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Schengen Visa if granted confers upon non-Schengen country citizens an unrestricted freedom to travel to and through the Schengen area. This arrangement is part of treaty organization that has been planned as symbol of unified Europe. The agreement was ratified by 5 of 10 member states of European Economic Community organization near Schengen in Luxembourg in 1985 and was complimented by a convention to apply the agreement in 1990. These provisions were finally enforced in 1995.

This arrangement paved way for extending unrestricted travel permission through the demarked Schengen area to nationals of Schengen states and traveling foreign citizens.  The provisions adopted included negligible or no border monitoring at all.  

The basic element of the laws of this treaty is promoting idea of Schengen states as being part of one nation which permits the travelers to traverse through the length and breadth of the continent in a similar way as one would travel through states of a country.          

This treaty was conceptualized and integrated into the mainstream European Union laws and statutes through treaty of Amsterdam in 1997. Currently there are 26 ratifying member states in this arrangement

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Denmark (excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands)
  5. Estonia
  6. Finland
  7. France (excluding overseas departments and territories)
  8. Germany
  9. Greece
  10. Hungary
  11. Iceland
  12. Italy
  13. Latvia
  14. Liechtenstein
  15. Lithuania
  16. Luxembourg
  17. Malta
  18. Netherlands (excluding Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands)
  19. Norway (excluding Svalbard)
  20. Poland
  21. Portugal
  22. Slovakia
  23. Slovenia
  24. Spain (excluding Ceuta and Melilla)
  25. Sweden
  26. Switzerland 26 October 2004

Out of the 26 members only 4 countries are not European Union members i.e. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and 2 European Union Members United Kingdom and Ireland are not part of the Schengen treaty organization.

All internal borders have been abolished and immigration check posts removed for the visitors holding Schengen visa and you would not need to pass though immigration counters at borders of Schengen states if you happen to travel from one Schengen state to another Schengen state.   

Although the internal borders have ceased to exist but because of the uniform laws and provisions being incorporated into the statutes of the Schengen visa laws a non-EEA national must always carry all relevant documents that demonstrate the objective of travel to this region.          

The kind of permission under this arrangement can vary on the demonstrated objective of visit by foreign traveler. The usual term of the entry permission granted under this arrangement can not exceed 3 months in given period of 6 years. the tenure of the stay of 3 months is calculated from the date of entry into the country.

Schengen visa can be single entry permission or multiple entry permission. A single entry arrangement runs continuously from the date of entry into a Schengen state from where the journey is originating i.e. the country which has granted you this travel permit.

Multiple entry permission permits you to depart and arrive back in this territory several times but the cumulative period of all subsequent residence can not go beyond 3 months which is calculated from the date of first entry on basis of such a permission. It is necessary that this period of 3 months residence must be within the 6 months (calculated from the first date of entry on basis of this permission.

Other kinds of Schengen Visa include

  1. Transit permit with a validity of 5 days
  2. Airport transit permission enables international transit travelers to use transit lounges at international airports of Schengen countries.

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