have been granted temporary protection by a Schengen member state (as well as their reunited family members) are issued residence permits valid for the entire period of temporary protection.[173]

The holder of a long-stay visa or a residence permit is entitled to move freely within other states which comprise the Schengen Area for a period of up to three months in any half-year.[169] 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.[170]

For stays in the Schengen Area as a whole which exceed 90 days, a third-country national will need to hold either a long-stay visa for a period no longer than a year, or a residence permit for longer periods. A long-stay visa is a national visa but is issued in accordance with a uniform format. It entitles the holder to enter the Schengen Area and remain in 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 him or her with a residence permit.

Stays in excess of 90 days

Border guards are required to stamp the travel documents of third-country nationals when they cross external borders at all times, even in extraordinary and unforeseen circumstances, including when checks are relaxed.[165] However, nationals of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City are exempt from this requirement, as are heads of state, whose visits were announced through diplomatic channels, and holders of local border traffic permits and residence permits.[166] Certain exemptions also apply to the crews of ships and aircraft.[167] Third-country nationals who otherwise fulfil all the criteria for admission into the Schengen area must not be denied entry for the sole reason that there is no remaining empty space in their travel document to affix a stamp; instead, the stamp should be affixed on a separate sheet of paper.[168]

Schengen visa in a Russian passport
  • On humanitarian grounds
  • On grounds of national interests
  • On grounds of international obligations
  • If the person is not in possession of a visa, but fulfils the criteria for being issued a visa at the border
  • If the person holds a residence permit or a re-entry visa issued by a Schengen state

However, even if the third-country national does not fulfil the criteria for entry, admission may still be granted:[164]

  • He/she is in possession of a valid travel document or documents authorising them to cross the border (apart from U. S. legal language, a visa is not considered a travel document in this sense); the acceptance of travel documents for this purpose remains within the domain of the member states;[162]
  • The travel document must be valid for at least 3 months after the intended date of departure from the Schengen Area (although in a justified case of emergency this obligation may be waived) and must have been issued within the previous 10 years[163]
  • The traveller either possesses a valid visa (if required) or a valid residence permit;
  • The traveller can justify the purpose and conditions of the intended stay and has sufficient means of subsistence, both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to his or her country of origin or transit to a third country into which the traveller is certain to be admitted, or is in a position to acquire such means lawfully;
  • The Schengen Information System does not contain an alert for refusal of entry concerning the traveller, and
  • The traveller is not considered to be a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of any of the Schengen states.

The entry requirements for third country nationals who intend to stay in the Schengen Area for not more than 90 days in any 180 day period are as follows:[161]

A Schengen visa or a visa exemption does not, in and of itself, entitle a traveller to enter the Schengen Area. The Schengen Borders Code lists requirements which third-country nationals must meet to be allowed into the Schengen Area. For this purpose, a third-country national is a person who does not enjoy the right of free movement (i.e. a person who is not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, nor a family member of such a person who is in possession of a residence permit with the indication "family member of an EU citizen" or "family member of an EEA or CH citizen").

Entry conditions for third-country nationals

In accordance with the guidelines of the European Union, any Schengen visa application has to be accompanied by a payment of visa fees. The fees (Processing + Visa) are to be paid on the day the application is being submitted and are normally payable only in the local currency equivalent. They are not refundable regardless of the outcome of the application. However, discounted fees are provided to some groups; and are waived for pupils/students on an official school/university trip, spouses and minor children of EU nationals, and children below six years of age regardless of nationality.

Schengen Visa Fee

Being listed in the visa-free list will sometimes but not always exempt the listed nationality or class from the requirement to obtain a work permit if they wish to take up employment or self-employed activity during their stay; business trips are not normally considered employment in this sense.[160]

The rules applicable to short-term entry visas into the Schengen Area are set out in EU regulations which contain two lists: a list of the nationalities (or classes of travel document holder) which require a visa for a short-term stay (the Annex I list) and a list which do not (the Annex II list).[159]

Facilitated Rail Transit Document
European Union visa lists
  EU member states
  Other Schengen members and special territories of EU and Schengen members
  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

Short-stay and transit visas

The Schengen rules require that all passenger carriers across the Schengen external border must check, before boarding, if the passenger has the travel document and visa required for entry.[158] This is to prevent persons from applying for asylum at the passport control at airports or boat ports in the Schengen Area. There are penalties on carriers who transport foreign nationals without correct travel documents, something that makes carriers act like a passport control authority.

