The Schengen Area Explained


When it comes to international borders, for
most countries they are hard barriers, separating people, cultures, money, languages, driving
sides, and more. Not to mention all the special documentation
you will need to cross that line. However, in Europe something somewhat mind-blowing
has been established. Borders that you can just stroll right across. What?! How?! Yep, those exist. This video was brought to you in part by Atlas
en Route, and from generous support on Patreon from viewers like you. Thank you. This such freedom of travel is essentially
unique to most— but not all— of the countries of the European Union. France, Germany, BeNeLux, Italy, Spain, and
several others have agreed to essentially abolish the borders between them, and let
people move as they please. This is an area called the Schengen Area,
and it can be somewhat mind-blowing to outsiders, and is the reason why I have so many Europeans
in the comments of my passports video bragging about visiting 20 countries without a passport. How is this possible? Well, it is doubtful that this would be possible
in any random collection of nations, but the EU is different, because one of the most basic
agreements of being an EU member nation is freedom of movement. If you‘re a citizen of an EU member state,
you‘re basically by extension an EU citizen, which means Germans can move to Spain, Portuguese
can work in the Netherlands, and Brits can of course *insert Brexit joke here*. With this in mind, this would explain how
the visa policy of the area works. Since people (including visiting foreigners)
can freely move into any country they want to, no Schengen Area Country has their own
visa policy, instead the countries of the Schengen Area all have to agree on one single,
collective visa policy. Thus, the Schengen Area may seem to resemble
a single country on visa policy maps, as for these intents and purposes, it kind of, sort
of is. After all, crossing from Spain into France
is logistically just like crossing from Oregon into California. Of course, now’s the time for me to at least
clarify the hopefully obvious, which is that, yes, you do still need a passport to get into
or out of the Schengen Area. So if you fly from London to Berlin, you will
still be stopped and questioned by immigration personnel, and if they see you fit to enter,
they will give you their local version of the Schengen stamp (assuming you’re from
one of the countries in green). The Schengen Area consists of 22 of the 28
members states of the EU, the exceptions being the UK and Ireland– who have a permanent
opt-out, as they argue that islands are different– and Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus,
as they basically just haven’t gotten around to it yet. However, there are actually 26 nations participating
in Schengen, as four non-EU nations– Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein– have
also decided to hop on, as well as Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City, who aren’t
formally part of this agreement, but at the same time… come on. Somewhat interestingly though, Croatia, Romania,
Bulgaria, and Cyprus, despite not currently being in the Schengen Area, are obliged to
follow the same visa policy for foreign nationals as the other states, as they don’t have
opt-outs, and are of course obligated to join sometime in the future. It should be noted, however, that while Norway,
Iceland, and Liechtenstein are part of the European Economic Area– and thus their citizens
can live and work in the EU, and vise versa– this is not true with Switzerland and the
microstates. Thus, non-Swiss can visit, but not live in
Switzerland. Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland are also
not part of the European Customs Union, which means that, crossing the German-Swiss border,
you won’t be stopped for immigration purposes, but you will likely have to declare any regulated
goods. Weirdly, this is actually the reverse with
some non-Schengen states, notably the UK and Turkey. Remember, customs and immigration are different
things. Immigration is where you get your passport
stamped, and customs is where you declare goods (for a good rule of thumb, immigration
is for people, and customs is for what the people are bringing with them). Also, perhaps it should be noted that Andorra
does *not* participate in Schengen, despite its small size. The Schengen Agreement was established on
the 14th of June, 1985 in the Luxembourgish town of Schengen (which judging from this
video’s script was really put on the map by this agreement), with the first five member
states being Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. This bloc has since grown, now encompassing
a population of 400 million people, and of those 400 million people, roughly 1.7 million
cross an international border every day, responsible for billions of euros in trade every year. Some people even wake up in one country and
make breakfast in the other, especially in places like Baarle-Nassau in the Netherlands
and Baarle-Hertog in Belgium. Normally, such a scenario would be a complete
mess, but in the Schengen Area everything’s fine, which is nice because this area is a
cool place to go as a border-obsessed tourist. However, there is still some regulation within
the Schengen Area. While there will never be border checks for
someone taking a train from Szczecin to Berlin, or their following flight to Madrid, police
can still ask them for identification at different points. Member nations are also allowed to temporarily
reintroduce border checks along certain sections of their borders with other Schengen states,
provided it’s for an emergency. Currently, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway,
and Sweden have temporarily reintroduced border checks in response to the European migrant
crisis, and France due to persistent terrorist threats. However, not all of these have to be due to
an emergency, as Malta has done this in 2010 for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit, and in 2015
for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and Estonia has also done so in 2014 when
US President Barack Obama visited. Weirdly, some Schengen states actually have
territories outside the Schengen Area. The Danish possessions of the Faroe Islands
and Greenland, as well as Norway’s visa-free Svalbard, and all of France’s overseas territories
are all exceptions to this rule, though this doesn’t always mean you have to get your
passport stamped when flying from Paris to Guadeloupe. However, these far-flung territories might
not accept visas for their mainland counterparts, so always be sure to check the visa requirements
before travelling. Granted, that’s kind of good advice for
anywhere, especially with bringing your passport. I realize the previous point about external
territories sometimes not requiring passport checks was a bit vague, but that’s because
it varies a lot, so when in doubt, just bring your passport anyways. So yeah, that’s basically one of my top
pieces of travel advice, always bring your passport if you’re not 100% sure you won’t
need it. I’ve found this out the hard way, believe
me. Anyways, if you liked this video, tell me
by giving it a like and subscribing for more every week, and I will see you on Sunday,
unless you’re also coming to VidCon this week, in which case maybe I’ll see you there!

