If you are a from a country that is outside of the Schengen Area, it is crucial that you have a clear understanding about these places in Europe if you are planning to visit.

For starters, what is the Schengen Area?

The Schengen Area is a zone that includes 26 European countries. These countries have eliminated their internal borders to allow people free and unrestricted movement. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, then you can visit and live in any other place within Schengen. You do not have to worry about needing a visa, ever.

What if you’re a citizen of a non-Schengen country?

You will need a Schengen Visa if you want to travel through Europe easily. If you have a powerful passport, you may make the list of being visa-exempt - meaning that you can enter by having only your passport rather than a physical visa.

Countries who must apply for a Schengen Visa:

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burma/Myanmar
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Cote D’ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kosova
  • Kuwait
  • Krygyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana’s
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia

  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Countries who are visa-exempt and can enter with their passport only:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Antiqua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica

  • El Salvador
  • Georgia
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong S.A.R.
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Macao S.A.R.
  • Macedonia
  • Malaysia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco

  • Montenegro
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Romania
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands

  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Timor Leste
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela

Schengen Area Requirements

With a Schengen visa and for those who are exempt, you are allowed 90 days of entry in a 180 day period. This rule even applies to those who hold a multiple-entry visa that is valid for up to 5 years. For example, you can enter Sweden, stay for 70 days, then spend your remaining 20 days traveling through Denmark, Germany, Austria and Italy. On your 90th day, you absolutely must leave the Schengen Area.

Because you are allowed 90 days within a 180 day period, you can switch things up a bit. Using the same example, after staying in Sweden for 70 days, you can then leave the Schengen Area completely and visit again in two months. When you return in two months, you will still only be allowed 20 days from your previous visit.

Your 90 day allowance is reset 180 days after your first day of entry into a Schengen country. So, if you visit Italy in four months after your initial 70 day stay in Sweden, you will then be allowed a reset 90 days.

A general rule of thumb people follow is to consecutively stay 90 days in, 90 days out. This is the easiest method to keep track of where you have been and for how long you stayed there.

European Countries within the Schengen Area:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France

  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein

  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal

  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

European Countries that are Non-Schengen Area:

  • Albania
  • Andora
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina

  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Georgia
  • Ireland
  • Kosovo
  • Macedonia

  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Serbia

  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Vatican City

What happens if you overstay your days in the Schengen Area?

Overstaying your welcome never goes unnoticed and before you even read the consequences, just know that you should not ever consider doing so. The ability to travel is a privilege and you should never abuse it. Not even for one extra day.

Whether your overstay is intentional or a complete accident, you may be punished with a fine, immediate deportation, or even banned from entering the Schengen Area for a certain amount of time.

This will cause problems for the future when you want to enter Schengen. Immigration officers are aware of who has overstayed in the past and you will encounter difficulties when applying for a Schengen visa or entering countries if you are visa-exempt.

Is there a way to stay longer than 90 days in the Schengen Area?

Bilateral agreements do exist for certain countries. However, they can be quite complicated. It’s best to contact an embassy for a thorough explanation and verification of the amount of time that you are allowed in these countries. Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America are known to have bilateral agreements with some Schengen countries such as Norway, Denmark, Germany and Poland.

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