Ireland and the United Kingdom opt-out from the EU's visa policy and instead operate their own separate visa policies, as do certain oversea territories of EU and EEA member states.
European Union citizens, European Economic Area nationals and Swiss citizens are not only visa-exempt but are legally entitled to enter and reside in each other's countries. Their right to the freedom of movement in each other's countries can, however, be limited in a small number of situations.
If EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are unable to present a valid passport or national identity card at the border, they must nonetheless be afforded every reasonable opportunity to obtain the necessary documents or have them brought to them within a reasonable period of time or corroborate or prove by other means that he/she is covered by the right of free movement.
However, EU, EEA member states and Switzerland can refuse entry to an EU/EEA/Swiss national on public policy, public security or public health grounds where the person presents a "genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society". If the person has obtained permanent residence in the country where he/she seeks entry (a status which is normally attained after 5 years of residence), the member state can only expel him/her on serious grounds of public policy or public security. Where the person has resided for 10 years or is a minor, the member state can only expel him/her on imperative grounds of public security (and, in the case of minors, if expulsion is necessary in the best interests of the child, as provided for in the Convention on the Rights of the Child). Expulsion on public health grounds must relate to diseases with 'epidemic potential' which have occurred less than 3 months from the person's the date of arrival in the Member State where he/she seeks entry.
Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen Family members
A family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen who is in possession of a residence permit indicating their status is exempt from the requirement to hold a visa when entering the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland when they are accompanying their EU/EEA/Swiss family member or are seeking to join them. However the UK requires family members to obtain a special permit in order to enter the United Kingdom. Non-EU family members will need a Schengen Visa before they travel to Switzerland even if they possess a UK residence permit that clearly mentions that they are the family member of an EEA Citizen.
Other EU members outside Schengen Area but bound by same visa policy and special territories of the EU and Schengen member states
Parts of the EU with an independent visa policy
Visa-free access to the Schengen states for 90 days in any 180 day period, although some Annex II nationals can enjoy longer visa-free access in some circumstances (EC 539/2001 Annex II)
Visa required to enter the Schengen states (EC 539/2001 Annex I)
Visa required for transit via the Schengen states (EC 810/2009 Annex IV)
Visa status unknown
Starting from 2001, the European Union issues two lists regarding visas for the Schengen Area: a white list of countries whose nationals do not require visas (Annex II) and a black list of countries whose nationals do require visas (Annex I). The two lists are also adopted by Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, even though the four countries are not yet part of the Schengen Area.
If EU, EEA and Swiss nationals are unable to present a valid passport or national identity card at the border, they must nonetheless be afforded every reasonable opportunity to obtain the necessary documents or have them brought to them within a reasonable period of time or corroborate or prove by other means that he/she is covered by the right of free movement.
Family members of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens
An individual can enter the Schengen Area as a whole for up to 90 days without a visa if he/she:
is travelling together with or joining an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen family member.
A family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen satisfying the above conditions can also enter Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania and stay for up to 90 days in each country.
In theory, a family member of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen who does not fulfil the above conditions does not have to apply for a visa in advance, and can instead obtain a visa on arrival at the border checkpoint of a Schengen country, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania by presenting evidence of the familial relationship.
Citizens of 'Annex II' countries and territories
Citizens of the following 41 countries and territories holding ordinary passports:
The above Annex II nationals can also enter Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania without a visa for a maximum of 90 days in a 180 day period in each of these countries. The visa-free time restrictions for each of these countries is calculated separately (as well as being separate to the Schengen Area visa-free time restriction).
Although all Annex II nationals can enter Schengen countries, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania visa-free for pleasure or for business, individual countries can decide to impose a visa requirement on those who wish to enter to work (i.e. to carry out a 'paid activity'). The table at the end of the article indicates which individual countries permit Annex II nationals to work during their visa-free stay.
