The Schengen zone is a territory of 26 European countries. It consists of 22 European Union member states and four other countries that are part of the European Free Trade Association, which are Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein. All these countries signed a document named Schengen Agreement.
The regulations of this original agreement aimed to abolish any and all border checks at common borders that were shared among various countries, to reduce speed vehicle checks and allow residents who lived in border areas to cross the borders at places far away from designated checkpoints. Visa policies would also be aligned under the agreement.
List of Schengen Countries
• 22 members fully implement the Schengen acquis,
• Four of them – members of the EFTA, implement Schengen acquis through specific agreements related to the Schengen agreement.
• Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are associate members of the Schengen Area but are not members of the EU.
• Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City have opened their borders with, but are not members of the visa free zone.
• The Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands are special members of the EU and part of the Schengen Zone even that they are located outside the European continent.
• There are five more EU members, that have not joined Schengen zone: Ireland – that still maintains opt-outs and Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus – that are seeking to join soon.
You should not confuse Schengen Area and EU, there are some countries belongs to EU but not belong to Schengen Zone and vice versa.
Schengen Area Border Policy
Do you know the rules of Schengen Agreement? Let’s check out these sharing regulation of the Schengen countries.
The important features of the Schengen Area which are based on the destruction of borders between the European member countries are as follows:
• The member countries do not carry out border checks at their internal borders and also carry out harmonized controls, based on clearly defined and jointly agreed with criteria at their external borders.
• A citizen passing from one Schengen country to another Schengen country does not need to undergo border checks, which means he or she does not have to show a traveling document at the borders.
• However, an identification document (ID or passport) is necessary at ports and airports.
• The Schengen member states are obligated to remove all obstacles in order to enable a fluid flow of the road traffic.
• Police checks may be carried out only with the purpose to prevent possible threats to public security.
• Within the area, there is an increased police operation, in particular through hot pursuit, cross-border surveillance, as well as the establishment of joint police centers and teams.
• Also, the Schengen member countries have common rules for the non-Schengen countries’ citizens applying to cross the EU’s external border, including common asylum policies.
List of Schengen countries that have low rate of rejection for visa
There are many people apply for visa at the embassy/ consulate especially for travel throughout the Schengen Area. The more people apply for Schengen visa, the lower chance for your visa is accepted. However, there are some countries that have the lowest rate of visa rejection, as well as shorter waiting times and a higher chance of receiving a long-term visa, as opposed to permission for short-term travel. These countries include:
• The Czech Republic