The Schengen Zone
Everything you need to know about travelling in the Schengen Zone
Table of Contents
What is the Schengen Zone
The Schengen Zone is a group of 27 European countries that have abolished passport and other border control procedures at their mutual borders. This means that travelers can move freely between these countries without the need for passport checks and visa requirements.
Purpose and Benefits
The main purpose of the Schengen Agreement is to promote the free movement of people within the participating countries, fostering economic and cultural cooperation among them. As a result, businesses, tourists, and European citizens benefit from the ease of travel and trade across these nations.
Please note that not all European Union (EU) countries are part of the Schengen Zone, and some non-EU countries are. The United Kingdom, for example, was not part of the Schengen Zone even before leaving the EU.
Schengen Zone Countries
- Czech Republic
Schengen Visa Policy Map
How to calculate the 90 / 180 day rule in the Schengen zone
To calculate the 90/180 day rule for the Schengen visa, follow these steps:
1. Identify the period you wish to stay in the Schengen area. Note that any entry and exit dates count as full days.
2. Count the total number of days you plan to stay within the Schengen area during this period.
3. Check that the number of days does not exceed 90 days within any 180-day period. Use a 180-day sliding window to look backward from the current date and make sure you have not spent more than 90 days in the Schengen area during that timeframe.
4. Keep track of your previous visits and the days spent in the Schengen area, as those days count towards the 90-day limit within the 180-day period.
5. If you have multiple entries and exits within the 180-day period, be sure to account for all the days spent in the Schengen area each time.
By adhering to these steps, you can ensure that your stay complies with the 90/180 day rule for the Schengen visa.
How to apply for a Schengen Visa
- Determine the Schengen country where you will spend most of your time, as this is where you will apply for the visa.
- Review the visa requirements of the selected country and make sure you are eligible. This can be done via the embassy website of the country you are applying to.
- Complete and submit the Visa application form.
- Collect the necessary documentation, including proof of financial sufficiency, travel insurance, round trip reservation or itinerary, and proof of accommodation.
- Schedule an appointment at the consulate or embassy of the selected country.
- Attend the visa interview, provide the required documents and pay the visa fee.
- Wait for the visa decision.
What happens if I over stay in the Schengen Zone
If you overstay in the Schengen zone, you may face consequences such as fines, deportation, or a ban from reentering the Schengen countries for a certain period of time. The exact penalties can vary by country and the duration of the overstay. It is strongly recommended to adhere to the visa duration to avoid such complications.