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The Schengen visa has made traveling between the 26 member countries of the Schengen area (22 European Union states and 4 non-EU members) much simpler and easier. Traveling on a Schengen visa means that the visa holder can travel to all (or all) member countries on a single visa, avoiding the hassle and expense of obtaining individual visas for each country. This is particularly advantageous for people who want to visit several European countries during the same trip. The Schengen visa is a visitor visa. It is issued to citizens of countries that require a visa before entering Europe.
Purpose The purpose of the visit must be leisure, tourism or business. Once the visa is issued, the visa holder is allowed to enter all member countries and travel freely throughout the Schengen area for the duration indicated on the visa, up to a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. It is highly recommended to plan your trip within the stated validity period of your Schengen visa as it can be very difficult to obtain extensions, forcing you to comply with Schengen rules and regulations in order to stay. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in any 6 month period, but shorter visas may be granted.
Schengen visa countries All Schengen countries are in Europe. However, it should not be confused with the EU (European Union). The European Union and the Schengen Area originate from two different agreements between European countries. A total of 26 countries, including all European Union countries (except Ireland and the United Kingdom) and four non-EU members (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), have signed the Schengen Agreement.
DANGER! Schengen visa holders are not allowed to live or work permanently in Europe. Schengen visa holders only have the right to travel to member countries for business or pleasure as a temporary visitor. For information on the possibility of living in Europe, see our Residence Permits page.