The Schengen area: Europe without borders

Visa Schengen

Geography of the Schengen area

Today, 24 Member States of the European Union fully apply the provisions of the Schengen acquis. These are the older members, namely: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.

There are three additional Schengen countries that are not members of the European Union, namely Norway, Iceland, and most recently Switzerland.

Apart from Cyprus, the ten new Member States of the European Union, namely Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia became members of the Schengen area in 2008.

Cyprus, an EU member and Liechtenstein, a non-member, should join the Schengen area by the end of 2009. Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU on 1 January 2007, are committed to prepare for joining the Schengen area in 2011.

Finally, there are Member States of the European Union who are still outside the Schengen Area. These are the UK and Ireland, which chose to maintain border inspections for traffic to and from other Member States of the European Union.