To be able to enter the Schengen Area/Bulgaria/Croatia/Cyprus/Romania without a visa, the above Annex II nationals are required to have a travel document which is valid for at least 3 months after the intended date of departure and which has been issued in the previous 10 years, have sufficient funds for their stay and onward/return journey, justify the purpose and conditions of their stay, not be listed in the Schengen Information System as someone to be refused entry and not be considered as a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of any Schengen country.
School pupils resident in the EU, EEA and Switzerland
A school pupil who is not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, but who legally resides in the EU, EEA or Switzerland, can enter the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and/or Romania without a visa for a short stay or transit if:
he/she is travelling as a member of a group of school pupils from a general education school, and
the group is accompanied by a teacher from the school, and
the teacher can present a 'List of Travellers' form identifying the pupils on the trip, the purpose and circumstances of the intended stay/transit.
Even though a school pupil fulfilling all of the above conditions is exempt from having to obtain a visa to enter the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Cyprus and/or Romania, he/she is nonetheless required to have a valid travel document. However, he/she is exempt from having to carry a valid travel document if:
a photograph of him/her is included in the 'List of Travellers' form, and
the responsible authority in the member state where he/she resides endorses the 'List of Travellers' form to confirm his/her residence status and his/her right to re-entry.
School pupils resident in Annex II countries and territories
School pupils travelling in the context of a school excursion as members of a group of school pupils accompanied by a teacher from the school in question who reside in an Annex II country/territory, but hold the nationality of an Annex I country/territory, are granted visa-free entry to Cyprus (a national collective visa is required), Germany, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden (under 18), but not other Schengen countries.
Note that school pupils (of any nationality and resident in any country) who require a visa for the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Cyprus and/or Romania and who are visiting for the purpose of study and/or educational training are waived the visa application fee (but are still required to submit the relevant supporting documents).
Refugees and stateless persons resident in Annex II countries and territories
Schengen countries are authorised by virtue of the EU regulation no 1931/2006 to conclude bilateral agreements with neighbouring third countries to introduce a local border traffic permit scheme. Such permits are a type of multiple-entry visa in the form of a passport sticker or a card containing the holder's name and photo, as well as a statement that its holder is not authorised to move outside the border area and that any abuse shall be subject to penalties. The border area may include any administrative district within 30 kilometres from the external border (and, if any district extends beyond that limit, the whole district up to 50 kilometres from the border). The applicant for the permit has to show legitimate reasons to frequently cross an external land border under the local border traffic regime. The validity of the permit can be up to five years.
Holders of local border traffic permits are able to spend up to 3 months every time they enter the border area of the Schengen country which has issued the permit (this time limit is far more generous than the '90 days in a 180 day period' normally granted to third-country nationals visiting the Schengen Area).
A local border traffic permit scheme has been implemented in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia for Ukrainian citizens, is being implemented or negotiated in Poland and Lithuania regarding Belarus and the Kaliningrad area, and has also been implemented in a 30 km border zone between Norway and Russia in 2012. See Schengen Area#Local border traffic at external borders.
The is also a tendency of especially Finland to allow more and more one-year multiple-entry visas to Russians. There are plans in EU to allow up to 5 year validity on multiple-entry visas for Russians, partly to relieve work load at embassies.
Obtaining a visa
If a traveller cannot benefit from one of the visa exemptions listed above, he or she must take the following steps to obtain a Schengen visa:
He or she must first identify which Schengen country is the main destination. This determines the State responsible for deciding on the Schengen visa application and therefore the embassy, high commission or the consulate where the traveller will have to lodge the application. If the main destination cannot be determined, the traveller should file the visa application at the embassy, high commission or consulate of the Schengen country of first entry. If the Schengen State of the main destination or first entry does not have a diplomatic mission or consular post in his country (or consular district), the traveller must contact the embassy or the consulate of another Schengen country, normally located in the traveller's country (or consular district), which represents, for the purpose of issuing Schengen visas, the country of the main destination or first entry.
