The 26 nations that make up the largest visa-free zone in the world are called “Schengen Area Countries” because they want to create a Europe without borders and allow people to freely move around.
Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland are the 26 nations that make up the Schengen Area.
Research shows that 22 of these nations are members of the European Union, and four more are members of the European Free Trade Association: Lichtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland
You can learn more about the Schengen Zone, the criteria for joining the Schengen area, the participating nations, and border management, among other topics, in this article.
Countries in the Schengen Area
At the moment, the Schengen Zone is made up of 26 European nations whose citizens are free to move around the area.
Although Liechtenstein was the last nation to join the Schengen Area, other nations are welcome to do so.
However, in order for any potential member nation to join the Schengen Area Countries, certain requirements must be met.
The following countries are currently members of the Schengen Area:
Austria is a country in Central Europe with 8.95 million people who speak German. By GDP per capita, it ranks among the world’s wealthiest and most powerful nations.
There are five nations that share the country’s border: Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Italy to the south, Switzerland to the west, and the Czech Republic to the north.
In addition, Austria, a German-speaking nation on the old continent of Europe, covers an area of 83,871 km2.
Belgium is in the western part of Europe. It shares borders with the Netherlands to the north, Germany and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the east, and France to the south and west.
It is a small country with a surface area of 30,688 km2, but its location has made it Europe’s economic and urban nerve center.
The country also has a border with Germany, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and France.
On June 14, 1985, Belgium was one of the first five nations to sign the Schengen Agreement, which went into effect on March 26, 1995.
#3. The Czech Republic
Central Europe also includes the country of the Czech Republic. With a land area of 78,867 km2, the Czech Republic is slightly smaller than Austria.
The country has 10.56 million people living there. It borders Poland to the north, Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east, and Poland to the north.
The historical regions of Bohemia, Moravia, and a small portion of Silesia are included in the Czech Republic.
Denmark is in the northern part of Europe. It is a small nation with approximately 6 million people. It borders Germany and is one of the three Scandinavian nations.
The Tivoli amusement park, the colorful Nyhavn harbor, and the well-known “Little Mermaid” statue are all located in Copenhagen, the nation’s capital.
Additionally, the nation’s welfare system aims to promote economic equality, virtually zero corruption, and low crime rates.
The Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea are adjacent to Estonia, a nation in Northern Europe. Its varied terrain includes more than 1,500 islands, rocky beaches, old-growth forests, and numerous lakes.
Tallinn, the capital, is well-known for its old town, museums, and the Tallinn TV Tower, which is 314 meters high and has an observation deck.
It is one of the least populated countries in Europe, covering 45,338 km2 and having more than 1 million people living there.
Over two thousand islands and islets in the Baltic Sea make up this flatland nation as well.
Finland is bordered by Norway, Sweden, and Russia. It is one of the safest and most eco-friendly nations and is known for its educational system.
It is home to over 5 million people and is the world’s happiest country, covering an area of 338,145 km2.
The largest nation in Western Europe, France, has served as a link between the continent’s northern and southern regions for a long time.
Eight European nations, including Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, and Spain, are within 551,695 kilometers of the country.
Since it was one of the founding members of the Schengen Area in 1985, its 64,720,690 inhabitants are able to move about freely within the country.
Denmark borders Germany to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, and Germany is in Western and Central Europe.
In addition, Germany is the seventh-largest country in Europe thanks to its 357,022 km2 of land area.
More than 83 million people live in Germany. With approximately 3.3 million people living there, Berlin is the capital and largest city.
German is the official language. However, English is spoken by more than half of Germans as a second language.
Greece is at the intersection of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey share its land borders.
In addition, the country has over 11 million inhabitants and a land area of 131,990 km2.
The country is a popular vacation spot for many tourists due to its beautiful beaches, islands, and unique cultural heritage.
Nevertheless, Greece ratified the Schengen agreement on November 6, 1992, and it went into effect on January 1, 2000. Nevertheless, its neighbors must still join the Schengen Area.
Over 9 million people live in Hungary, which covers an area of 93,030 km2 and is in Central Europe. Slovakia, Austria, Romania, Croatia, and Slovenia are on its borders.
In terms of tourism, Hungary is one of the most popular destinations for medical tourism in Europe. Only dental tourism makes up 21% of the global market and 42% of Europe’s.
Iceland, also known as the “Land of Ice and Fire,” is a remote island in the North Atlantic Ocean. The country is 103,000 km2 in size.
In addition, the nation has more than 4,000 inhabitants, with two-thirds of them residing in the capital, Reykjavik, and the surrounding areas.
Iceland’s top tourist attractions include ecotourism and whale watching. On December 19, 1996, the nation signed the Schengen agreement, which was later replaced on May 19, 1999.
The Italian Republic is a sovereign state in the center of the Mediterranean Sea.
It shares a border with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino, and Vatican City, and its area is 301,318 km2.
It is the fourth most populous member of the European Union, with over 60 million people.
Italy is also one of the best places to visit in Europe because it has a long and interesting history and a lot of cultural attractions.
Latvia shares borders with Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, Russia, and Russia. Over 2 million people live in the country, which covers 64,589 km2.
Riga, the country’s capital, is well-known for its multicultural history, architecture, and Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Central Europe, there is a German-speaking microstate called Liechtenstein. With over 38 thousand people living there and a land area of 160 km2, it is the fourth smallest country in Europe.
