Updated list of Schengen countries
The Schengen Agreement signed in 1985 between five European Union countries enables visitors to travel without internal systematic border controls.
Nowadays, the list of Schengen Agreement countries has grown to include 26 members covering the population of 400 million of EU citizens. Be sure to note that the European Union has 27 member countries, while the Schengen treaty only 26 members.
At this time the United Kingdom and Ireland are considered cooperating states not members; Bulgaria and Romania have the status of prospective members awaiting their acceptance.
If you are visiting a single Schengen country and you are required to have a valid visa, you must apply at the embassy of this particular country. If you wish to travel to multiple countries you must apply for the Schengen visa.
There are several types of visas and I strongly recommend you to check with each country ahead.
Visitors without visa obligations can stay in the Schengen Union for up to 90 days maximum, but then they have to depart the Schengen Union for another 90 days; in other words they can spend 90 days out of 180 within the Schengen area.
Transit Visa: valid for 1-5 days with either single or double entry - this visa is generally needed when passing through the Schengen country while having final destination in a non-Schengen state.
Short Stay Visa: 1-90 days with a single, double or multiple entries
Long Stay Visa: 90 days or more.
Airport Transit Visa: this is required for certain passport holders’ only (check with your consulate).
What are the conditions for obtaining a visa and enter the country?
• You need to complete and sign a Common Schengen Application form
• Your passport needs to be valid for at least 3 months after your departure date from the Schengen area, with 2 blank pages available for the visa and a recent color photo (passport size)
• If your final destination is not part of the Schengen area, you must apply for said countries visas before applying for a Schengen visa
• You will need your itinerary and return air tickets with flight numbers stating the entry and exit dates from the Schengen area
• You will need sufficient documentation of your current monetary status stating you have a clear amount of funds for the duration of your stay, as well as tax receipt of foreign exchange purchased bearing applicant's name, and Travelers' checks. For credit cards, you will need the latest credit card statement or an original letter from the bank manager stating credit amount available (Please check with your consulate what the current minimum amount is.)
• You will need insurance - travel, health and accident. A finalized document stating the policy number and dates must be presented
• You will need proof of accommodation(s) - Tourists choosing to stay with friends or family need to acquire a letter with a copy of their passports or identification documents stamped by a commissioner of oaths, stating the address and duration of accommodation offered. Your hotel reservation receipts, if applicable, will also be needed. In the case of a pre-paid tour, please provide details of the tour with a proof of payment to the tour operator
• If your stay is business related, you are required to present documentation stating the company in the Schengen area, your employer's details and the purpose of business being conducted. Conference trips will need the necessary registration and proof of payment documentation
• Any minors, under 18 years, travelling alone or via school related means, will need certified proof from their parents or legal guardians
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