Some Schengen member state embassies, high commissions and consulates require visa applicants to obtain an appointment in advance.
In certain countries, the embassy, high commission or the consulate where the traveller has to lodge his or her visa application may have appointed an external service provider (e.g. VFS Global) to collect and return visa applications. Often, the external service provider will collect an additional service charge on top of the Schengen visa application fee. However, if an embassy, high commission or consulate of a Schengen member state decides to appoint an external service provider, it is obliged to retain the option for visa applicants to continue to lodge applications directly at the embassy/high commission/consulate rather than through the external service provider. According to instructions from the European Commission, visa applicants must have a 'genuine choice' between using an external service provider and applying directly at the relevant Schengen member state embassy/high commission/consulate. Specifically, this means that the waiting time to obtain an appointment directly at the embassy/high commission/consulate must not be so long in comparison with the waiting time to obtain an appointment through the external service provider so as to render direct access to the embassy/high commission/consulate 'impossible in practice'. In addition, visa applicants must be clearly told by both the embassy/high commission/consulate and the external service provider that they have the choice either to apply directly at the embassy/high commission/consulate or to use the external service provider, as well as the fact (if applicable) that the external service provider charges an additional service fee.
The traveller must then present the Schengen visa application to the responsible embassy, high commission or consulate (or its appointed external service provider). The application cannot be submitted more than three months before the date he or she intends to enter the Schengen Area. An application form is to be submitted (all Schengen countries issue Schengen visa application forms in a harmonised, uniform format in a variety of languages), together with a valid passport/travel document and, if necessary, the documents supporting the purpose and conditions of the stay in the Schengen Area (aim of the visit, duration of the stay, lodging). The traveller will also have to prove his or her means of subsistence, i.e., the funds available to cover, on the one hand, the expenses of the stay, taking into account its duration and the destination, and, on the other hand, the cost of the return to the home country. Certain embassies or consulates sometimes call the applicant to appear in person in order to explain verbally the reasons for the visa application.
Some embassies, high commissions and consulates may require applicants to provide biometric identifiers (typically fingerprints and a digital photograph) as part of the visa application process to be stored on the Visa Information System (VIS). Biometric identifiers are not collected from children under the age of 12.
Finally, the traveller must have travel insurance that covers, for a minimum of €30,000, any expenses incurred as a result of emergency medical treatment or repatriation for health reasons. The proof of the travel insurance must in principle be provided at the end of the procedure, i.e. when the decision to grant the Schengen visa has already been made.
If the visa application is 'admissible' (i.e. it has been submitted to the embassy/high commission/consulate of the correct Schengen member state), a decision must be given within 15 calendar days of the date on which the application was lodged. Where further scrutiny of the application is required or where the embassy/high commission/consulate receiving the application is representing another Member State, the decision must be given within 30 calendar days of the date on which the application was lodged. Exceptionally, where additional documentation is required, the decision must be given within 60 calendar days of the date on which the application was lodged.
It is possible, exceptionally, to obtain a single-entry Schengen visa valid for up to 15 days on arrival at the border if the individual can prove that he/she was unable to apply for a visa in advance due to time constraints arising out of 'unforeseeable' and 'imperative' reasons as long as he/she fulfils the regular criteria for the issuing of a Schengen visa. However, if the individual requesting a Schengen visa at the border falls within a category of people for which it is necessary to consult one or more of the central authorities of other Schengen States, he/she may only be issued a visa at the border in exceptional cases on humanitarian grounds, on grounds of national interest or on account of international obligations (such as the death or sudden serious illness of a close relative or of another close person). In 2011, over 106,000 Schengen visas were issued to travellers on arrival at the border.
The fee for a Schengen visa application is set at €60. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 (inclusive) pay a visa fee of €35, as do Georgian, Russian and Ukrainian passport holders. Children under the age of 6, students and teachers undertaking a stay for the purpose of study or educational training, certain scientific researchers and representatives aged 25 or under of non-profit organisations attending events organised by non-profit organisations have their visa fee completely waived. If the visa fee is being charged in the local currency (rather than in Euros), the Schengen member state embassy/high commission/consulate should review the exchange rate used at least every two weeks.