Sometimes, external border controls are located on non-Schengen territory, but inside the EU. For example, France operates border checks at juxtaposed controls on travellers departing the United Kingdom for the Schengen Area before they board their train or ferry at St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International railway stations, as well as at the Port of Dover and Cheriton Eurotunnel terminal.[156][157] And some British border controls are located in France and Belgium.

The additional obligations imposed by European law on national border authorities when it comes to processing travellers who are third-country nationals (e.g. the obligation to stamp their travel documents) should not prevent the development of automated border control systems which are made available to such travellers. As shown by the examples listed above of automated border control systems which have been developed at external border crossing points of the Schengen Area, national border authorities have been able to adapt the design of their automated border control systems to allow third-country nationals to make use of them. One solution is to have a border guard physically positioned next to the automated border gates who can stamp travel documents where required: this approach has been adopted by the Finnish Border Guard at the automated border gates in Helsinki Airport, where eligible users (who are required to receive a passport stamp) include holders of Canadian, Japanese, South Korean and United States biometric passports,[145][142] as well as by the Portuguese Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras at the automated border gates in Lisbon Airport where eligible users (who are required to receive a passport stamp) include holders of Angolan and Brazilian passports and holders of diplomatic/service passports. A similar but slightly different solution has been adopted by the Dutch Royal Marechaussee at the Privium iris recognition automated border gates at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (where eligible users include registered EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, US citizens who are Global Entry members, and all nationals who are holders of diplomatic passports), as well as by the German Federal Police at the ABG Plus iris recognition automated border gates at Frankfurt Airport (where eligible users include registered EU/EEA/Swiss citizens and US citizens who are Global Entry members): when eligible third-country nationals use Privium/ABG Plus, after their iris is scanned and verified, a different gate opens to that for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens and the third-country national user is directed to a lane which leads them to the front of the queue for manual passport checks at immigration desks, where the border officer stamps the user's passport. Another possible solution would be to design the automated border gates to print a paper slip with an entry or exit stamp on it, as well as the user's name and travel document number, whenever the user is a traveller who is subject to the requirement to have his/her travel document stamped.[155] At the Port of Helsinki, the Finnish Border Guard has adapted the design of the automated border gates there to widen eligibility to include Russian citizens (who, as Annex I nationals, are required to have a visa) by requiring them to scan both the biodata page and the visa inside their passport, then to step into the gate for a facial image and fingerprint recognition, and after the gate opens to approach a border officer to have their passport stamped.[142]

At the following external border crossing points, automated border gates are available for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens aged 18 or over holding biometric passports:

At many external border crossing points, there are special lanes for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens (as well as their family members) and other lanes for all travellers regardless of nationality.[134] At some external border crossing points, there is a third type of lane for travellers who are Annex II nationals (i.e. non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who are exempt from the visa requirement).[135] Although Andorran and San Marinese citizens are not EU or EEA citizens, they are nonetheless able to use the special lanes designated for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.[136]

All travellers arriving from outside the Schengen Area using their own air plane or boat, have to go directly to an airport or seaport having a border control. This is a loophole hard to check, and large-scale drug smuggling using sail boats has been found. Along the southern coast of the Schengen countries, coast guards make a substantial effort to prevent private boats from entering without permission.

