Schengen Area facts for kids
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|
|Area||4,312,099 km2 (1,664,911 sq mi)|
|GDP (Nominal)||US$15 trillion|
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.
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.
|Date of first
|Austria||83,871||8,414,638||28 April 1995||1 December 1997|
|Belgium||30,528||11,007,020||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Czech Republic||78,866||10,535,811||1 May 2004||21 December 2007|
(excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands)
|43,094||5,564,219||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|Estonia||45,226||1,340,194||1 May 2004||21 December 2007|
|Finland||338,145||5,391,700||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
(excluding overseas departments and territories)
|674,843||65,821,885||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Germany||357,050||81,799,600||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Greece||131,990||10,787,690||6 November 1992||26 March 2000|
|Hungary||93,030||9,979,000||1 May 2004||21 December 2007|
|Iceland||103,000||318,452||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|Italy||301,318||60,681,514||27 November 1990||26 October 1997|
|Latvia||64,589||2,245,357||1 May 2004||21 December 2007|
|Liechtenstein||160||36,010||28 February 2008||19 December 2011|
|Lithuania||65,303||3,207,060||1 May 2004||21 December 2007|
|Luxembourg||2,586||511,840||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Malta||316||417,608||1 May 2004||21 December 2007|
(excluding Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands)
|41,526||16,703,700||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|385,155||4,993,300||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|Poland||312,683||38,186,860||1 May 2004||21 December 2007|
|Portugal||92,391||10,647,763||25 June 1992||26 March 1995|
|Slovakia||49,037||5,440,078||1 May 2004||21 December 2007|
|Slovenia||20,273||2,048,951||1 May 2004||21 December 2007|
(excluding Ceuta and Melilla)
|506,030||46,030,109||25 June 1992||26 March 1995|
|Sweden||449,964||9,415,570||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|Switzerland||41,285||7,866,500||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.
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.
Images for kids
A typical Schengen border crossing has no border control post and only a common EU-state sign displaying the name of the country being entered, as here between Germany and Austria. The larger blue sign announces entry to the Federal Republic of Germany in German, the smaller white sign announces entry into the German state of Bavaria.
Exit stamp for air travel issued at Prague airport.
Exit stamp for sea travel, issued at Helsinki port.
Schengen Area Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.