The Schengen Area
At a Glance
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The Schengen Area is a contiguous, free-travel zone comprised of 26 European countries. The Schengen member states have eliminated border control at their common borders and share a common visa policy. Schengen Visa requirements and issuance procedures are the same throughout the region.
The Schengen Member States
The 26 Schengen member states include 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.
Assessing Travel and Visa Obligations
Visa-waivered travel to the Schengen Area is based on nationality, and visa waivers are applied consistently by all member states. European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals are visa-waivered for travel to the Schengen. Additionally, nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Singapore, the United States and many other select nationals do not require a Short-Stay C (Schengen) Visa to enter the Schengen Area.
The following nationals do not require a Short-Stay C (Schengen) Visa to conduct business activities if in possession of a biometric passport:
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, and Serbia.
Nationals who are not eligible for a visa waiver must apply for a Short-Stay Schengen C Visa at a Schengen member-state consulate or embassy, prior to travel. For a complete list of countries whose citizens require a Short-Stay C Visa, see here.
How long can I stay in the Schengen Area?
Holders of Short-Stay C (Schengen) Visas, or travelers who are visa-waivered are limited to a 90-day stay within any 180-day period in the (entire) Schengen Area. The 180-day period is calculated by counting backward from the visitor’s most recent date of entry into a Schengen country. Each subsequent entry creates a new 180-day calculation.
The region has produced a manual and an online calculator to help travelers keep track of their stay under the backward-counting method. Note, the calculator is a helping tool only, and does not constitute a right-to-stay for a period resulting from its calculation.
Working in The Schengen Area
Because travel is free within the Schengen Area, there is a common misconception that rules regulating business activities are the same throughout the area. The 26 Schengen countries remain sovereign and the specific rules regarding what activities are regulated by each country’s specific labor laws. It is important for employers and employees to be aware of the differences in regulations governing entry to the Schengen and work authorization in each specific member state. Furthermore, the specific rules regarding work authorization vary considerably from member state to member state. If you have questions regarding a specific country’s laws and how they regulate your travel, please seek advice from your immigration counsel.
Copyright © 2020 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice, please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.
At a Glance
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