External border controls are located at roads crossing a border, at airports, at seaports and on board trains.[131] Usually, there is no fence along the land border, but there are exceptions like the Ceuta border fence, and some places at the eastern border.[132] However, surveillance camera systems, some equipped with infrared technology, are located at some more critical spots, for example at the border between Slovakia and Ukraine, where at some points there is a camera every 186 metres (203 yards).[133]

When carrying out checks at external borders, border guards are, by law, required to respect the dignity of travellers (particularly in cases involving vulnerable persons)[129] and are forbidden from discriminating against persons based on their sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.[130]

As shown by the table above, because many procedures are optional, border guards have discretion in deciding how rigorously they check travellers at external border crossing points. As a result, the length of time taken to perform checks differs between Schengen countries. For example, an entry check for an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen takes around five seconds on average in Italy, whilst in Norway, on average it takes around 1 minute.[123] The disparities in checks on third-country nationals are even greater. For example, an entry check for an Annex II national takes around 15 seconds on average in Greece, whilst it takes three to five minutes on average in Slovakia.[122][124] Similarly, an entry check for an Annex I national on average lasts around 30–60 seconds in The Netherlands, whilst in Latvia, it lasts around two to five minutes on average.[122]

Procedure Minimum check[113] Thorough check
(on entry)[117]
Thorough check
(on exit)[117]
Checking the traveller's identity based on his/her travel document Yes
(The check must be 'rapid' and 'straightforward')
Yes Yes
Checking that the travel document is valid and has not expired Yes
(The check must be 'rapid' and 'straightforward')
Yes Yes
Checking the travel document for signs of falsification or counterfeiting Yes
(The check must be 'rapid' and 'straightforward')
Yes Yes
Checking the travel document for signs of falsification or counterfeiting using technical devices (e.g. UV light, magnifiers) Optional
(The check must be 'rapid' and 'straightforward')
Optional Optional
Checking the travel document against the list of stolen, misappropriated, lost and invalidated documents in the Schengen Information System and other national databases Optional
(The check must be 'rapid' and 'straightforward')
Optional Optional
Consulting the Schengen Information System and other national databases to ensure that the traveller does not represent a threat to the internal security, public policy, international relations of Schengen Member States or a threat to the public health Optional
(on a strictly 'non-systematic' basis where such a threat is 'genuine', 'present' and 'sufficiently serious')
Optional Optional
Recording the traveller's entry/exit in a database
(Note that, as of February 2013, only 11 Schengen Member States—Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain—record third-country nationals' entries and exits in their national databases, but data is not exchanged between the national databases of these countries, nor is there a Schengen-wide centralised database tracking entries and exits in all 26 Schengen Member States.[118][119][120][121][122][123][124] Only Poland systematically records the entries and exits of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.[125])
Optional Optional Optional
Stamping the travel document No Yes
(with specific groups)
Yes
(with specific groups)
Checking that the traveller has the appropriate visa/residence permit (if required) No Yes Optional
Checking the authenticity of the short-stay visa (if required) and the identity of its holder by consulting the Visa Information System[126] No Yes Optional
Examining entry and exit stamps in the travel document to ensure that the traveller has not exceeded the maximum duration of authorised stay No Yes
(with some exceptions)[127]
Optional
Verifying the traveller's point of departure and destination No Yes No
Verifying the traveller's purpose of stay No Yes
(with some exceptions)[128]
No
Verifying any documents/evidence to support the traveller's purported purpose of stay No Optional
(with some exceptions)[128]
No
Verifying that the traveller has sufficient funds for his/her stay and onward/return journey (or that he/she is in a position to acquire such means lawfully) No Yes
(with some exceptions)[128]
No

Border guards carry out the following procedures when checking travellers who cross external borders:

In 'exceptional' and 'unforeseen' circumstances where waiting times become excessive, external border checks can be relaxed on a temporary basis.[116]

All persons crossing external borders – inbound or outbound – have to be subject to at least a minimum check, although travellers who are neither EU, EEA or Swiss citizens nor their family members enjoying the right of free movement must, in general, be subject to a thorough check.[113] The only exception is for regular cross-border commuters (both those with the right of free movement and third-country nationals) who are well known to the border guards: once an initial check has shown that there is no alert on record relating to them in the Schengen Information System or national databases, they can only be subject to occasional 'random' checks, rather than systematic checks every time they cross the border.[114][115]

Border checks

Participating countries are required to apply strict checks on travellers entering and exiting the Schengen Area. These checks are co-ordinated by the European Union's Frontex agency, and subject to common rules. The details of border controls, surveillance and the conditions under which permission to enter into the Schengen Area may be granted are exhaustively detailed in the Schengen Borders Code.[112]

Passport control at an external Schengen border in Finland

Regulation of external borders

Other countries, including Austria, Slovakia and the Netherlands have announced re-introduction of border controls in response to the crisis.