Consular staff, external service providers' staff and border guards are not permitted to discriminate against visa applicants on the basis of their race, sex, ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
A Schengen visa is only valid for the Schengen Area. For individuals who require a visa for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and/or Romania, a separate Bulgarian/Croatian/Cypriot/Romanian visa has to be obtained. Note that holders of a Schengen visa can enter Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania for up to 90 days in a 180 day period during the validity of their Schengen visa without having to apply for Bulgarian, Croatian and/or Romanian visas. However, holders of Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot or Romanian visas need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter the Schengen Area. Bulgaria additionally recognizes short stay and transit visas issued by Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.
A different procedure applies to long-stay visas issued by Schengen countries, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania for stays of more than 3 months (see below).
In addition, the following entities are not recognised as sovereign states by any Schengen country, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania. As such, passports issued by them are not recognised as valid travel documents by any Schengen country, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania, and visas will not be attached to such passports.
These agreements are linked to readmission agreements that allow the return of people irregularly residing in the EU.
Visas with limited territorial validity
In exceptional cases, member states may issue visas with limited territorial validity (LTV) instead of a Schengen visa. A LTV visa may either specifically name member state(s) for which it is valid or, inversely, specifically name member state(s) for which it is not valid. Holders of LTV visas are only permitted to transit via, travel to, and circulate within the territories of, member states for which it is valid.
Schengen visa code that member states may issue LTV visas:
when a consulate deems it justifiable to overcome the three-month limitation in six months;
or when a member state considers it necessary due to pressing circumstances to derogate from entry conditions as set by Schengen Border code, or to overcome objections of other member states, or in cases of urgency.
Despite the fact that LTV visas may be issued in exceptional cases only, some member state abuse the facility. For instance, the Spanish Embassy in Russia occasionally issues LTV visas to tourists.
However, on 5 April 2010, common visa requirements for airport transit were introduced by the European Union. At present, citizens of the following 12 countries are required to hold an airport transit visa (ATV) when transiting through any airport in the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Cyprus or Romania, even if they remain airside:
However, citizens of the above 12 countries are exempt from airport transit visas if they:
hold a Schengen visa, a national long-stay visa or a residence permit issued by an EU member state,
hold certain residence permits issued by Andorra, Canada, Japan, San Marino or the United States guaranteeing the holder's unconditional readmission to that country,
hold a valid visa for an EU member state or for a member of the European Economic Area Agreement, Canada, Japan or the United States of America, or when they return from those countries after having used the visa,
Additionally, individual Schengen countries can impose airport transit visa requirements for nationals of other countries in urgent cases of mass influx of illegal immigrants. Eleven countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Poland, Malta, Romania, Slovenia, and Sweden) currently do not use this provision and have no additional requirements. As Liechtenstein has indicated not to accept flights originating outside the Schengen Area, airport transit visa requirements are not relevant there. Airport transit visa requirements are not relevant in Norway because no airport in the country has international airside transit facility. The other Schengen countries require airport transit visas for nationals from up to 23 (in the case of France) additional countries (See the table below).
Additional nationalities that are subject to the airport transit visa requirement in some Schengen countries
Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Congo (Republic), Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guinea, Haiti, India, Ivory Coast, Mali, Russia,[Note 9] Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Togo, as well as holders of Palestinian refugee travel documents
Unlike the common Schengen rules for ordinary passports there are no common black,[Note 10] white[Note 11] and transit[Note 12] lists for holders of diplomatic, service and other official passports and each state has different policy on these.
Visa-waiver exclusively for diplomatic, official and service passports by member state:
Austria: Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Egypt, Jamaica, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Belize, Georgia, Russia, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Ukraine and Vatican City.