100 thoughts on “The Schengen Area Explained

  • EU borders should be wide open to each other, but strictly controlled to who comes in from outside the EU. The fact that untold masses of possibly dangerous people from Africa and the Middle East are just waltzing into Europe is unacceptable.

  • Whoa wait a second… What do you mean there are the same rules for the UK and Turkey? So far Britain is still in the EU. Turkey is not. A customs union without EU membership is similar to full membership of the Eu? I don't get it.

  • there were some limitation added in the Schengen accords, to protect a country from being to attractive… basically, Schengen citizen can't (shouldn't) live of the benefit from another country (meaning, you can't go in another country and just live of the social system there)… you're supposed to, either have a work or the means (legals) to pay for your prolonged stay… if you stay for more than 3 months without work or the means to live there without relying on the social system (or illegal means, such as crime and whatever is illegal in said country), you're send off back…
    peoples vocal against Europe in general and Schengen in particular, often forget about this… because many don't enforce this rule with all due diligence… mostly because some "open border" activists do all they can to make it "racist" or inhuman or whatever to enforce it… and so, "left extremists" give free material to "right extremists" for their anti Europe talk…

  • I am borned in 1991 and I can't imagine border checks, it's absolutely sci-fi for me. I saw it only once at Switzerland border in 2006. Fortunetly it was like "Are you white? Ok, you can go". 😀

  • 2:28 HAVEN'T GONE AROUND TO IT YET? F*cking Netherlands have been disapproving Bulgaria for years with some dumb excuses. Even tho my country isn't in the schengen area,crossing isn't such a big deal – the guy at the border looks at your ID card,then takes a quick look inside your car to see everyone's faces and then you are good to go. This process usually takes around a minute at most…BUT in the summer alot,and I mean ALOT of Bulgarians prefer the aegean sea over the black sea,and because of this crossing the borders doesn't take a few seconds….- It takes around 3-5 hours waiting in traffic,sometimes even a whole day if it's a national holiday. This just shows how things work behind the scenens

  • You also dont need a passport to travel from Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and probably Cyprus into the Schengen area. You just need your personal ID card (which you are required to have with you by law in all public places anyway).
    Also the citizens of countries which made up former Yugoslavia also dont need any passport to travel inside that former Yugoslavia area, just an ID card. I am not sure if that applies to other Europeans though.

  • The schengen laws arent worth much, as the countries break them without consequence. The border controls austria and germany have been enforcing for 3 years are illegal but they still get away with it. By schengen agreement they can setup a hard border control for 6 months due to an emergency and can renew this twice, but these controls have been up for 3+ years now.

