The border-free Schengen Area cannot function efficiently without a common visa policy which facilitates the entry of legal visitors into the EU, while strengthening internal security. The EU has set up a common visa policy for short stays, i.e. stays up to three months, which is applied through the delivery of so-called "Schengen visas". In 2011, the present 26 Schengen States issued around 12.6 million Schengen visas. You may find the complete data on short-stay visas lower in this page.
For individual Schengen States’ ATV requirements, click here [95 KB]
Decisions on visa free access to the Schengen Area may follow from bilateral negotiations. They are based on the progress made by the countries concerned in implementing major reforms in areas such as the strengthening of the rule of law, combating of organised crime, corruption and illegal migration and improving of administrative capacity in border control and security of documents.
The EU aims at achieving full visa reciprocity with the non-EU countries whose nationals are exempt from the visa requirement. Thus, EU citizens would not need a visa either for travelling to these non-EU countries.
For that purpose, a visa reciprocity mechanism has been set up: if a country whose citizens are exempt from the visa requirement introduces a visa requirement for one or more EU States, the EU State(s) concerned notifies the Commission. The Commission then takes steps with the authorities of that country to restore visa-free travel. It can also propose retaliatory measures vis-à-vis the country in question.
The Commission publishes annual reports as part of its visa reciprocity monitoring.
So far, the EU has concluded visa facilitation agreements with the following non-EU countries. Based on these agreements, both the EU and non-EU citizens benefit from facilitated procedures for issuing visas.
|Visa facilitation agreements||Entry into force|
|Albania||Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Albania on the facilitation of the issuance of visas||01/01/2008|
|Armenia||Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Armenia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas||01/01/2014|
|Azerbaijan||Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan on the facilitation of the issuance of visas||01/09/2014|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Agreement between the European Community and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the facilitation of the issuance of visas||01/01/2008|
|Cape Verde||Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde on facilitating the issue of short-stay visas to citizens of the Republic of Cape Verde and of the European Union||Not yet in force|
|FYROM||Agreement between the European Community and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas||01/01/2008|
|Georgia||Agreement between the European Union and Georgia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas||01/03/2011|
Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova amending the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Moldova on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
|Montenegro||Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Montenegro on the facilitation of the issuance of visas||01/01/2008|
|Serbia||Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Serbia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas||01/01/2008|
|Russia||Agreement between the European Community and the Russian Federation on the facilitation of the issuance of visas||01/06/2007|
Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine amending the Agreement between the European Community and Ukraine on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
Visa facilitation agreements are linked to readmission agreements. Readmission agreements establish the procedures for the return to the EU or to the partner non-EU country of persons (own and third country nationals or stateless persons) in irregular situation.
EU States may also individually negotiate agreements on local border traffic with neighbouring non-EU countries. These agreements enable border residents of well-defined areas to cross the EU external borders, under certain conditions, without having to obtain a visa.
A mechanism established by Regulation 1289/2013 amending Regulation 539/2001 that aims at ensuring that visa-free travel with non-EU countries is not abused ...
Visa issued under national legislation allowing for stays beyond 90 days in an EU State ...
A mechanism regulated by Regulation 1289/2013 amending Regulation 539/2001 that aims at establishing, through ...
The uniform format for visas as defined by Regulation 1683/95.
Agreements between the EU and a non-EU country that facilitate the issuance by an EU State of authorisations to ...
An authorisation issued by a Schengen State with a view to: - transit through or an intended stay in the territory ...
A visa valid for the entire territory of the Schengen States.
An EU State or associated non-EU country participating in the Schengen Area.
As of December 2011, the Schengen Area consists of the following EU States: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark,...
Any person not having the nationality of an EU State.
The regular crossing of an external land border by border residents in order to stay in a border area, for example ...
The movement of a person to a new place of residence or transit using irregular or illegal means, without valid ...
An EU States’ land borders, including river and lake borders, sea borders and their airports, river ports, sea ports ...
Any entrance of a person from one country to another, whether voluntary or involuntary, authorised or unauthorised.
Non-EU national who has been lawfully resident in the border area of a country neighbouring a Schengen State for ...
The physical act of crossing a border either at a border crossing point or another point along the border.
The activity carried out at a border, in accordance with and for the purposes of Regulation 562/2006, exclusively in ...
A line separating land territory or maritime zones of two States or subparts of States. It can also refer to a region ...