Belgium: Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malawi, Maldives, Morocco, Peru, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Chad, Georgia, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal and Ukraine.
Czech Republic: Bolivia, Colombia, Egypt, Laos, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Georgia, Mongolia, Russia, Vietnam, Ukraine and Yemen.
Denmark: Bolivia, Egypt, India, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Thailand, Turkey and only diplomatic passports of Kazakhstan, Peru, Russia, Tunisia and Ukraine.
Estonia: Bolivia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Turkey and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Thailand, Tunisia and Ukraine.
Finland: Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Tunisia and Ukraine.
France: Angola, Bahrain, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Gabon, Israel, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Qatar, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and only diplomatic passports of Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Republic of the Congo, Georgia, India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Germany: Bolivia, Chad, Colombia, Ghana, Philippines and Thailand, Turkey and only diplomatic passports of Algeria, Armenia, Georgia, India, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Tunisia, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Greece: Algeria, Bolivia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia and Ukraine.
Hungary: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cambodia, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kuwait, Laos, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Vietnam and only diplomatic passports of Egypt and Yemen.
Italy: Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Gambia, Kuwait, Lesotho, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Swaziland, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Mozambique, Russia, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Latvia: Armenia, Georgia, Peru, Turkey, Ukraine and only diplomatic passports of Russia.
Lithuania: China, Oman, Turkey, Ukraine and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Morocco and Russia.
Luxembourg: Bolivia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Jamaica,Malawi, Morocco, Peru, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Chad, Georgia, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal and Ukraine.
Malta: Algeria, China, Colombia, Egypt, Kuwait, Libya, South Africa, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey and only diplomatic passports of Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Belize, Cambodia, Cuba, Ecuador, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen and Zambia.
Netherlands: Bolivia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malawi, Morocco, Peru, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Chad, Georgia, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Ukraine.
Poland: Benin, China, Ecuador, Laos, Mongolia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Peru, South Africa, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
Portugal: Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait, Mozambique, Peru, Qatar, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Senegal, Ukraine.
Slovakia: Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Georgia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Morocco, North Korea, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen.
Slovenia: Bolivia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Vietnam, Turkey and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Georgia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Russia, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Ukraine.
Spain: Algeria, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Sweden: Bolivia, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and only diplomatic passports of Armenia, Georgia, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia and Ukraine.
Bulgaria: Azerbaijan, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mongolia, North Korea, Peru, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Vietnam and only diplomatic passports of Armenia and Georgia.
Croatia: Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Qatar, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam.
Cyprus: Armenia, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mongolia, Russia, Syria, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and only diplomatic passports of Qatar.
Romania: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tajikstan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Vietnam, Zambia and only diplomatic passports of Algeria, India, Jordan, Palestine and Uzbekistan.
Despite the fact that visas are not required for ordinary passport holders visa is required for Australian diplomatic and service/official passport holders by Bulgaria and Cyprus, for Israeli diplomatic and service/official passport holders by Cyprus, for Mexican diplomatic and service/official passport holders by Cyprus and Iceland and for the United Stated diplomatic and service/official passport holders by Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, France and Cyprus.
Recent Changes (2009-2014)
Changes to the entries on Annex I (list of visa nationals) and Annex II (list of visa-exempt nationals) are regularly considered by the Council of the European Union based on advice from the individual member states. The Council then proposes draft legislation which has to be approved by the European Parliament.
The Balkan countries of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia were added to Annex II on 19 December 2009, from which point on their citizens can enter the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania without a visa when travelling with biometric passports.
On 25 November 2010, the Council of the European Union decided to approve visa-free travel for holders of Taiwan passports that contain an identity card number (indicating the right of abode in Taiwan).[Note 6][Note 7] Visa requirements were dropped on 11 January 2011. The same legislation removed the entry of the Northern Mariana Islands from the visa list as there is no Northern Mariana Islands citizenship and those with a citizenship connection to the island have United States citizenship.
