Schengen Travel Guide | Schengen Travel Insurance | Expatriate Group

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A Complete Guide to the Schengen Area

Everything you need to know about Schengen countries, Schengen travel insurance and obtaining a Schengen visa.

Schengen is the largest free-travel area in the world. It covers most European countries, 26 in total, and visitors can travel without restrictions and internal border control. It can be a little daunting at first, particularly if you are considering visiting more than one European country. To make things easier, our guide below will highlight all the key things you need to know so that you can enjoy Schengen like many others have.

What is the Schengen Agreement?

If we rewind back to 14th June 1985 the Schengen Agreement was signed. It is a treaty amongst many European countries who wanted to abolish their national borders and develop a Europe without restrictions on movement. The participating countries are known as the Schengen Area.

It is worth remembering that the Schengen Agreement and the European Union are not interlinked. Countries can be part of the European Union but not the Schengen Area, and vice versa.

What are the Schengen countries?

There are 26 member countries making up the Schengen Area. These are:

Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City also opened their borders but are not members of the Schengen Area.

The Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands are part of the Schengen Zone even though they are located outside of the European continent.

Do I need a Schengen visa to visit?

If you are a citizen of any of the countries listed below you do not need to obtain a Schengen visa in order to enter any member country.

Albania* Georgia Monaco Singapore
Andorra Grenada Montenegro* Solomon Islands
Antigua and Barbuda Guatemala Nauru South Korea
Argentina Holy See New Zealand Taiwan**
Australia Honduras Nicaragua Timor Leste
Bahamas Hong Kong S.A.R*** North Macedonia* Tonga
Barbados Israel Palau Trinidad and Tobago
Bosnia and Herzegovina* Japan Panama Tuvalu
Brazil Kiribati Paraguay Ukraine
Brunei Macao S.A.R**** Peru United Arab Emirates
Canada Malaysia Saint Kitts and Nevis United States of America
Chile Marshall Islands Saint Lucia Uruguay
Colombia Mauritius Saint Vincent Vanuatu
Costa Rica Mexico Samoa Venezuela
Dominica Micronesia Serbia*
El Salvador Moldova* Seychelles

*Citizens of these countries can only visit Schengen visa-free is they hold a biometic passport.

**Taiwanese passport holders can only visit Schengen visa-free of their passport contains an identity card number.

***Visa-free travel only applies to holders of a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport.

****Visa-free travel only applies to holder of a Região Administrativa Especial de Macau passport.

Citizens who will require a Schengen visa

The Schengen visa is a short stay visa and will be a sticker affixed to your travel document. The countries whose citizens do need to obtain a Schengen visa to enter any member country are listed below:

Afghanistan Gabon Oman
Algeria Gambia Pakistan
Angola Ghana Papua New Guinea
Armenia Guinea Palestinian Authority
Azerbaijan Guinea-Bissau Philippines
Bahrain Guyana Qatar
Bangladesh Haiti Russia
Belarus India Rwanda
Belize Indonesia Sao Tome And Principe
Benin Iran Saudi Arabia
Bhutan Iraq Senegal
Bolivia Jamaica Sierra Leone
Botswana Jordan Somalia
Burkina Faso Kazakhstan South Africa
Burma/Myanmar Kenya South Sudan
Burundi Kosovo Sri Lanka
Cambodia Kuwait Sudan
Cameroon Kyrgyzstan Suriname
Cape Verde Laos Swaziland
Central African Republic Lebanon Syria
Chad Lesotho Tajikistan
China Liberia Tanzania
Comoros Libya Thailand
Congo Madagascar Timor-Leste
Cote D’ivoire Malawi Togo
Cuba Maldives Tonga
Dem. Rep. Of Congo Mali Tunisia
Djibouti Mauritania Turkey
Dominican Republic Mongolia Turkmenistan
Ecuador Morocco Uganda
Egypt Mozambique Uzbekistan
Equatorial Guinea Namibia Vietnam
Eritrea Nepal Yemen
Ethiopia Niger Zambia
Fiji Nigeria Zimbabwe
North Korea Northern Mariana’s

Citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somali and Sri Lanka would also need to apply for an airport transit visa is they are changing flights at an airport in the Schengen Area.

How do I complete a Schengen visa application?

There are different types of Schengen visas, these include:

  • Transit visa
  • Tourism visa
  • Business visa
  • Visiting family and friends visa
  • Culture or sport activities visa
  • Official visits visa
  • Study visa
  • Medical reasons visa

You will need to have a Schengen visa for freedom of movement in the territory. How you apply for your visa will depend on the country you will be landing in. Typically, you can file for a Schengen visa at one of the following locations:

How long can I stay in the Schengen Area?

If you have the correct visa or come from a country where it is not required for travel, you can stay 90 days in any 180-day period within the Schengen Area. The day you arrive will be considered as the first day of your stay. The date you leave will be considered the last day of your stay in the Schengen territory.

Do I need Schengen travel insurance?

If you fall into a category which requires you to have a visa when visiting the Schengen Area you will need to have travel insurance in place, as dictated by EU law. Travel insurance is not compulsory for those who do not need a visa. However, it is advisable.

Where can I buy Schengen travel insurance?

With Expatriate Group you can select and purchase your travel insurance online. You will receive all your documents by email and, if you’re visiting an embassy, consulate, or visa centre, these can be presented to help you acquire your Schengen visa for your trip overseas. With over 100,000 unique customers in 182 different countries, you can rest assured your Expatriate Group travel insurance will be comprehensive and tailored to your needs.

Travelling, moving to, or working in another country overseas? Expatriate Group has been serving expats since 1997, providing International Healthcare Insurance, Travel Insurance, Life Insurance and Income Protection. No matter how long you’re overseas we will be able to deliver the protection you need.

Expatriate Group deliver international medical insurance to expats in 182 countries around the world. With 24 hour support and comprehensive protection.

Expatriate Group provides worldwide travel insurance for single and multi-trip travel to almost anywhere in the world.

Protect your family in the event of an accident with Expatriate Group’s comprehensive international life insurance.

Give yourself financial peace of mind by protecting your income with Expatriate Group’s income replacement insurance.

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