  • With my Spanish national ID cars (aka the Passport card in the United States), I can travel passport free to all the countries in the European continent except RUS, BY and UA, the Republic of Georgia, Turkey, Montserrat (yeah, for real) and Tunisia/Jordan on organised trips + Morocco on day trips apparently. And of course you can travel with it to territories such as Guadeloupe (which I did from Paris in 2012 on a “regional fly” lmao). Passport? Nah thx

  • Swiss, Liechtensteiner, Norwegian and Icelandic are not allowed to live in Schengen EU area without visa they are only allowed to travel only but to do business, work, school or live there is another topic

  • Oversease territories of EU membres (Netherlands, France and the UK) are not part of Schengen area though they have Schengen passport

  • The 4 micro-states of Andorra, san Marino, Monaco and Vatican are open borders only but they are not part of EU neither Schengen they even use Euro too

  • I live in Tyrol and we go buy cheaper things in Germany and Italy. one capitel is nearer to me than vienna. And it is the capitel of liechtenstein

  • 3:12 Wrong, Switzerland and th EU have bilateral agreements allowing Swiss and EU citizens to live in both places

  • I've just returned from an EU trip. The first time I crossed the German-Dutch borders blew my mind honestly. The absence of that humiliation and waiting in line for hours straight just to get your passport stamped… after having to apply for a visa worrying whether it will be accepted or not… all the papers one has to provide…

    I know my country is by far not the best country out there (Ukraine), but hey… at least we are, for now, one of the green ones…😅 Being able to just purchase the ticket without worries does feel nice.

    I've visited Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Austria. The absence of borders makes you wanna cry at how far ahead some people are into the future… or how others are still stuck back in the past.

    🇪🇺 Lang lebe Europa…

    Also, although I loved all people, but special shout out to the Dutch 🇳🇱. I loved you, people. Friendliest folk I ever came across… 🙂

  • The video is super nice but there is a thing that is not true, EU Citizens can work and live in Switzerland if they want to, just that the Swiss Government will give them a Work Permit (that is really easy to get) you just have to enter Switzerland, register yourself in the City Hall of the city you want to live, they will give you a Permit for 3 months which allows you to look for a job then when you get the job they will give you a Work Permit from 1 to 5 years depending on your contract. When your Work Permit is finished you can easily renew it. If you are not an EU Citizen then you can not follow these procedures, what you can do is look for a job (Qualified jobs only) from your country and then the company that wants to hire you will need to demonstrate that there is no other Swiss or EU Citizen that can do that job (Similar to the US Work Visa) Cheers!

    EDIT: And of course Swiss Citizens can work and live in the European Union as well.

  • Ok poland not exist in your bolschit film this ist most important borders EU and cantry whit Frontex centre…….

  • There'll be border controls between England and Scotland in the next few years after the UK breaks up and Scotland rejoins the EU. You'll need a visa to cross into either country and, along with the tariffs (tho thirds of Scottish exports go to England) it will certainly present new challenges to Scottish business.

  • Wait, you outside EU still need passports?!
    And that the hell is a passport!?
    Visa check!? I use MasterCard!

  • One thing, that many people don't get about freedom of movement in the EU:

    You can live in any other EU country, BUT you either need a lot of money (plus health insurance) or a job (with included health insurance) and mostly an accommodation.

    Let's say, someone from Italy moves to Germany without any job and no money. Since he has no Job, it means, that the person has to pay by their own for the health insurance. A migrating person has 3 months (around that time) to find a Job. Legally, one cannot apply for social welfare for at least 5 years after migrating. That means, someone, who doesen't comply with the requirements, will be deported back to Italy, eventhough it's the EU.

    Studying in any EU country works perfectly fine, as long as someone has at least a health insurance. For instance, in Germany you will be kicked out of the university, if you forget or can't afford to pay your health insurance! On a sidenote: If someone is still studying, the person is covered by the parents health insurance until the age of 25.

  • I am applying for a Slovakian residence permit, trust me they have really fucking strict rules, they want each and every document translated in Slovak. i am bankrupted after paying translation money.

  • The Visa thing is not completely true, the Visa situation outside of Europe is not the same for every Schengen country. For example Germans don't need a Visa for Turkey, while Belgians need to purchase a Visa on arrival. Just to correct you.

  • Here in Germany we only need a passport for Ukraine and Belarus as far as Europe is concerned. We can even visit Turkey, Egypt and (in certain cases) Tunisia with our ID.

    However, it is important that you carry your travel documents with you. Illegal entry into another country is still a crime regardless of border controls.