Liechtenstein also has borders with Austria to the east and west, and Switzerland to the south. The majority of the country is mountainous, making it an appealing destination for winter sports.
After signing the agreement, Liechtenstein is the final nation to join the borderless Schengen area.
The 65,300 km2 nation borders Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Kaliningrad, and Lithuania. It uses EUR as its currency and has more than 3 million residents.
Lithuanian is one of the world’s oldest languages, according to research.
With a total area of 2,586 km2, Luxembourg is home to more than 500 thousand people.
It was one of the states that signed the Schengen Agreement on June 14, 1985, in the Luxembourgish village of Schengen.
One of the three official capitals of the European Union is Luxembourg City, the country’s capital.
Additionally, Luxembourg is the world’s second-richest nation. It has the EU’s highest minimum wage and ranks among the world’s safest nations.
With a land area of 316 km2 and a population of over 5000 people, the island in Southern Europe is an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea.
The country’s popularity in tourism is fueled by its sun, sea, and beaches.
However, its ancient wonders, such as the 5,000-year-old Hagar Qim and the 4,000-year-old Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, are also some of its most enticing destinations for tourists.
Twelve provinces make up the Netherlands. The country is bordered on the east by Germany, on the south by Belgium, and on the northwest by the North Sea.
It has an area of 41,526 km² and north of 17 million inhabitants. The country’s colorful tulips, numerous windmills, and delicious cheese make it popular.
Norway, also known as the land of the midnight sun, is 385,155 km2 in size. It has more than 6 million people living there. Denmark, Finland, and the Skagerrak Strait form its borders.
However, the country’s stunning fjords and Viking heritage draw the most tourists.
Poland is a Central European member of the EU. The country has 312,684 km2 of land and 16 administrative subdivisions.
The nation shares borders with Germany, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Belarus, with 38 million people living there.
Warsaw, the medieval town of Malbork, Lublin, Torun, Krakow, and Poznan are Poland’s most well-known cities.
Portugal, Europe’s westernmost nation, only shares borderland with Spain to the north and east. It has over 10 million people living there and covers 92,391 km2.
Portugal is one of Europe’s oldest states and the oldest state on the Iberian Peninsula. The capital of Lisbon and the subtropical island of Madeira are the most well-known cities.
The country of Slovakia is in Central Europe. It has 49,037 km2 of land area. Additionally, 5 million of its inhabitants speak Slovak.
The nation borders Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, the Czech Republic to the west, Hungary to the south, Austria to the southwest, and the Czech Republic to the west.
With a total area of 20,273 km2, Slovenia has a population of 2 million people. It has a border with Croatia, Italy, Austria, and Hungary.
Slovenia is the smallest Schengen nation, ranking fourth behind Malta, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein.
Spain shares land borders with France, Andorra, the Bay of Biscay in Portugal, and has a land area of 510,000 km2.
With more than 46 million people living there, it is the second largest country in the EU.
The majority of foreign visitors to Europe flock to the Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona.
In addition, Ibiza’s Parties, Bullfights, and the La Tomatina festival are among Spain’s best outdoor programs.
# 25. Sweden.
Sweden is a country in Scandinavia that is in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Norway and Finland and has a surface area of 449,964 km2.
Through a bridge-tunnel across the resund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border, the nation is connected to Denmark.
# 26. Switzerland.
Switzerland is a country in Central Europe with a lot of mountains. It has many lakes, villages, and the Alps’ high peaks.
The 9 million people living there enjoy one of the highest living standards in the world and have one of the strongest economies in Europe.
Features of the Schengen Area.
The countries that make up the Schengen Area would only be able to function properly if they had rules and laws that controlled everything, like how to travel and be safe.
The following are the fundamental characteristics of the Schengen region:
- Citizens of Schengen nations do not need a permit to move between countries. However, once they move, they are required to register their address with the local authorities.
- Only at the port from which travelers enter the Schengen area will they be subject to security screenings.
- It is the responsibility of Schengen members to remove all obstructions so that road traffic can move freely.
- The standard asylum policies that apply to citizens of non-Schengen nations crossing the EU’s external border are respected by all Schengen nations.
Requirements for joining the Schengen Area.
There are a lot of European nations that want to join the Schengen Area, but only a few can do so right away.
Instead, countries that want to join must meet certain preconditions or criteria, such as the following:
- The prospective nation must follow the same set of Schengen rules, such as how to control borders on land, water, and air, issue visas, cooperate with police, and protect personal data.
- Assume responsibility for issuing uniform Schengen visas and controlling the external borders on behalf of other Schengen nations.
- To maintain a high level of security, the prospective nation must effectively collaborate with law enforcement agencies in other Schengen nations.
- The nation needs to be prepared to join the Schengen Information System (SIS) and use it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What distinguishes Schengen from the EU?
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union, whereas the Schengen Area allows people to freely move between participating nations.
With a residence permit, can I travel within the Schengen Area countries?
You don’t need any other documents to travel throughout the Schengen Area with a residence permit.
The prospective nation may be subject to a Schengen Evaluation prior to joining the visa-free region. Following that, a member nation is subjected to a periodic evaluation to guarantee that the Schengen rules are being applied appropriately.
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