On 24 January 2011, Moldova officially received an action plan on visa liberalization from the EU's Internal Affairs Commissioner. In October 2013, the Commission proposed that visa requirements for short term visits be abolished for Moldovan citizens holding biometric passports. On 27 February 2014, the European Parliament approved visa-free travel for Moldovan citizens. The Council gave their consent on 3 April, allowing visa-free travel from 28 April 2014.
On 22 November 2010, the European Council and Ukraine announced "an action plan for Ukraine toward the establishment of a visa-free regime for short-stay travel". On 15 December 2011, in a statement given after an EU-Russia summit, the President of the European Commission confirmed the launch of "Common Steps towards visa-free travel" with Russia. On 14 June 2012, Kosovo received a roadmap for visa liberalisation with the EU. An action plan on visa liberalisation with Georgia was launched on 25 February 2013. In December 2013, after signing a readmission agreement, the EU started a visa dialogue with Turkey including a "Roadmap towards the visa-free regime".
Some countries, including Sweden and Germany, suggested in late 2012 that visas should be reintroduced for Serbian and Macedonian citizens due to the significant increase in the number of applications for asylum from these countries, predominantly by Romani.
Currently the European Union intends to introduce a mutual visa-free regime with the following countries, in 2014-2015:
The EU plans to establish a Registered Traveller Programme that would allow pre-screened travellers easier access. In 2013 the EU also adopted a proposal for establishment of an Entry/Exit System that would make it possible to identify overstayers.
A clickable Euler diagram showing the relationships between various multinational European organisations and agreements.v • d • e
As per Regulation No 1289/2013 reciprocity is required from all Annex II countries and territories. That means that these countries must offer visa-free access for 90 days to all EU citizens and to the citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. When this is not the case, the affected EU or Schengen member state is expected to notify the European Commission. Starting six months after the notification, the Commission may adopt an implementing act to suspend the visa-free regime for certain categories of nationals of the third country concerned, for a period of up to six months, with a possible prolongation by further periods of up to six months. If the Commission decides not to adopt such an act, it has to present a report explaining the reasons why it did not propose the measure. If after two years from the notification the third country is still requiring visas from citizens of one or more Member States, the Commission shall adopt a delegated act to re-impose the visa obligation on all citizens of the third country, for a period of 12 months. Either the European Parliament or the Council could oppose the entry into force of the delegated acts. All of the states that implement the common visa rules - including Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Switzerland - may notify the European Commission about non-compliant third states.
According to notifications concerning visa reciprocity issued by Member States in February 2014, the following countries are still not implementing it fully:
Australia: Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania notified the Commission that Australia requires a visa for their citizens.
Brunei: Brunei maintains a visa requirement for Croatian nationals.
Canada: Bulgarian and Romanian citizens are still required to apply for visas to enter Canada.
Japan: Most EU citizens enjoy visa-free access to Japan. For Romanian citizens a first temporary waiver was enacted in 2009 and an extension of the waiver is in effect until 31 December 2015. Additionally, Romanian citizens in possession of temporary passports are not able to enter Japan without a visa.
United States: Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot, Polish and Romanian citizens are still required to apply for a visa to enter the US.
In its last report, the Commission also committed to assessing certain provisions of the US ESTA system — such as the application fee — and the Australian eVisitor system.
For stays in the Schengen Area as a whole which exceed 90 days, as a general rule, a third country national (i.e. a non-EU, EEA or Swiss national) will need to hold either a long-stay visa for a period of no longer than a year or a residence permit for longer periods. Similarly, a third-country national who wishes to stay for more than 90 days in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania will be required to hold a long-stay visa or a residence permit.
