The Shengen Boarders Agreement

Jim from Castle Orbieto
Jim from Castle Orbieto

If you are like me and enjoy traveling for extended periods of time, especially in and around The European countries then it is essential that you are aware of the Shengen Boarders Agreement.

The original document was signed into existence on June 14, 1985. In it’s current form it includes travel rules/restrictions for 26 European Countries.

It essentially means that unless you are a resident of one of these 26 member states that you are permitted entry into and travel around the Shengen area for a period of up to 90 days. You must then leave the Shengen area for another 90 days before re-entering the area.

I had no idea that such a thing even existed until I planned a trip for three months to Greece. Then a notation appeared on my airline travel plans such that I needed to be out of Europe before or at that 90 day mark.

If you are wanting to be able to travel in the European Union for more than just 90 days you must apply for an extended Visa. And you should be aware that an application doesn’t mean an automatic approval.

The current member states in the European Union include:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • German
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands (excluding Aruba, Curacao, St. Martin and the Caribbean Netherlands)
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

These four are not currently a part of the European Union and countries where you can spend more time if you chose.

  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Romania

While included in the EU at this time The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland maintain Opt-Outs. As the United Kingdom has chosen Brexit many things including boarder controls are set to change when that comes to fruition.

Be aware that if you exceed the 90 day restriction either purposefully and/or accidentally that there is a steep fine and deportation. And from all that I have read about it most boarder control people DO check the dates that have been stamped into your passport.


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