definition of Wikipedia
|Description||Free travel area|
|Policy of||European Union|
The Schengen Area comprises the territories of twenty-six European countries that have implemented the Schengen Agreement signed in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, in 1985. The Schengen Area operates very much like a single state for international travel with border controls for those travelling in and out of the area, but with no internal border controls.
The Schengen rules were absorbed into European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999, although the area officially includes four non-EU member states—Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland—and de facto includes three European micro-states—Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican. All but two EU member states—Ireland and the United Kingdom—are required to implement Schengen. With the exceptions of Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania, all other countries have already complied. The area currently covers a population of over 400 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometres (1,664,911 sq mi).
Implementing the Schengen rules involves eliminating border controls with other Schengen members while simultaneously strengthening border controls with non-member states. The rules include provisions on a common policy on the temporary entry of persons (including the Schengen visa), the harmonisation of external border controls, and cross-border police and judicial co-operation.
Whether a passport or an EU approved national identity card is required for identity checks done at airports, hotels, or by police, depends on national rules and varies between countries. Occasionally, regular border controls are used between Schengen countries.
The Schengen Area came in existence on 26 March 1995 when the Schengen Agreement along with its implementing convention was implemented by seven EU member states. During the negotiations which led up to the signing of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997, EU leaders agreed to bring the Schengen Agreement, Convention and the rules created under them into the main body of EU law, the acquis communautaire; thus bringing a project which had developed outside the framework of the EU into the EU mainstream. This duly happened with the entrance into force of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999.
There were concerns over the borders of Austria with former communist countries to the east and south therefore Austrian entry was delayed until procedures could be further evaluated and placed in operation. In the case of of Italy's delayed entry, there were concerns over securing the very large coastline of the country and the multitude of immigrants from North Africa, Asia and the Balkans across the nearby seas. Both were admitted in 1997, over a year and a half after the originating countries. 
The Schengen Area currently consists of twenty-six states, all but four of which are 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. The third, Switzerland, was subsequently allowed to participate in the same manner in 2008. The fourth, Liechtenstein, joined on 19 December 2011, becoming the newest member of the Schengen Area. De facto, the Schengen Area also includes several microstates that maintain open or semi-open borders with Schengen countries. Two EU members—Ireland and the United Kingdom—negotiated opt-outs from Schengen and continue to operate systematic border controls with other EU member states.
Before fully implementing the Schengen rules, each state needs to 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.
|| Signed or
| Date of first|
|Austria||83,871||8,414,638||28 April 1995||1 December 1997|
|Belgium||30,528||11,007,020||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Czech Republic||78,866||10,535,811||1 May 2004||21 December 2007b|
(excluding Greenlandd and the Faroe Islandsd)
|43,094||5,564,219||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|Estonia||45,226||1,340,194||1 May 2004||21 December 2007b|
|Finland||338,145||5,391,700||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
(excluding overseas departments and territories)
|674,843||65,821,885||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Germany||357,050||81,799,600||14 June 1985||26 March 1995c|
|Greece||131,990||10,787,690||6 November 1992||26 March 2000|
|Hungary||93,030||9,979,000||1 May 2004||21 December 2007b|
|Icelanda||103,000||318,452||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|Italy||301,318||60,681,514||27 November 1990||26 October 1997|
|Latvia||64,589||2,245,357||1 May 2004||21 December 2007b|
|Liechtenstein a||160||36,010||28 February 2008||19 December 2011|
|Lithuania||65,303||3,207,060||1 May 2004||21 December 2007b|
|Luxembourg||2,586||511,840||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Malta||316||417,608||1 May 2004||21 December 2007b|
(excluding Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands)
|41,526||16,703,700||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|385,155||4,993,300||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|Poland||312,683||38,186,860||1 May 2004||21 December 2007b|
|Portugal||92,391||10,647,763||25 June 1992||26 March 1995|
|Slovakia||49,037||5,440,078||1 May 2004||21 December 2007b|
|Slovenia||20,273||2,048,951||1 May 2004||21 December 2007b|
(excluding Ceuta and Melillaf)
|506,030||46,030,109||25 June 1992||26 March 1995|
|Sweden||449,964||9,415,570||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|Switzerlanda||41,285||7,866,500||26 October 2004||12 December 2008|
|Schengen Area||4,312,259||419,392,429||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
a. ^ States outside the EU that are associated with the Schengen activities of the EU, and where the Schengen rules apply.
