A Schengen Visa is the document issued by the appropriate authorities to the interested party for visiting/travelling to and within the Schengen Area. A Schengen visa obtained by any of the Schengen Area member countries allows free movement to its holder within the whole Schengen Zone including the European Union Schengen members as well as the EFTA Schengen members, up to its validity and timeframe.
The Schengen area is comprised of 26 countries that have agreed to allow free movement of their citizens within this area as a single country. Of the 26 countries bound by the Schengen agreement, 22 are part of the EU and the other 4 are part of the EFTA.
Schengen area covers the majority of European countries, except for the United Kingdom and countries such as Bulgaria and Ireland soon to be part of the agreement. However, there are countries that are not part of the EU like Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein yet do belong in the Schengen area and cherish the free movement policy.
List of Schengen Visa countires
- The Czech Republic*
- The Netherlands*
What does EFTA stand for?
EFTA is an association of ten Fair Trade importers in nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). EFTA was established informally in 1987 by some of the oldest and largest Fair Trade importers. It gained formal status in 1990. EFTA is based in the Netherlands and has Dutch Articles of Association.
How does EFTA differ from EU?
While the EFTA stands for an association of ten Fair Trade importers in nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom), the EU is a group of mostly European countries, (28 to be exact) that participates in the world economy as one economic unit and operates under one official currency, the euro.
Non- Schengen countries that allow entry for Schengen visa holders
There are 19 countries that are not part of the EU, nor of the Schengen Area, yet they ALLOW foreign citizens of other non-Schengen countries to enter and stay in their territories, ONLY by showing a valid Schengen Visa. Such foreigners do NOT need a national visa issued from these countries to enter, transit and stay in their territory temporarily.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Macedonia (The Former Yugoslav Republic)
- Sao Tome and Principe
Your Schengen Visa will allow you to freely move in the above mentioned countries. But it is advisable to gather as much information regarding your destination country before you plan your holiday.
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