Germany signals the border controls are only temporary, and only to support an orderly flow of migration into the area.

Open borders appeared to have impacted on Germany's ability to provide for very large numbers of persons seeking refuge all at once.

During the migrant crisis of September 2015, Germany announced it was temporarily bringing border controls back in accordance with the provisions on temporary border controls laid down by the Schengen acquis. Such border controls appear to be an attempt to prevent disorder from making the crisis worse.

2015 migrant crisis

The European Commission is expected to unveil revised rules governing the possible temporary re-establishment of internal border controls in September 2011.[111]

On 25 July 2011, in delivering the European Commission's final assessment on the measures taken by Italy and France,[110] the Home Affairs Commissioner said, "[f]rom a formal point of view steps taken by Italian and French authorities have been in compliance with EU law. However, I regret that the spirit of the Schengen rules has not been fully respected."[110] Ms. Malmström also called for a more coherent interpretation of the Schengen rules and a stronger evaluation and monitoring system for the Schengen Area.[110]

At the request of France, in May 2011 the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström proposed that more latitude would be available for the temporary re-establishment of border control in the case of strong and unexpected migratory pressure, or the failure of a state to protect the external borders of the EU.[108]

Following the Tunisian revolution of 2010–11, the government of Italy gave six-month residence permits to some 25,000 Tunisian migrants.[108][109] This allowed the migrants to travel freely in the Schengen Area. In response, both France and Germany threatened to impose border checks, not wanting the Tunisian refugees to enter their territory.[109] In April 2011, for several hours, France blocked trains carrying the migrants at the French/Italian border at Ventimiglia.[109]

French controls against migrants from northern Africa

In October 2011, the newly elected government of Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Social Democrats Party) abolished her predecessor's border control plan and reintroduced normal Schengen procedure.[107]

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström wrote in her blog in May 2011 that the Danish measures could be in breach of EU law.[104] In July 2011, Malmström blogged as follows: "We are currently assessing all the information submitted by Denmark concerning their plans to reinforce customs controls at the borders. But the final decision on whether the Danish rules are in line with EU law will also depend on how they are put in practice. This is why, in agreement with the Danish authorities, I have today decided to send Commission experts to Denmark tomorrow to assess how the measures have been implemented."[105] Later in July 2011, Malmström expressed her concern that the mission of experts "did not give us the clarifications we were hoping for."[106]

In July 2011, Denmark tightened its customs controls in what the Danish government claimed was a measure designed to counter illegal immigration and organised crime.[101] This was criticised by Germany and the EU commission who argued that the Danish move was contrary to the principle of freedom of movement.[102][103]

Danish customs controls proposal

In response to the European migrant crisis, Germany has set up border controls with Austria starting on 13 September 2015. Slovakia initiated border controls with Hungary on 14 September 2015.

Estonia introduced temporary checks in September 2014 due to the visit of American President Barack Obama.

In April 2010 Malta introduced temporary checks due to Pope Benedict XVI's visit.[100]

A Schengen state is permitted to reinstate border controls with another Schengen country for a short period where there is a serious threat to that state's "public policy or internal security" or when the "control of an external border is no longer ensured due to exceptional circumstances".[98] When such risk arise out of foreseeable events, the state in question must notify the European Commission in advance and consult with other Schengen states.[99]

Border controls

There are certain flights between Schengen countries considered as non-Schengen flights. For example, travellers flying on LAN between Madrid-Barajas Airport and Frankfurt Airport are required to go through Schengen exit border checks upon departure in Madrid and Schengen entry border checks upon arrival in Frankfurt because the route originates from Santiago (Chile) and the German authorities would have no way of differentiating between arriving passengers who boarded in Santiago and those who joined in Madrid.[97]