b. ^ For overland borders and seaports; since 30 March 2008 also for airports.
c. ^ East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany, joining Schengen, on 3 October 1990. Before this it remained outside the agreement. Despite some media reports, Heligoland is not outside Schengen; it is only outside the European Union Value Added Tax Area.
d. ^ Greenland and the Faroe Islands are not included in the Schengen area, although there might be relaxed checks in the Faroe Islands for flights from Scandinavia, thanks to the Nordic Passport Union; thus a passport is still recommended. A Schengen visa issued by a Schengen state 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.
e. ^ However, Jan Mayen is part of the Schengen Area.
f. ^ 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.
While Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, is legally bound to join the Schengen Area, implementation has been delayed because of the Cyprus dispute. According to Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Lillikas, "strict and full control based on Schengen will create a huge tribulation on a daily basis for the Turkish Cypriots", and it is unclear if this control is possible before the resolution of the dispute. The Sovereign Base Areas, which are outside the EU, will also need "other handling and mechanisms". As of March 2011[update] no date has been fixed for implementation of the Schengen rules by Cyprus.
Bulgaria and Romania's bids to join the Schengen Area were approved by the European Parliament in June 2011 but rejected by the Council of Ministers in September 2011, with the Dutch and Finnish governments citing concerns about shortcomings in anti-corruption measures and in the fight against organised crime. Concern has also been expressed about the potential influx of illegal immigrants from Turkey through Bulgaria and Romania to 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, opposition from the Netherlands has deferred the two countries' entry to the Schengen Area until September 2012 at the earliest. This deal is pending ratification by the European Council on the recommendation of its President Herman van Rompuy.
|Flag||State||Area (km²)||Population||Signed or opted in||Prospective implementation date|
|Bulgaria||110,994||7,364,570||1 January 2007||No earlier than September 2012|
|Croatia||56,594||4,290,612||9 December 2011||accession in 2013, potentially by 2015Sometime after|
|Cyprus||9,251||1,099,341||1 May 2004||Cyprus disputePartly dependent upon|
|Romania||238,391||19,042,936||1 January 2007||No earlier than September 2012|
There are territories of member states that are exempted from the Schengen Agreement and most of these are outside Europe (or remote islands in Europe).
The French overseas departments of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion, and the overseas collectivities of Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin are part of the European Union but do not form part of the Schengen Area. A fifth French Overseas Department, Mayotte, was created on 31 March 2011 when its status was changed from being a overseas collectivity. It is due to become part of the EU as an EU outermost region on 1 January 2014. The EU's freedom of movement provisions apply, but each territory operates their 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. 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. France also has several territories which are neither part of the EU nor the Schengen Area. These are: French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, New Caledonia, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna.
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.
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, although it is difficult to visit Svalbard without travelling through the Schengen Area, 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. A Schengen visa must be multiple entry to allow returning to Norway. There is no welfare or asylum system for immigrants on Svalbard, and people incapable of supporting themselves may be sent away.
The Danish territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland are neither part of the European Union nor the Schengen Area, though the Faroes are part of the Nordic Passport Union. Visas to Denmark are not automatically valid in the Faroe Islands and Greenland. A passport or an acceptable identity card must be brought and is needed both for the identity check at boarding and for the check at the arrival airport.
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, which are outside of the European Union.
The UK declined to join Schengen Convention elements related to passport control, 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". Ireland does not share Britain's view that free movement without border checks should apply only to EU citizens, but has not signed the Schengen Implementation Convention 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".
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. 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.
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. 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.
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, 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".
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.
These microstates are not parties 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 as being de facto within the Schengen Area. San Marino and 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.
Border controls remain at Andorra's borders with both France and Spain. Citizens of EU countries require either their national identity cards or passports to enter Andorra, while anyone else requires a passport or equivalent. 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.
Liechtenstein joined the Schengen Area on 19 December 2011, and is currently its newest member. Liechtenstein's foreign affairs have been Switzerland's responsibility since 1919, and Liechtenstein has had an open border with Switzerland for many years. Between Switzerland's entry into the Schengen Area in 2008 and Liechtenstein's entry in 2011, the crossings between Switzerland and Liechtenstein were monitored by security cameras. Liechtenstein had full Swiss border checks at its Austrian border.