  • The beginning sounds weird for me, I live in EU almost all of my life, in the town that is almost on the border of two countries and you are wondering about something such obvious for me xd

  • In most EU airports, you don’t need to go through the whole immigration process, if you’re travelling within EU. Basically as an EU citizen I can just use my Czech ID card at the airport if I’m travelling within Shengen/EU 😀 So much faster

  • The EU is rubbish! Decent people and serious businessmen must ask for a complicated Schengen visa or participate in the so called golden visa investment plan (300.000 euros) while illegal migrants can easily cross the borders and be settled in the EU with such an ease and receive privileges that even EU citizens can only dream about! Free money, free housing, everything free …
    A country that doesn't control its borders isn't a country!
    Most of the EU countries can't be considered as European anymore! Go to major cities in Germany, France, the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Italy etc!! I can say with confidence that I have more freedom and prosperity in my own Middle Eastern country Jordan than most of Europe! There are more mosques in Paris and London than in Amman! There are more crimes in Athens than in Johannesburg … all the rubbish Albanians, Georgians, Pakistani, Afghani, Bulgarian and Romanian gypsies are gathered for one purpose .. to steal and kill!!
    Europe is overwhelming by liberalism and liberal idiots who're destroying Europe and it's cultural heritage! The glorious days of Europe are gone!! You walk in the streets of Germany where all those rubbish migrants are gathered, doing nothing but smoking Shisha and making money doing illegal business!! Other like the Pakistanis are laundering and transferring money illegally. The Albanians and Georgians are hired killers and thieves. The Romanian and Bulgarian gypsies are stealing whatever possible to be stolen …
    Great Europe!!

  • I don't think border control pays much attention to American passport holders. I spen …. Err, know someone who spent 5 continuous months in Schengen and no one batted an eye when he left.

  • i am from the uk and i would like us to join the schengen area even though brexit and all the rubbish. it’s just some people in our county are just so moody and stubborn and can’t change.

  • Ana araf schengen wo da ai schengen i love schengen je me amor les schengen я лубу шенгенский зона yo me encanto schengen

  • As EU/EEA Citizens you can move to Switzerland without a visa you just have to register with town hall and Swiss Citizens can move freely within the EEA

  • Still stuck with a damn passport because I'm from Romania, and Romania is not in Schengen zone. Because of its corruption. :((

  • The EU is an amazing place… If it weren’t for the EU, JackSepticEye and Pewdiepie wouldn’t exist, just as much as your jokes about Oregon being like the Netherlands in the GDP comparison video

  • Your piece on Europeans not being able to live and work in Switzerland because it isn't in the EEA is wrong. While not formally in the EEA, Switzerland's 120 or so bilateral agreements with the EU make it a de facto member of the single market, meaning it partakes in EU freedoms of movement. So yes, a German does have the right to live and work in Switzerland.

  • 3:29 Wondered if this has created a loophole that some may have tried to exploit, by trying to smuggle goods by crossing the border in vehicles that appear to be carrying only passengers, no goods (so that they might be less likely to be stopped by customs)

  • I drive to Germany once in a while to get cheaper beer and wine..
    Its so funny that this border crossing thing is so unusual for foreigners.

  • Благодаря Шенгенской зоне, мне как жителю Санкт-петербурга, куда дешевле и быстрее добраться почти до любой точки Европы, чем путешествовать по своей стране.

  • I love it how Europeans get so excited about being able to drive within the same time zone without a passport. Reminds me of a young Ryan Gosling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEawY0FUaEQ&t=0m15s

  • Could you keep running that same video clip a few more times? The mom and the two kids going around the pole to the EU arrival section, that really grows on me, like a cancer.

  • The UK only said they should be different is because of "Good Friday Agreement" A treaty signed by UK and Ireland to stop the Irish bombing the UK over Northern Ireland. Did you know that we actually need ID checks (and told to bring a passport) if going from England to Northern Ireland on the ferry (despite being in the same country the UK) because one can walk freely into Ireland. People who live in Ireland/Northern Ireland can travel across the border as much as they want freely but both need ID to catch the ferry to England. This is to stop anyone going to Ireland, crossing the border to Northern Ireland (Which pretty makes them in the UK) and hopping to England.

  • I love this about Europe I live in the Netherlands and I have travelled to Germany, France, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and others. Some countries are expensive but some like Poland are cheap so it's just a matter of taking the car booking a hotel and going out there

  • Dude Euro road trip in 2017 no body asked me for ID or passport I hardly saw police anyway….super civilized area and peaceful

  • In Switzerland you’ll get reamed if you don’t have your passport even as a Swiss citizen when entering. Especially with the migrant crisis it’s extremely important to bring at least your ID with you at all times when you travel (obviously lol)

  • 0:40 An American approach to Europe: "France, Germany, Benelux, Italy, Spain… and several others…." LOL! Like the Central-Eastern part of Europe doesn't exist, still!!! And who would bother naming at least the Visegrad Four countries of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in a video about Schengen, right? So typical! LOL!

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