Who needs a Schengen Visa?

After the signing of the Schengen Convention in Luxembourg in 1990, among the 22 European Union member states and the 4 EFTA member states, the concept of free movement started being implemented just 5 years after, allowing the population of the certain member countries to travel freely and start a life in any of them countries.

Schengen Area nowadays covers most of the European Countries with an exception made for the United Kingdom and the countries that are soon to be part of this agreement as Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Ireland. Although not members of the European Union, the following countries like Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are also part of the Schengen zone enjoying the same freedom of movement policy as the others.

In case of any individual threats, irrespective of nationality the competent authorities are prone to conduct a police check at any international border or border area however they are not equivalent to border control checks. Otherwise, any person regardless of nationality (always a citizen of the Schengen Zone member countries) is able to cross the international borders without any border checks.

However, regarding the non-members of the Schengen Area there is a mandatory visa requirement to enter the Schengen Zone for some countries. The countries whose citizens are required to obtain a Schengen visa in order to enter one of its member countries are listed in the following section.

Afghanistan Guinea Peru
Algeria Guinea-Bissau Philippines
Angola Guyana Qatar
Armenia Haiti Russia
Azerbaijan India Rwanda
Bahrain Indonesia Samoa
Bangladesh Iran Sao Tome And Principe
Belarus Iraq Saudi Arabia
Belize Jamaica Senegal
Benin Jordan Sierra Leone
Bhutan Kazakhstan Solomon Islands
Bolivia Kenya Somalia
Botswana Kiribati South Africa
Burkina Faso Kuwait Sri Lanka
Burma/Myanmar Kyrgyzstan St Lucia
Burundi Laos St Vincent & The Grenadines
Cambodia Lebanon Sudan
Cameroon Lesotho Suriname
Cape Verde Liberia Swaziland
Central African Republic Libya Syria
Chad Madagascar Tajikistan
China Malawi Tanzania
Colombia Maldives Thailand
Comoros Mali Timor-Leste
Congo Marshall Islands Togo
Cote D’ivoire Mauritania Tonga
Cuba Micronesia Trinidad and Tobago
Dem. Rep. Of Congo Moldova Tunisia
Djibouti Mongolia Turkey
Dominica Morocco Turkmenistan
Dominican Republic Mozambique Tuvalu
Ecuador Namibia Uganda
Egypt Nauru Ukraine
Equatorial Guinea Nepal Uzbekistan
Eritrea Niger Vanuatu
Ethiopia Nigeria Vietnam
Fiji North Korea Yemen
Gabon Northern Mariana’s Zambia
Gambia Oman Zimbabwe
Georgia Pakistan Kosova
Ghana Palau
Grenada Papua New Guinea


The citizens of the countries of the Schengen Zone as well as the citizens of the countries that don’t need a visa to enter the Schengen zone are however not allowed to reside in the traveling destination for the time desired without any other legal permission.

The amount of days permitted to stay in any of the Schengen zone countries doesn’t exceed 90 days/ three months every half a year needless of the travel reasons. Also, you got to bear in mind that the fact that you are able to obtain a Schengen visa to enter and reside for the certain amount of time in a Schengen area doesn’t apply to working or studying in that country.

In the meantime, there are countries citizens of which need also an airport transit visa in order to change the airplane at an airport in a Schengen Area country. The list of the countries which are subject to the airport transit visa in the Schengen Area goes as following:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Congo (Drc)
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka

There are however exceptions regarding the Airport Transit Visa for certain individuals.  In case of the following terms, the nationals of the above mentioned countries are not obliged to obtain an airport transit visa:

  • If the person holds a residency permit from a Schengen member country, a valid Schengen Visa for short stays or long stays.
  •  If the person holds a residency permit from countries such as, Andorra, Canada, Japan, San Marino or the USA that guarantees the persons whereabouts.
  • If the person holds a valid Schengen visa or a valid visa for entering one of the EFTA countries as well as Canada, Japan or the United States, even if they are returning from those certain countries after using this visa.
  • If the person is a family member of e EU citizen (close family only)
  • If the person holds a diplomatic passport.

If you are a family member of an EU/EEA national it doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t need a visa in order to enter the Schengen zone. It only means that the procedures on obtaining a visa will be alleviated and faster. Still, in order for this to apply you have to meet certain standards such as:

  • You have to be a first degree family member of the EU/EEA citizen (husband or a child under 21years old).
  • You have to join the EU/EEA citizen in the travel destination or the residing country within the Schengen Area and have proof of that.

In the case of citizens with more than one nationality the visa requirements depend on the passport he/she chooses to travel with. If you chose to travel with a passport of a nationality that requires a mandatory visa you will have to obtain one even if you are in possession of a passport of one of the Schengen member countries but you are not willing to use it for any reason.

In case you are holding a D visa that allows you not only to enter a Schengen area but also live there for a certain period of time, holding the residency permit of the certain country you are entitled to visit any Schengen country within the 90 days period every 6 months. As seen in the following section, in order to obtain a D visa you have to have a legitimate reason.