Who Needs a Schengen Visa?


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The Schengen area is the largest contiguous area in the world that allows travel without border controls. The Schengen countries are a popular travel destination and the Schengen Visa C is one of the most frequently issued short-term visas. But not everyone has to apply for a Schengen visa to enter the country. So who needs a Schengen Visa?

Who needs a Schengen Visa? If you want to enter the Schengen area, you have to check in advance whether your country belongs to the Schengen visa countries or not. In many cases there are agreements on freedom of travel, which are regulated in the EU visa regulation.

Who Needs a Schengen Visa?

Who needs a Schengen visa? What rules apply to which countries?

Whether you have to apply for a Schengen visa to enter the Schengen area depends on your citizenship. If you are from Turkey or China you need a visa, but as a US citizen you do not. Here is why:

1. Visa exemption for EU states and EFTA states

The EU member states and the EFTA states Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland do not belong to the Schengen visa countries. As a citizen of these countries, you can move freely in the Schengen area.

2. Third countries without a visa requirement

All citizens of countries that have concluded an agreement on visa liberalization with the Schengen countries can travel to the Schengen area for short stays of a maximum of 90 days within 6 months without a visa, so they do not belong to the Schengen area. Visa countries. Citizens of around 60 non-EU countries can currently travel to the Schengen area without a visa. It is forbidden to work during the stay.  

Important: Citizens of the so far visa-free third countries are expected to be required to present the new and fully electronic entry document ETIAS when entering Europe from 2022.

3. Visa requirements for all other third countries

All other third countries whose countries have not yet signed an agreement on the visa waiver belong to the Schengen visa countries and require a visa. 104 countries are currently subject to visa requirements. 


List of Schengen visa countries that require a visa

As part of the Schengen Agreement , the following countries require a Schengen visa for short and long stays in order to be allowed to stay in the Schengen area.

Equatorial GuineaArmeniaAzerbaijanEthiopia
BahrainBangladeshBelarus / BelarusBelize
Burkina FasoBurundiCabo VerdeCôte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Dominican RepublicDjiboutiEcuadorEritrea
KyrgyzstanComorosCongo (Republic of the Congo)Congo (Democratic Republic) 
Korea (Democratic People’s Republic, North Korea)KosovoCubaKuwait
MozambiqueMyanmar (Burma) NamibiaNauru
PakistanPalestinian territoriesPapua New GuineaPhilippines
RwandaRussian FederationZambiaSao Tome and Principe
Saudi ArabiaSenegal Sierra LeoneZimbabwe
SomaliaSri LankaSouth AfricaSouth Sudan
UgandaUzbekistanVietnamCentral African rebuilt

(As of January 2021)

If you need additional information on the individual Schengen visa countries, please contact the relevant embassy or consulate. To apply for a Schengen type C visa (short stay), you must have a passport that is valid for six months after your return. You will also need to submit various forms and provide evidence

Among other things, you need proof that you have taken out travel health insurance. The insurance should be valid for your entire stay in the Schengen area and offer a minimum protection of 30,000 euros for medical emergencies. AXA Schengen travel insurance is designed for precisely this purpose.


Which countries do not belong to the Schengen visa countries?

1. Schengen countries and EU countries

26 countries have signed the Schengen Agreement. Citizens of these countries can travel in the Schengen zone without a visa . These include: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary and Liechtenstein. 

The same applies to citizens of other European countries, even if they are not part of the Schengen countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom.

2. Third country states that do not require a visa

All citizens of third countries who do not appear in the list of Schengen visa countries can enter the Schengen area without a visa using the visa liberalization procedure. Please note, however, that this may only be a short stay of 90 days within a period of 180 days. 

If you want to stay longer in the Schengen country, you need a Schengen visa type D (national visa). They are also not allowed to work. If you disregard this regulation, you will no longer be allowed to enter the country without a visa and will have to pay a fine.

Important to know: Despite the visa exemption, citizens of different countries have to meet additional conditions. We introduce you to all visa-free countries and their special cases.

Who Needs a Schengen Visa?

List of visa-free third countries for a short-term  visa (Schengen Visa C)

In principle, all people outside the EU require a visa if they want to travel to Europe, but there are exceptions for short stays of up to 90 days. Around 60 countries have signed a visa-free agreement with the EU for short stays. Find out from this list whether you do not need a visa for short trips.

