The history of the emergence of the agreement, known today throughout the world as the Schengen Agreement, began in 1985. Then representatives of five European states gathered near the Luxembourg village of Schengen to sign an agreement on simplifying passport and visa control. As a result of the agreements that appeared, the borders between Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France became much more transparent, and internal border formalities were minimized. A few years later, it became unnecessary to present a passport within the framework of the existence of the created Schengen zone, and then other participants joined the list of states that supported the project. Today the concept of "Schengen countries" unites 26 states that have supported the idea of forming a territory of free movement. To visit any of them, you need a visa, called a Schengen visa. It will have to be presented at the external border when entering the Schengen area. There is no border control when crossing borders within the Schengen area.
The alphabetical list of countries requiring a Schengen visa to enter their territory includes:
- Czech Republic
The list of countries in the Schengen area may soon be replenished with several more members. Bulgaria, the Republic of Cyprus, Romania and Croatia are on the way to membership.
Before fully introducing the rules stipulated by the Schengen agreement on its own territory, the newly acceding country must receive a readiness assessment. There are four areas that are being carefully researched by EU experts: air borders, the system for issuing entry visas for foreigners, police cooperation between the member states of the zone and the protection of personal data.
Unions and organizations of the Old World
In Europe, there are several associations in which states have common laws, goals, objectives and policies. For example, the list of countries belonging to the Schengen area does not completely coincide with the list of states that have membership in the European Union. And the borders of the euro area are not identical to the borders within which you can move, having a Schengen visa in your passport.
When planning to go on a tourist voyage in Europe, do not forget that:
- To travel to the UK, you will need to open a separate visa and buy British pounds sterling as currency.
- Switzerland will allow entry on a Schengen visa, but euros are not accepted for payment in shops and restaurants in Swiss cities. The country uses its own currency, the Swiss franc.
- Ireland is not included in the list of countries of the Schengen agreement, but they use the euro as their currency.
- To travel to Denmark, a Schengen visa will be enough for you, but you will not be able to pay euros in Copenhagen and other cities of the kingdom. Prepare Danish crowns in advance.
- Norway will also be happy to accept a traveler with a Schengen passport, but the country still uses its own currency, the Norwegian kronor.
In the Old World, there are also so-called dwarf states that, although they have not legally joined the Schengen zone, actually fully apply its legislation.
San Marino and the Vatican, being on the territory of Italy, do not have their own seaports or air ports, from where one could get to them, bypassing a large neighbor. Monaco, despite the presence of a seaport, also does not require a separate visa for its visit. The reason is that border formalities in the port of Monaco are entrusted to the French and arrival there is equivalent to entering French territory.
Some European countries have overseas territories left over from the colonial past. Their visit is not subject to the general provisions of the Schengen agreement, due to the remoteness and difficulties of passing through passport and customs control.
Tourists will have to obtain special visas to walk around Greenland and the Faroe Islands (Danish Embassy); the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, surrounded by the territory of Morocco (Spanish Embassy); the self-governing state of Sint Maarten and the French overseas community of Saint Martin, located on the island of Saint Martin (embassies of France or the Netherlands).