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Who Needs and Who Doesn’t Need a Schengen Visa to Travel to Europe?

While there are categories and nationals of countries that are privileged with entering the Schengen visa-free zone, there are also other categories and nationals, which have to go through all the process of meeting requirements and attending interviews, in order to obtain a visa that grants them with the permission to enter the Schengen Area.

Citizens of Which Countries Need a Schengen Visa to go to Europe?

The countries whose citizens are required to obtain a Schengen visa in order to enter any member country of the Schengen Area are:

AfghanistanGabonNorth Korea
AlgeriaGambiaNorthern Mariana’s
AngolaGhanaOman
ArmeniaGuineaPakistan
AzerbaijanGuinea-BissauPapua New Guinea
BahrainGuyanaPhilippines
BangladeshHaitiQatar
BelarusIndiaRussia
BelizeIndonesiaRwanda
BeninIranSao Tome And Principe
BhutanIraqSaudi Arabia
BoliviaJamaicaSenegal
BotswanaJordanSierra Leone
Burkina FasoKazakhstanSomalia
Burma/MyanmarKenyaSouth Africa
BurundiKosovaSri Lanka
CambodiaKuwaitSudan
CameroonKyrgyzstanSuriname
Cape VerdeLaosSwaziland
Central African RepublicLebanonSyria
ChadLesothoTajikistan
ChinaLiberiaTanzania
ComorosLibyaThailand
CongoMadagascarTimor-Leste
Cote D’ivoireMalawiTogo
CubaMaldivesTonga
Dem. Rep. Of CongoMaliTunisia
DjiboutiMauritaniaTurkey
Dominican RepublicMongoliaTurkmenistan
EcuadorMoroccoUganda
EgyptMozambiqueUzbekistan
Equatorial GuineaNamibiaVietnam
EritreaNepalYemen
EthiopiaNigerZambia
FijiNigeriaZimbabwe

Citizens of Which Countries Need an Airport Transit Schengen Visa?

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.

Citizens of Which Countries Don’t Need a Schengen Visa to enter Europe?

The countries whose citizens are not required to obtain a Schengen visa in order to enter any member country of the Schengen Area for tourism or business purposes are:


  • Albania*
  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina*
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • El Salvador
  • Georgia
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong S.A.R***
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Macao S.A.R***
  • Macedonia*
  • Malaysia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova*
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro*
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent
  • Samoa
  • Serbia*
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan**
  • Timor Leste
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela


* Visa-free regime applies to citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia only if they are holders of biometric passports.

** Visa-free regime applies to holders of passports issued by Taiwan only if their passport contains an identity card number.

2) Special administrative regions of the Peolple’s Republic of China:

  • Hong Kong***
  • Macao***

*** Visa-free regime applies only to holders of a “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” passport.
*** Visa-free regime applies only to holders of a “Região Administrativa Especial de Macau” passport.

3) British citizens who are not nationals of the United Kingdom (British Nationals (Overseas):

  •  British Nationals (Overseas)
  •  British Overseas Territories Citizens
  •  British Overseas Citizens
  •  British Protected Persons
  •  British Subjects

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.

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.

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