Home Residency in Schengen Schengen Area: How does it Work? (Visa, Residence Permit)

Schengen Area: How does it Work? (Visa, Residence Permit)

Schengen Area: Discover what is it, how to move and travel in one of the largest free movement of citizens area in the world

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Are you considering traveling or moving to the Schengen Area? In this video we will analyze what is the Schengen area, the advantages of it, and how you can live and travel freely in this European free movement area.

0:45 What is The Schengen Area

Before we explore the ways to get the most out of living and traveling in the Schengen area, we have to understand what the Schengen area is all about. 

Firstly, let’s do a bit of history. The name Schengen comes from a village in Luxembourg, called Schengen. There, in 1985, a number of European countries signed a treaty, called Schengen treaty. The goal of the Schengen Treaty was to enable free movement across Europe, which has been a concept since the Middle Ages. After the Second World War it was frequently discussed but not acted upon until the 1980s. 

The founding countries of the Schengen Treaty were France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The Schengen area has since then expanded, and now is comprised of 26 countries.

01:27 How does the Schengen Area Work?

Now that we know what the Schengen Area is, let’s understand how it works. The Schengen area is basically an area were border and passport controls are not enforced on its residents and visitors. 

If you are in the Schengen area legally, you can move freely between the member countries which are part of it. You will not need to do any formality after crossing a border if you are not staying in a given country for more than 90 days.

If you are a tourist in Europe for example, you can enter the Schengen area via Denmark, travel to Germany, Sweden and Norway, and exit the area. In normal circumstances you will just pass through two border controls, once in Denmark when you enter the Schengen area, and once in Norway, when you leave it.

02:15 Countries That Are Part of the Schengen Area

Now, let’s talk about the countries that are currently part of the Schengen area. Currently, there are 26 countries in the Schengen area. Here they are:

Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

As we can see, there are 26 countries in the Schengen area, but only 22 of them are part of the European Union. This, is where things can get tricky. You can check the map here.

02:22 Schengen Area and European Union

Not all European Union members are part of the Schengen Area. Romania is a EU member for example, but it is not a part of the Schengen area. If you cross the border from Hungary, which is another EU member, you need to show your passport when exiting Hungary and when Entering Romania.

Switzerland on the other hand is part of the Schengen area, but it is not part of the European Union, neither it is planning to join the bloc.

03:12 Who Can Travel Freely in Schengen Area

Now that we understood a little bit about the dynamics of the Schengen area, let’s analyze who can travel and stay in the Schengen states. And, in case you can’t, what can you do to become eligible to travel to the Schengen area.

Basically, there are three types of citizens, depending on their status that can travel to and move freely inside the Schengen Area.

Residents and Citizens of a Schengen Area country: the first category are the residents and citizens of a Schengen Area country. If you are a citizen of Belgium for example, you can travel to Portugal without any formality or border control. If you are not a citizen of Belgium but you live there, the same applies.
The second category are citizens of the visa waiver countries to the Schengen Area. Citizens of these countries can enter the Schengen area for up to 90 days in 180 days without a visa. Among these countries, we have the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine, Brazil and many others. 

Citizens which do not fall in the other 2 categories, but have a valid Schengen visa.

04:05 How to Move to the Schengen Area

Residence Permit in the Schengen Area

04:57 Schengen Visa 

Other Countries You Can Travel if You Have a Schengen Visa

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