For flights within the Schengen Area (either between Schengen member states or within the same Schengen member state), law enforcement agencies, airport authorities and air carriers are only permitted to carry out security checks on passengers and may not carry out border checks.[93][94] Such security checks can be conducted through the verification of the passenger's passport or national identity card:[95][96] Such a practice must only be used to verify the passenger's identity (for commercial or transport security reasons) and not his or her immigration status.[94] For this reason, law enforcement agencies, airport authorities and air carriers cannot require air passengers flying within the Schengen Area who are third-country nationals to prove the legality of their stay by showing a valid visa or residence permit.[94] In addition, according to European Commission guidelines, identity checks on air passengers flying within the Schengen Area should take place only either at check-in, or upon entry to the secured zone of the airport, or at the boarding gate: passengers should not be required to undergo a verification of their identity on more than one occasion before their flight within the Schengen Area.[94] Nevertheless, the identity checks function as practical border controls anyway, and are a problem for illegal immigrants who arrive in Greece (which has no land border to another Schengen country) and want to go to some other Schengen country. Italy is often preferred as arrival country by them for this reason. The requirements as to which identity document to possess varies by country and airline. Normally a passport or EU national identity card is needed. Greece, Iceland and Malta do not have land borders to other Schengen countries.

Air travel

The European Union constitutes a customs union and a Value Added Tax area. The effect of these provisions is to prohibit systematic tax, customs controls or any administrative processing of goods at borders between EU member states. In consequence the borders between EU, Schengen states have become largely invisible. However, not all Schengen states or all of the territory of Schengen states are part of the customs union or VAT area, so some controls on goods entering or leaving the customs union and VAT area are inevitable. Some other countries want to have customs controls targeted at illegal goods, such as drugs. To avoid customs controls becoming the new passport controls on internal Schengen borders, the Schengen Borders Code prohibits systematic customs and tax controls.[92]

Customs controls

The Schengen regulation on crossing internal borders[91] describes the checks for foreigners done by the police at suitable places inside each country.

According to the Schengen rules, hotels and other types of commercial accommodation must register all foreign citizens, including citizens of other Schengen states, by requiring the completion of a registration form by their own hand. This does not apply to accompanying spouses and minor children or members of travel groups. In addition, a valid identification document has to be produced to the hotel manager or staff.[90] The Schengen rules do not require any other procedures; thus, the Schengen states are free to regulate further details on the content of the registration forms, and identity documents which are to be produced, and may also require the persons exempted from registration by Schengen laws to be registered. Enforcement of these rules varies by country.

Although travellers within the Schengen Area are no longer required to show documents at an internal border (although there have been some controversial instances when they have), the laws of most countries still require them to carry identity documents.[88] Thus, foreigners with a valid residence permit in a Schengen State and carrying valid documents can travel within the territory and do not need any special permission to do so. It is the obligation of everyone travelling within the area to be able to show a fully valid form of personal identification approved by other Schengen States.[89]

In-country checks

Since the implementation of the Schengen rules, border posts have been closed (and often entirely removed) between participating countries; that and the pro forma borders are the subject of a photo-journalistic art project.[85] The Schengen Borders Code requires participating states to remove all obstacles to free traffic flow at internal borders.[86] Thus, road, rail and air passengers no longer have their identity checked by border guards when travelling between Schengen countries, although security controls by carriers are still permissible.[87] Travellers should still bring a passport or a national identity card, and it might be required.

Before the implementation of the Schengen Agreement, most borders in Europe were patrolled and a vast network of border posts existed around the continent, to check the identity and entitlement of people wishing to travel from one country to another.

Two road-signs on the side of an open stretch of a two-lane highway.
A typical Schengen border crossing has no border control post and only a common EU-state sign displaying the name of the country being entered, as here between Germany and Austria. The larger blue sign announces entry to the Federal Republic of Germany in German, the smaller white sign announces entry into the German state of Bavaria.

Regulation of internal borders

Vatican City has an open border with Italy.[83] In 2006 it showed interest in joining the Schengen agreement for closer cooperation in information sharing and similar activities covered by the Schengen Information System.[84] Very exceptionally, Italy has allowed people to visit the Vatican City, without being accepted for an Italian visa, then being escorted by police between the airport and the Vatican, or using helicopter.

San Marino has an open border with Italy, although some random checks are made by Guardia di Finanza and San Marino's Guardia di Rocca.