Monaco has an open border with France. Schengen laws are administered as if it were a part of France, and French and Monégasque authorities carry out checks at Monaco's seaport.
The Vatican City has an open border with Italy. The microstate has shown an interest in joining the Schengen agreement for closer cooperation in information sharing and similar activities covered by the Schengen Information System.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Internal Schengen borders|
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.
Since the implementation of the Schengen rules, border posts have been closed (and often entirely removed) between participating countries. The Schengen Borders Code requires participating states to remove all obstacles to free traffic flow at internal borders. Thus, road, rail and air passengers no longer have their identity checked by border guards when crossing borders, although security controls by carriers are still permissible.
A Schengen state is permitted to reinstate border controls for a short period where there is a serious threat to that state's "public policy or internal security." 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. In April 2010 Malta introduced temporary checks due to Pope Benedict XVI's visit.
When travelling by air between Schengen countries or within a single Schengen country, some airlines request identification (usually a passport or a national ID card) at the airport check-in counters or when boarding. This practice is not a form of an official border control, but is used to establish the identity of the passengers. However, certain flights between Schengen countries are 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 checks upon departure in Madrid and Schengen entry checks upon arrival in Frankfurt, because the route operates 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.
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. 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.
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/or VAT area are inevitable. In order to avoid customs controls becoming the new passport controls on internal Schengen borders, the Schengen Borders Code prohibits systematic customs and tax controls.
In July 2011, Denmark tightened its customs controls in what the Danish government claim is a measure designed to counter illegal immigration and organised crime. This has been criticised by Germany and the EU commission who argue that the Danish move is contrary to the principle of freedom of movement.
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. 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 asses [sic] how the measures have been implemented." Later in July 2011, Malmström expressed her concern that the mission of experts "did not give us the clarifications we were hoping for."
Following the Tunisian revolution of 2010–11, the government of Italy gave six-month residence permits to some 25,000 Tunisian migrants. 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. In April 2011, for several hours, France blocked trains carrying the migrants at the French/Italian border at Ventimiglia.
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.
On 25 July 2011, in delivering the European Commission's final assessment on the measures taken by Italy and France, 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." Ms. Malmström also called for a more coherent interpretation of the Schengen rules and a stronger evaluation and monitoring system for the Schengen Area.
The European Commission is expected to unveil revised rules governing the possible temporary re-establishment of internal border controls in September 2011.
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.
All persons crossing external borders—inbound or outbound—have to be subject to at least a minimum check, although travellers who do not enjoy the right of free movement must, in general, be subject to a thorough check. 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.
In 'exceptional' and 'unforeseen' circumstances where waiting times become excessive, external border checks can be relaxed on a temporary basis.
|Procedure||Minimum check||Thorough check
|Checking the traveller's identity based on his/her travel document||Yes
(The check must be 'rapid' and 'straightforward')
|Checking the traveller's identity based on his/her travel document using technical devices||Optional
(The check must be 'rapid' and 'straightforward')
|Checking that the travel document is valid and has not expired||Optional||Yes||Yes|
|Checking the travel document against a database of stolen, misappropriated, lost and invalidated documents||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Checking the travel document for signs of falsification or counterfeiting||Optional||Yes||Yes|
|Consulting databases to ensure that the traveller does not represent a threat to the internal security, public policy, international relations of the 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')
|Consulting the Schengen Information System for alerts||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Checking that the traveller has the appropriate visa/residence permit (if required)||No||Yes||Optional|
|Checking the authenticity of the visa (if required) and the identity of the visa holder by consulting the Visa Information System||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||Optional|
|Verifying the traveller's point of departure and destination||No||Yes||No|
|Verifying the traveller's purpose of stay||No||Yes||No|
|Verifying any documents/evidence to support the traveller's purported purpose of stay||No||Optional||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||No|
External border controls are located at roads crossing a border, at airports, at seaports and on board trains. Usually, there is no fence along the land border, but there are exceptions like the Ceuta border fence. However, surveillance camera systems, some equipped with infrared technology, are located at some more critical spots, for example at the border between Slovakia and the Ukraine, where at some points there is a camera every 186 metres (203 yards). Along the southern coast of the Schengen countries, coast guards make a substantial effort to prevent private boats from entering without permission.
Sometimes, external border controls are located on non-Schengen territory. For example, France operates border checks 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.
