The Schengen Area

CarteThe Schengen area represents a territory allowing the free movement of persons between the 26 countries who signed the Schengen Agreement. Out of the 28 members of the European Union, 22 are part of the Schengen area.

A borderless territory

In force since 1995, the Schengen Agreement abolished border controls between the countries signatory of the treaty. Only a single external border now exists. This means all countries who signed the agreement follow a common visa policy and external border controls are strengthened. A Schengen visa issued by one member state is valid in the entire Schengen area.

Free movement

Inside the Schengen area, free movement of persons is the rule. Any individual, (whether a citizen of the European Union or of a non-member state), once on the territory of a member country, can cross the borders of the other countries without any border checks. In Barcelona one day and in Paris the next: you’re free to be always on the move!

To find out more about the Schengen area:

The Schengen area, country by country: take a look at the map. The European Union official website explains what documents you might need to take along when travelling.

The 26 signatories :

Austria Iceland Portugal
Czech Republic LatviaSlovenia
Denmark LiechtensteinSpain
Finland LuxembourgSwitzerland
Greece Norway 
Hungary Poland 


Date of publication November 21, 2012

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