Although long-stay visas issued by Schengen countries, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania have the same uniform design, as a national visa, in general, the procedures and conditions for issue are determined by each individual country. Therefore, for example, whilst some Schengen countries (such as France) require applications for long-stay visas to be made in the applicant's home country, other Schengen countries permit applicants to lodge their applications after arrival. Some countries, such as Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Switzerland offer a hybrid regime, whereby third-country nationals are required to apply for long-stay visas in their home country, with the exception of a few nationalities who are permitted to apply for a residence permit directly upon arrival without having first to obtain a long-stay visa. For example, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Switzerland allow New Zealand citizens to apply for a residence permit upon arrival without having to apply for a long-stay visa in advance, but not South African citizens.
However, in some situations, the procedures and conditions for the issue of long-stay visas have been harmonised among all Schengen member states, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. For example, Council Directive 2004/114 has harmonised the conditions of admission of third country nationals wishing to study in a Schengen member state, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania. Consequently, following the deadline for the implementation of the Directive (i.e. 12 January 2007), all Schengen member states (as well as Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Romania) are obliged to apply the same criteria in dealing with applications from third country nationals who wish to be admitted to their territory in order to study (namely that the applicant must have a valid travel document covering the duration of the stay, parental authorisation (if a minor), sickness insurance, not be regarded as a threat to public policy, security or health, and payment of the relevant fee).
Long-stay visas issued by a Schengen country entitle the holder to enter the Schengen Area and remain in the territory of the issuing state for a period longer than 90 days, but no more than one year. If a Schengen state wishes to allow the holder of a long-stay visa remain there for longer than a year, the state must issue him or her with a residence permit.
The holder of a long-stay visa or a residence permit issued by a Schengen country is entitled to move freely within the other states which comprise the Schengen Area for a period of up to 90 days in any 180 days. Third-country nationals who are long-term residents in a Schengen state may also acquire the right to move to and settle in another Schengen state without losing their legal status and social benefits.
In addition to general requirements, EU member states set entry conditions to foreign (outside EEA) nationals called the "reference amounts required for the crossing of the external border fixed by national authorities" regarding means of subsistence during their stay.
EUR 269,60 (EUR 212,81 per person for groups of two and more) fixed sum for stays up to 5 days; 6–10 days EUR 44,93 (26,33) per day; 11–20 days 51,64 (25,82) + 36.67 (22,21) per day; 20+ days EUR 206,58 (118,79) + 27,89 (17,04) per day.
Countries applying to join the European Union are obliged to adopt the EU's visa policy no later than three months before they formally join the Union. Schengen countries grant visa-free access for all European Union candidate and applicant states except Turkey.Macedonia grants 90 day visa-free entry to all Schengen Annex II nationalities, with some additions, while Montenegro and Serbia still require visas from some Annex II nationalities while having visa-free agreements with some additional countries. In addition to requiring visas from some Annex II countries, Turkey still requires visas from some Schengen states, although these can often be obtained on arrival.Albania allows citizens of all countries who do not require a Schengen visa to enter Albania due to their visa liberalization with Schengen area.
Visa-free stays involving paid activity in the Schengen Area
Below is a table of Schengen countries which permit nationals of Annex II countries and territories to enter the country on a 90 day visa-free period of stay with the intention of working in the country during that period. Nonetheless, some Schengen countries which permit certain Annex II nationals to work during their visa-free stay may still require them to obtain a work permit (either in advance or on arrival).
Working holiday visa (a type of visa issued by many EU member states to young people from foreign countries to undertake employment (and sometimes study) for the purpose of supplementing their travel funds)
^ abcThe visa waivers granted by the European Union, the United Kingdom and Ireland to Taiwan passport holders have not altered the European Union member states' non-recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign country. For this reason, Taiwan is listed in Annex II by the European Commission under the heading "entities and territorial authorities that are not recognised as states by at least one member state", by Bulgaria as "China, Taipei" (mfa.bg) and by Romania under the heading "Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China"(mae.ro).
^Fantasy passports are either "Passports" issued by minorities, sects and population groups; or identity documents, etc., issued by private organisations and individuals. Camouflage passports are passports issued in the name of former States no longer in existence.
^An airport transit visa is only required for Russians when transiting through a French airport having arrived from an airport in Armenia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Moldova, Turkey, or Ukraine.