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. This is to prevent persons from applying for asylum at the passport control after landing within the Schengen Area.
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).
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. Schengen states may establish, with respect to entries and stays in their own territory, additional visa requirements or waivers for persons holding diplomatic, official, or other special passports.
The uniform visa—or Schengen visa—is granted in the form of a sticker affixed by a Member State onto a passport, travel document or another valid document which authorises the holder to cross the border. However, the holder of a visa may still be denied entry at the border if he/she fails to meet the requirements for admission to the Schengen Area (see below).
Normally, an individual has to apply for a Schengen visa in his/her country of residence at the embassy, high commission or consulate of the Schengen country which is his/her main destination. It is possible, exceptionally, to obtain a single-entry Schengen visa valid for up to 15 days on arrival at the border if the individual can prove that he/she was unable to apply for a visa in advance due to time constraints arising out of 'unforeseeable' and 'imperative' reasons as long as he/she fulfils 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, he/she 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).
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, or 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").
The requirements for entry are as follows:
However, even if the third-country national does not fulfil the criteria for entry, admission may still be granted:
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. However, nationals of Andorra, Monaco and San Marino are exempt from this requirement, as are heads of state, whose visits were announced through diplomatic channels, and those enjoying the benefit of a local border traffic regime. Certain exemptions also apply to the crews of ships and aircraft. 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. 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Schengen zone passport stamps|
Exit stamp for air travel issued at Prague airport.
Exit stamp for rail travel, issued at Bad Schandau train station.
Exit stamp for road travel, issued at Korczowa border crossing.
Exit stamp for sea travel, issued at Helsinki port.
For stays in the Schengen Area as a whole which exceed three months, 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 three months but no more than one year. If a Schengen state wishes to allow the holder of a long-stay visa remain there for longer than a year, the state must issue him or her with a residence permit.
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. 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.
However, some third-country nationals are permitted to stay in the Schengen Area for more than three months without the need to apply for a long-stay visa. 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, 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 a 180 day period time limit applies.
The right of entry without additional visa was extended to the non-EEA 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. 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 for free and entry permitted. However, this requirement has been incorrectly transposed into Belgian, Latvian and Swedish law, and not transposed at all by Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania and Germany.
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.
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. 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. 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. Austria, somewhat like the UK, seems to require a permanent residence card issued by the Austrian authorities in order to enter without visa.
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. 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.
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.
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 conformance with the Regulation. The agreement may only be concluded if the neighbouring state grants at least reciprocal rights to EEA and Swiss nationals resident in the Schengen side of the border area, and agrees to the repatriation of individuals found to be abusing the border agreement.
As of July 2011[update] five 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. 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. The fifth is the one between Latvia and Belarus, which began to work in February 2012.
Agreements between Poland and Belarus, Lithuania and Belarus, and Norway and Russia is due to enter into force in 2012. An agreement between Poland and Russia (on Kaliningrad Area) was signed in December 2011
Already 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. Finland is not planning border permits, but have issued over one million regular visas for Russians in 2011, and many of them multiple-entry visas. EU is planning to allow up to 5 year validity on multiple-entry visas for Russians
There is an exception to these rules in the case of citizens of Croatia. Based on the pre-Schengen bilateral agreements between Croatia and its neighbouring EU countries (Italy, Hungary and Slovenia), Croatian citizens are allowed to cross the border with only an ID card (passport not obligatory). Many people living near the border cross it several times a day (some work across the border, or own land on the other side of the border), especially on the border with Slovenia, which was unmarked for centuries as Croatia and Slovenia were both part of the Habsburg Empire (1527–1918) and Yugoslavia (1918–1991). Since Croatia will join the EU on 1 July 2013, an interim solution, which received permission from the European Commission, was found: every Croatian citizen is allowed to cross the Schengen border into Hungary, Italy or Slovenia with an ID card and a special border card that is issued by Croatian police at border exit control. The police authorities of Hungary, Italy or Slovenia will then stamp the special border card both on entry and exit. Croatian citizens, however, are not allowed to enter any other Schengen agreement countries without a valid passport, although they are allowed to travel between Hungary, Italy and Slovenia.
These arrangements will be discontinued on 1 July 2013 when Croatia will become an EU member state. As of then, Croatian citizens will be able to enter any member country using only an ID card. During June 2011 Croatia began with implementation of the projects and reforms required to join the Schengen Area by 2015.