Monaco has an open border with France. Schengen laws are administered as if it was part of EU. Both French and Monégasque authorities carry out checks at Monaco's seaport and heliport.

Andorra retains border controls with both France and Spain. Citizens of EU countries are required to have either their national identity cards or passports to enter Andorra, while anyone else requires a passport or equivalent. Schengen visas are accepted,[81] but those travellers who need a visa to enter the Schengen Area need a multiple-entry visa to visit Andorra, because entering Andorra means leaving the Schengen Area.[82] There are border controls in the other direction also, but more focused on customs control (Andorra is a tax haven with 4 % VAT).

As of 2015, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino are negotiating an Association Agreement with the EU. Andorran ambassador to Spain Jaume Gaytán has said that he hopes that the agreement will include provisions to make the states associate members of the Schengen Agreement.[80]

The other four microstates are not party to the Schengen Agreement, cannot issue Schengen visas and, with the exception of Monaco, are not part of the Schengen Area. San Marino and the Vatican City are both landlocked states surrounded by Italy. As they both have open borders, they can be considered to be de facto within the Schengen Area, meaning they are not officially in an agreement but are accessible without any border controls. San Marino and the Vatican City do not perform border checks for arrivals from outside Schengen, but these are not needed since neither of them have any airports or seaports. Helicopters are not permitted to go from outside Schengen or from a ship directly to San Marino or the Vatican City.

Liechtenstein has been a member of the Schengen Area since 2011. However, Liechtenstein does not issue visas, and recommends visitors to apply for a visa in another Schengen country, e.g. Switzerland.[79] Liechtenstein has no border check at the Balzers heliport, so helicopters must go inside Schengen only.

Status of the European microstates

A previous 1999 report by the European Union Select Committee of the House of Lords recommended "full United Kingdom participation" in all the various four Titles of the Schengen Implementing Convention.[78]

In contrast while Ireland initially submitted a request to participate in the Schengen acquis in 2002, which was approved by the Council of the European Union,[76] that decision has not yet been put into effect. In February 2010 the Irish Minister for Justice, in response to a parliamentary question, said that: "[t]he measures which will enable Ireland to meet its Schengen requirements are currently being progressed".[77]

The UK formally requested to participate in certain provisions of the Schengen acquis – Title III relating to Police Security and Judicial Cooperation – in 1999, and this request was approved by the Council of the European Union on 29 May 2000.[74] The United Kingdom's formal participation in the previously approved areas of cooperation was put into effect by a 2004 Council decision that came into effect on 1 January 2005.[75]

When Schengen was subsumed into the EU by the Treaty of Amsterdam, Ireland and the UK obtained an opt-out from the part of the treaty which was to incorporate the Schengen rules (or acquis) into EU Law.[72] Under the relevant protocol, Ireland and the United Kingdom may request to participate in aspects of the Schengen acquis but this is subject to the approval of the Schengen states.[73]

The UK declined to sign up to the Schengen Agreement, one argument being that, for an island, frontier controls are a better and less intrusive way to prevent illegal immigration than other measures, such as identity cards, residence permits, and registration with the police, which are appropriate for countries with "extensive and permeable land borders".[70] Ireland did not sign up to the Schengen Agreement because it "would not be in the interest of Ireland to have a situation where the common travel area with Britain would be ended and Ireland would impose both exit and entry controls on persons travelling between here and Britain and, in addition, on the land frontier".[71]

Ireland and the United Kingdom were the only EU members which, prior to the 2004 enlargement, had not signed the Schengen Agreement. Both countries maintain a Common Travel Area with passport-free travel for their citizens between them and the three British Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, that are outside the European Union.

  EU member states participating
  EU member states not participating but obliged to join
  EU member states with an opt-out
  non-EU member states participating
  non-EU member states de facto participating
  non-EU member states with an open border

EU member states with opt-outs

The Danish territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland are neither part of the European Union nor the Schengen Area, and visas to Denmark are not automatically valid in these territories. The border between these territories and the Schengen Area is open on paper, but when travelling by air or sea, a passport or national identity card must be shown at check-in, like it commonly is for air travel inside the Schengen Area. However, as the Faroes are part of the Nordic Passport Union, citizens of Norway, Sweden, Iceland or Denmark can travel between the Faroes and the rest of the Nordic Passport Union using any acceptable identification.[69] Denmark has the responsibility that full border checks are performed at arrival to Faroes or Greenland from outside the Schengen Area, such as the UK and Canada.

