Schengen Area facts for kids

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Schengen Area
The Schengen Area
Map of Europe
     Member states     Countries de facto participating     Members of the EU legally obliged to join the Schengen area, but not yet members
Policy of  European Union
Type Open borders area
Established 1995
Area 4,312,099 km2 (1,664,911 sq mi)
Population 419,392,429
Density 97/km2
GDP (Nominal) US$15 trillion

The Schengen Area is an area that includes 26 European countries. All of those countries have signed the Schengen Agreement in Schengen, Luxembourg in 1985.

The Schengen area removes passport control between its member countries. This means travelers who go from one Schengen country to another do not clear immigration checks anymore. Passengers go through immigration checks if they enter or exit the Schengen Area.

The current members of the Schengen Area are 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 and Switzerland. Because Switzerland is not part of the European Economic Area, customs control in Switzerland still exists.

At this moment, 400 million people live in the area. It is 4,312,099 square kilometres big.


On 14 June 1985 the Schengen Agreement was signed. This happened on the boat Princess Marie-Astrid in the middle of the river Moselle. On that place, the borders of France, Germany and Luxembourg meet. Five countries signed the Agreement: Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and West Germany. It was signed, but that didn't mean it was already implemented.

In 26 March 1995, all European Union members (except the United Kingdom and Ireland) signed the Agreement. Norway and Iceland also signed the Agreement.

On 1 May 2004, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined the EU. They signed the Schengen agreement on that same day. They implemented the Schengen Agreement on 21 December 2007.

Switzerland joined the Schengen Area on 12 December 2008. Liechtenstein joined it on 19 December 2011.


Twenty-six countries belong to the Schengen Area. All these countries are members of the European Union, except Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.


Flag State Area
Signed or
opted in
Date of first
Austria Austria &&&&&&&&&&083871.&&&&&083,871 &&&&&&&&08414638.&&&&&08,414,638 28 April 1995 1 December 1997
Belgium Belgium &&&&&&&&&&030528.&&&&&030,528 &&&&&&&011007020.&&&&&011,007,020 14 June 1985 26 March 1995
Czech Republic Czech Republic &&&&&&&&&&078866.&&&&&078,866 &&&&&&&010535811.&&&&&010,535,811 1 May 2004 21 December 2007
Denmark Denmark
       (excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands)
&&&&&&&&&&043094.&&&&&043,094 &&&&&&&&05564219.&&&&&05,564,219 19 December 1996 25 March 2001
Estonia Estonia &&&&&&&&&&045226.&&&&&045,226 &&&&&&&&01340194.&&&&&01,340,194 1 May 2004 21 December 2007
Finland Finland &&&&&&&&&0338145.&&&&&0338,145 &&&&&&&&05391700.&&&&&05,391,700 19 December 1996 25 March 2001
France France
       (excluding overseas departments and territories)
&&&&&&&&&0674843.&&&&&0674,843 &&&&&&&065821885.&&&&&065,821,885 14 June 1985 26 March 1995
Germany Germany &&&&&&&&&0357050.&&&&&0357,050 &&&&&&&081799600.&&&&&081,799,600 14 June 1985 26 March 1995
Greece Greece &&&&&&&&&0131990.&&&&&0131,990 &&&&&&&010787690.&&&&&010,787,690 6 November 1992 26 March 2000
Hungary Hungary &&&&&&&&&&093030.&&&&&093,030 &&&&&&&&09979000.&&&&&09,979,000 1 May 2004 21 December 2007
Iceland Iceland &&&&&&&&&0103000.&&&&&0103,000 &&&&&&&&&0318452.&&&&&0318,452 19 December 1996 25 March 2001
Italy Italy &&&&&&&&&0301318.&&&&&0301,318 &&&&&&&060681514.&&&&&060,681,514 27 November 1990 26 October 1997
Latvia Latvia &&&&&&&&&&064589.&&&&&064,589 &&&&&&&&02245357.&&&&&02,245,357 1 May 2004 21 December 2007
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein &&&&&&&&&&&&0160.&&&&&0160 &&&&&&&&&&036010.&&&&&036,010 28 February 2008 19 December 2011
Lithuania Lithuania &&&&&&&&&&065303.&&&&&065,303 &&&&&&&&03207060.&&&&&03,207,060 1 May 2004 21 December 2007
Luxembourg Luxembourg &&&&&&&&&&&02586.&&&&&02,586 &&&&&&&&&0511840.&&&&&0511,840 14 June 1985 26 March 1995
Malta Malta &&&&&&&&&&&&0316.&&&&&0316 &&&&&&&&&0417608.&&&&&0417,608 1 May 2004 21 December 2007
Netherlands Netherlands
       (excluding Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands)
&&&&&&&&&&041526.&&&&&041,526 &&&&&&&016703700.&&&&&016,703,700 14 June 1985 26 March 1995
Norway Norway
       (excluding Svalbard)
&&&&&&&&&0385155.&&&&&0385,155 &&&&&&&&04993300.&&&&&04,993,300 19 December 1996 25 March 2001
Poland Poland &&&&&&&&&0312683.&&&&&0312,683 &&&&&&&038186860.&&&&&038,186,860 1 May 2004 21 December 2007
Portugal Portugal &&&&&&&&&&092391.&&&&&092,391 &&&&&&&010647763.&&&&&010,647,763 25 June 1992 26 March 1995
Slovakia Slovakia &&&&&&&&&&049037.&&&&&049,037 &&&&&&&&05440078.&&&&&05,440,078 1 May 2004 21 December 2007
Slovenia Slovenia &&&&&&&&&&020273.&&&&&020,273 &&&&&&&&02048951.&&&&&02,048,951 1 May 2004 21 December 2007
Spain Spain
       (excluding Ceuta and Melilla)
&&&&&&&&&0506030.&&&&&0506,030 &&&&&&&046030109.&&&&&046,030,109 25 June 1992 26 March 1995
Sweden Sweden &&&&&&&&&0449964.&&&&&0449,964 &&&&&&&&09415570.&&&&&09,415,570 19 December 1996 25 March 2001
Switzerland Switzerland &&&&&&&&&&041285.&&&&&041,285 &&&&&&&&07866500.&&&&&07,866,500 26 October 2004 12 December 2008

a. EFTA states outside the EU that are associated with the Schengen activities of the EU, and where the Schengen rules apply.
b. For overland borders and seaports; since 30 March 2008 also for airports.
c. East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany, joining Schengen, on 3 October 1990. Before this it remained outside the agreement. Despite some media reports, Heligoland is not outside Schengen; it is only outside the European Union Value Added Tax Area.
d. Greenland and the Faroe Islands are not included in the Schengen area, although there might be relaxed checks in the Faroe Islands for flights from Scandinavia, thanks to the Nordic Passport Union, although a passport is still recommended. A Schengen visa issued by a Schengen state will not allow the holder access to either territories, only a Danish visa stamped with either "Valid for the Faroe Islands" or "Valid for Greenland", or both.
e. However, Jan Mayen is part of the Schengen Area.
f. The full Schengen acquis applies to all Spanish territories, but there are border checks on departure from Ceuta and Melilla to Spain or other Schengen countries, because of specific arrangements for visa exemptions for Moroccan nationals resident in the provinces of Tetuan and Nador.

Schengen Visa

Some nationalities need visas to visit the Schengen Area. They only need one Schengen visa for all countries. But they must apply at the embassy of their main destination. The main destination is where a traveller wants to spend the longest time. The visa officer can issue a visa for only one trip or many trips. The officer also decides how long the visa is valid for. The traveller needs to exit before the Schengen visa expires.

Travellers who do not need a Schengen visa can stay for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

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