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, while on 8 November 2010 it did the same for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The former took effect on 19 December 2009, while the latter on 15 December 2010.
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.
Visa liberalisation negotiations between the EU and the Western Balkans (excluding Croatia and 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.
The Schengen rules also include provisions for sharing intelligence, such as information about people, lost and stolen documents, vehicles, via the Schengen Information System. This means that potentially problematic persons cannot 'disappear' simply by moving from one Schengen country to another.
According to Article 39 of the Schengen Convention, police administrations of the Schengen States are required to grant each other administrative assistance in the course of the prevention and detection of criminal offences according to the relevant national laws and within the scope of their relevant powers. They may cooperate through central bodies or, in case of urgency, also directly with each other. The Schengen provisions entitle the competent ministries of the Schengen States to agree on other forms of cooperation in border regions.
With respect to actions which imply constraint or the presence of police officers of a Schengen State in another Schengen State, specific rules apply, based on agreements between the pairs of neighbour states.
Under Article 40 of the Schengen Convention, police observation may be continued across a border if the person observed is presumed to have participated in an extraditable criminal offence. Prior authorization of the second state is required, except if the offence is one of those in Article 40(7) of the Schengen Convention, and if urgency requires the continuation of the observation without prior consent of the second state. In the latter case, the authorities of the second state must be informed before the end of the observation in its territory, the request for consent has to be handed over as soon as possible, and the observation has to be terminated on request of the second state, or if consent has not been granted after five hours. The police officers of the first state are bound to the laws of the second state, must carry identification which shows that they are police officers, and are entitled to carry their service weapons. They may not stop or arrest the observed persons, and must report to the second state after the operation has been finished. On the other hand, the second state is obliged to assist the enquiry subsequent to the operation, including judicial proceedings.
Under Article 41 of the Schengen Convention, police from one Schengen state may cross national borders to chase their target, if it is not possible to notify the police of the second state before entry into that territory, or if the authorities of the second state are unable to reach the scene in time to take over the pursuit. The Schengen states may declare if they restrict the right to hot pursuit into their territory in time or in distance, and if they allow the neighbouring states to arrest persons on their territory. However, the second state is obliged to challenge the pursued person in order to establish the person's identity or to make an arrest if so requested by the pursuing state. The right to hot pursuit is limited to land borders. The pursuing officers either have to be in uniform or their vehicles have to be marked. They are permitted to carry service weapons, which may be used only in self-defence. After the operation, the first state has to report to the second state about its outcome.
Under Article 42 of the Schengen Convention, police officers of a state who became victims of a criminal offence in another Schengen state while on duty there, enjoy the same right of compensation as an officer of the second state. According to Article 43 of the Schengen Convention, the state which employs a police officer is liable for damages towards another state where such police office performs illegal actions.
Many Schengen states have introduced further bilateral measures for police cooperation in border regions, which are expressly permitted under Article 39(5) of the Schengen Convention. Such cooperation may include joint police radio frequencies, police control centres, and tracing units in border regions. Signatories to the Prüm Convention also allow for the ad hoc conferment of police powers to the police officers of other EU member states.
The Schengen states are obliged to grant each other legal assistance in criminal justice with respect to all types of criminal offences (Article 49 of the Schengen Convention), this including tax and other fiscal offences (Article 50 of the Schengen Convention), except for certain small crimes, as defined in Article 50 of the Schengen Convention. All Schengen states may serve court documents by mail to another Schengen State, but must attach a translation, if there is reason to believe that the addressee would not understand the original language of the document served (Article 52 of the Schengen Convention). Requests for legal assistance may be exchanged directly between the judicial authorities of the Schengen states, without having to use diplomatic channels (Article 53 of the Schengen Convention).
In Articles 54 to 58 of the Schengen Convention, detailed rules concerning the application of the principle that no person may be sentenced twice for the same criminal offence in the Schengen States are laid down.
Under the Schengen convention, the Schengen states are obliged to prosecute illegal trade in narcotics whilst at the same time afford every protection to those prescribed medicines that contain narcotic elements. They also must provide for the forfeiture of illegal profits that derive from trade in illicit or controlled substances. Persons are permitted to transport controlled substances for their personal medical treatment in the territory of other Schengen states.
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. 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".
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:
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. As a result the Agreement and Convention can be amended by regulations.
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