Svalbard is part of Norway and has a special status under international law. It is not part of the Schengen Area. There is no visa regime in existence for Svalbard either for entry, residence or work,[66] but it is difficult to visit Svalbard without travelling through the Schengen Area,[66] although there are charter flights from Russia. In 2011 the Norwegian government imposed identity checks on individuals wishing to enter and leave Svalbard, with the border between Svalbard and the rest of Norway being treated as an external Schengen border.[67] A Schengen visa must be multiple entry to allow returning to Norway.[68] There is no welfare or asylum system for immigrants on Svalbard, and people incapable of supporting themselves may be sent away.[68]

Only the European territory of the Netherlands is part of the Schengen Area. Six Dutch territories in the Caribbean are outside the Area. Three of these territories – Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (collectively known as the BES islands) – are special municipalities within the Netherlands proper. The other three – Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten – are autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. All islands retain their status as Overseas countries and territories and are thus not part of the European Union. The six territories have a separate visa system from the European part of the Netherlands and people travelling between these islands and the Schengen Area are subjected to systematic identity checks.[65]

The French overseas departments of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion, and the overseas collectivity of Saint Martin are part of the European Union but do not form part of the Schengen Area. The EU's freedom of movement provisions apply, but each territory operates its own visa regime for non-European Economic Area (EEA), non-Swiss nationals. While a visa valid for one of these territories will be valid for all, visa exemption lists differ.[62] A Schengen visa, even one issued by France, is not valid for these territories. A visa for Sint Maarten (which is valid for travelling to the Dutch side of the island of Saint Martin) is also valid for the French side.[63] France also has several territories which are neither part of the EU nor the Schengen Area.[64] These are: French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, New Caledonia, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna.

There are territories of member states that are exempted from the Schengen Agreement. No area that is located outside Europe (except the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira) is part of the Schengen Area. Some areas in Europe are also excluded.

A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various multinational European organisations and agreements.

Territories of Schengen states outside the Area

  1. ^ Agreement on accession to the EU.
  2. ^ Desired timeline of state for Council decision.

Notes

State Area (km²) Population Signed[Note 1] Target decision date[Note 2] Obstacles
 Bulgaria 110,994 7,364,570 25 April 2005[53] 2015By 2016[54][55][56][57] Lack of consensus by the Council of Ministers that accession criteria have been met
 Croatia 56,594 4,290,612 9 December 2011[58] 2016By 2016[59] European migrant crisis[52]
 Cyprus 9,251 1,099,341 16 April 2003[15] 2016By 2016[60] The Cyprus dispute
 Romania 238,391 20,121,641 25 April 2005[53] 2015By 2016[54][61] Lack of consensus by the Council of Ministers that accession criteria have been met

The influx of illegal migrants from Greece through Macedonia and Serbia to Croatia and then to current Schengen member states like Slovenia, Austria and Hungary, as part of the 2015 European migrant crisis, has led some to question whether there will be the political consensus necessary for further enlargement of the Schengen Area in this atmosphere.[48][49][50][51] In September 2015, Hungary threatened to veto Croatia's accession to the Schengen Area after it allowed migrants to transit the country into Hungary.[52]

With Croatia's accession to the EU on 1 July 2013, it is also legally bound to eventually join the Schengen Area. In March 2015, Croatia's Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said that his country was ready to join the Schengen Area. He said that he would request that the EU conduct a technical evaluation, which would take a year and a half, beginning on 1 July 2015.[46][47]

[45][44] continued opposition from Germany, Finland and the Netherlands has delayed the two countries' entry to the Schengen Area.[43] Concern has also been expressed about the potential influx of illegal immigrants through Turkey to Bulgaria and Romania and then to present Schengen countries. Although the original plan was for Schengen Area to open its air and sea borders with Bulgaria and Romania by March 2012, and land borders by July 2012,[43][42]

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