In an effort to promote Europe as a unified country, seven of Europe’s beautiful countries joined hands in 1985 and formed the Schengen Treaty. According to this treaty all internal border check points and controls were terminated and travelling across these countries was made easier and less bureaucratic. Over the years more counties joined hands in this treaty taking the number of Schengen countries to fifteen and making travelling to these countries with the Schengen Visa hassle free.
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden were the fifteen countries included in the Schengen area till 2007. Currently, the Schengen Area consists of twenty-five states. Visitors to Schengen countries can now receive a Schengen Visa which entitles them to travel freely throughout the Schengen Area.
Nine EU countries – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Sloven joined the Schengen area after 2007. Ireland and The United Kingdom are the only EU member states that are not full members of the Schengen Area. Switzerland was the last country to join the Schengen Area and the agreement took place in 2008. Moreover, Iceland and Norway, being EU members have negotiated agreements with the EU in order to participate. Since non-Schengen countries seeking to join the Schengen Area must have upgraded border controls to ensure the integrity of the Schengen Area, countries like Cyprus had a delayed agreement. EU countries like Romania and Bulgaria are attempting to meet the necessary standards to be a part of the Schengen Area agreement.
Before the Schengen Agreement was implemented, most borders in Western Europe were guarded by having constant patrolling. And, a vast network of border posts existed around the continent, to check the identity and entitlement of people wishing to travel from one country to another. Visa requirements were different from a country to country and the possessors of visas to visit one European country would not necessarily be entitled to visit others without separate visas. The Schengen rules have made it mandatory for the participating countries to close their respective border posts. To implement this rule, the agreement has come up with Schengen Borders Code that emphasizes the free flow of traffic at the internal borders. Therefore, passengers travelling by road, rail and air no longer have to go through the identification process while crossing borders. A large number of international passengers have appreciated this act as it saves time and misrepresentation while travelling within Europe.
The Schengen Visa can be obtained for a period of a maximum of ninety days that can be spread over a period of six months. However, while planning your trip to these countries, you must keep in mind that you complete your travel during this allotted time frame as a lapse will force you to discontinue your stay in accordance with the Schengen rules as extensions are not easy to acquire. The Schengen Visa enables you to travel through the Schengen region via air, road or through train as each station is treated as a domestic trip. The Schengen Visa can be looked at as a visitor’s visa that is issued to people who want to travel to a number of these countries in one trip. Instead of obtaining multiple visas, one for each of these countries, the Schengen Visa cuts the extra visa expenses and allows tourists to travel across these countries using only this single visa. If you’re a visitor from a third country and have been granted the entry in the Schengen area then hassle-free travel experience is guaranteed. With the Schengen Visa, you can travel and stay in the Schengen area with the extension of 3 months.
You can get a Schengen Visa by filling out your own application form. The Schengen Visa guide is available online and can be downloaded easily. This guide gives you the step by step directions of all the things that you need to keep in mind while applying for Schengen Visa such as listing out your travel plans and providing the required documentation to support your travel. With the help of this guide you will be able to eliminate costs involved in hiring an immigration lawyer or a visa agent. You will just need to get the form, fill it and submit it at the designated embassy with the required paperwork. You can get your Schengen Visa with ease as long as you are travelling with the purpose of business, leisure or tourism. Once you fill up the form for Schengen Visa and meet other requirements, you are set to go. A requirement of additional document may create a need for you to furnish your valid passport papers, financial disclosure and employment information.
While you make your travel plans and get your Schengen Visa before knowing Schengen Visa procedure don’t forget to shop for travel insurance as well. When you apply for your Schengen visa, travel insurance including medical cover and repatriation is required to complete the process. Your travel insurance plan should cover the duration of the requested visa – annual insurance may be required if you are requesting a multi-entry visa. An affordable travel insurance plan is a clever step to manage your finances. You just have to keep in mind that your baggage is insured, you and your family will arrive conveniently. If you are a senior citizen going abroad, make sure that another person, below 70’s accompanies you. The travel insurance policy mostly includes a coverage for 120 days.
The advantages that come with a travel insurance policy also include a coverage of accidental death. In such cases, the insured sum is reimbursed. Treatment of any serious emergency illness, dental expenses, costs on any sudden accident and other medical expenses after going abroad is covered by a travel insurance. Always bear in mind that even the best planned trips can have their share of pitfalls with baggage getting lost, flights getting cancelled, trips getting delayed and worse of all falling sick and requiring medical attention or hospitalizations. All these incidents involve a lot of expenses which can be covered if you are suitably covered by your travel insurance.
Enjoy your journey across Europe with ease with the Schengen Visa and be doubly safe with the right travel insurance.