Albania (visa exemption only applies
if you have a biometric passport) 
Andorra Antigua and Barbuda 
ArgentinaAustralia anyway
Cocos Islands, Norfok Island, Christmas Island
BarbadosBosnia-Herzegovina (Visa exemption only applies
if you have a biometric passport) 
Brunei DarissalamChileCosta Rica
DominicaEl SalvadoGeorgia (Visa exemption only applies
if you have a biometric passport) 
KiribatiColombiaMacau ( Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Areas passport holders are exempt from the visa requirement
MalaysiaMarshall IslandsMauritius
Macedonia (Visa exemption only applies
if you have a biometric passport)
Moldova (Visa exemption only applies
if you have a biometric passport)
MonacoMontenegro (visa exemption only applies
if you have a biometric passport)
New Zealand  including Cook Islands, Niue, TokelauNicaraguaPalau
SalomenSamoaSan Marino
Serbia (the visa exemption is only valid with biometric passports that have not been issued by the Serbian
Coordination Directorate (Serbian: Coordinaciona uprava))
St. Kitts and NevisSt. Lucia
St. Vincent & GrenadinesTaiwan  (You can only enter without a visa if you are the holder of a passport that was
issued by Taiwan and contains an ID card number)
Trinidad and TobagoTuvaluUkraine (Visa exemption only applies
if you have a biometric passport)
UruguayUnited States  including US Virgin Islands,
American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico
Vatican cityVenezuelaUnited Arab Emirates
United Kingdom of Great Britain,
Northern Ireland and a citizen of British overseas territories

(As of January 2021)

List of visa-free third countries for a national long-term visa (D visa)

Apart from citizens of the Schengen area, the EU and the EEA countries, all countries require a visa for a D visa, except for the countries listed below. Citizens of these countries can also apply for a residence permit after entering the country !

CanadaNew Zealand Republic of Korea 

(As of January 2021)

Who Needs a Schengen Visa?

What do I have to consider when entering the Schengen area without a visa?

Entry without a visa is only possible with a valid identification document . The document must be valid for three months at the time of departure and have been issued within the last 10 years.

Citizens of visa-free countries do not need to take out travel insurance in order to enter the country. However, it is always advisable to have travel health insurance in order to avoid high treatment costs in the event of an accident or repatriation to your home country.

Special regulation when applying for an airport transit visa

The so-called “ transit privilege ” applies to most Schengen visa countries . This means that if you, as a third-country national, remain in the international transit area of ​​an airport and leave the Schengen area on the next plane, you do not need a Schengen visa. 

However, if you have to change terminals and have to leave the international transit area or a second airport stop is planned in the Schengen area, then you cannot benefit from the “transit privilege” for Schengen visa countries. In this case, you need to apply for a Schengen Visa A for airport transit. 

Important to know : Please make sure that only certain airports have an international transit area and that this can be closed overnight. If in doubt, find out from your airline or the airport itself whether you have to leave the transit area for your planned flight and stay at the airport.

List of countries that have to apply for a transit visa (Schengen visa A)

The “transit privilege” does not apply to all countries!

Citizens of the following countries must apply for a Category A Schengen visa (airport transit visa):

Afghanistan  Ethiopia  Bangladesh  
Eritrea  GhanaIndia
IranIraqJordan (
certain exceptions apply )
Democratic Republic of the CongoLebanonMali
Sri LankaSudanSouth Sudan
SyriaTurkey (certain
exceptions apply  )

Special regulations apply to citizens Turkey and Jordan for the Schengen area. 

You can waive the application for an airport transit visa under the following conditions: If you have a valid visa or a national residence permit from the EU and Schengen countries,

  • If you have a national residence permit from the following countries: Andorra, Japan, Canada, San Marino, United States of America
  • If you have a valid visa from the EEA countries (EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) or a visa was issued in the following countries: Japan, Canada and the USA
  • If you are a close family member of an EU citizen

FAQ Schengen Visa countries

Which countries need a Schengen visa?

Schengen visa countries are all third countries that have not signed a visa liberalization contract with the Schengen countries. Citizens of these countries are required to apply for a visa to enter the Schengen area. Currently 104 third countries require a visa.

For which countries is the Schengen visa valid?

With a Schengen visa, you can stay in all Schengen countries, as it is valid for the entire Schengen area. The visa application is submitted at the embassy of the Schengen country where the main travel destination is. The place of entry and exit is not decisive.

Which EU countries are not in Schengen?

Of the 26 Schengen states, 22 currently belong to the European Union. Exceptions are the EU countries Ireland and Cyprus. The EU member states Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia have only partially applied the Schengen directives so that personal controls are still taking place. The UK left the EU.

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