^Black list of passport types where a visa is required for entry, corresponding to Annex I of Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001.
^White list of passport types whose bearers can enter the Schengen area without a visa, corresponding to Annex II of Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001.
^Transit list of passport types where a visa is required not only for entry, but also for airport transit, corresponding to Annex IV of Council regulation No. 810/2009.
^Strictly speaking, full reciprocity has not been achieved with Israel as German citizens born before 1 January 1928 need a visa for Israel. The German government, however, has apparently avoided to report this fact to the European Commission.
^The entry Mariana Islands has been removed from the "visa required" list on 11 January 2011. As there is no Northern Mariana Islands citizenship in contrast to the United States citizenship, this entry produced no effects.
^ abcdefgEuropean Union visa waiver agreement concluded with the state (as opposed to bilateral agreements between some member state and third countries). Ratification is completed for Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Mauritius and the Seychelles as per the EU treaty database. Provisional application pending ratification is carried out with St Kitts and Nevis with ratification of this country still outstanding.
^"護照條例施行細則", Laws & Regulations Database of The Republic of China, Taipei: Ministry of Justice, 29 June 2011, retrieved 21 December 2011. English translation available from the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
^ abcArticle 1(5)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 610/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code), the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, Council Regulations (EC) No 1683/95 and (EC) No 539/2001 and Regulations (EC) No 767/2008 and (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 182, 29 June 2013, p. 1. Prior to Regulation (EU) No 610/2013, in response to an Ad-hoc Query by the European Migration Network), the national agencies responsible for border control in 9 Member States confirmed that Annex II nationals holding residence permits or long-stay visas would be entitled to stay for a further period of three months without a visa upon the expiration of the residence permit/long-stay visa. However, following the entry in force of Article 1(5)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 610/2013 on 18 October 2013, all Annex II nationals holding residence permits or long-stay visas issued by a Schengen member state are entitled automatically to stay for a further period of three months without a visa upon the expiration of the residence permit/long-stay visa (the conditions of a visa-free stay would apply to this period of three months after the expiration of the residence permit/long-stay visa, rather than the conditions of stay associated with the residence permit/long-stay visa).
^Note that, additionally, the old method of calculating the length of the visa-free stay (i.e. 3 months within 6 months instead of 90 days in any 180 day period) still applies to citizens of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay in the Czech Republic.
^Judgement of the European Court of Justice of 21 March 2013, Case C‑254/11, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg Megyei Rendőrkapitányság Záhony Határrendészeti Kirendeltsége v Oskar Shomodi: Judgement & Press release
^Regulation (EU) No 1289/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (OJ L 347, 20/12/2013, p. 74–80).
^The details of the procedure are set out in Articles 1(4) of Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 as amended by Regulation (EU) No 1289/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013(OJ L 347, 20/12/2013, p. 74–80).
^Council Directive 2004/114/EC of 13 December 2004 on the conditions of admission of third-country nationals for the purposes of studies, pupil exchange, unremunerated training or voluntary service (L 375/12, 23 December 2004)
^Report from the Commisison to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of Directive 2004/114/EC ()
^Regulation (EU) No 265/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 March 2010 amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a long-stay visa (OJ L 85, 31 March 2010, p. 1)
^Decree No 25/2001. (XI. 21.) of the Minister of Interior
^Regulation of the Minister for Internal Affairs and Administration of 22 December 2008 on the means of subsistence that an alien entering the territory of the Republic of Poland should possess and on the documentation confirming the ability to access such means (Journal of Laws 2008, No 235, item 1611)
^Article 4 of the Act No 48/2002 Coll. on Stay of Aliens and on amendment of certain acts as amended
^Instructions on refusing entry to aliens , conditions for issuing visas at border crossings, conditions for issuing visas for humanitarian reasons and procedure for revoking visas (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 2/01)
^Order of the Ministry of the Presidency (PRE/1282/2007)