What is the Schengen Region in Europe?

By: Chelsea Hendrickx

Schengen Region in EuropeIf you’re looking into teaching English in Europe, you may have come across something called the Schengen Region/Area in your research, but what exactly is this?

The Schengen Area is comprised of over 20 countries in Europe which have rid themselves of the strict border controls that used to exist between them. While many of the countries in this area are part of the European Union (EU), it should not be confused with the EU, as the member countries are different. Not all EU countries are a part of this area, while some non-EU countries are in it.

For complete and up to date information about which countries are members of the Schengen Area and visa requirements, visit the European Commission’s page here

Traveling between countries within the Schengen Area is similar to traveling between states within the U.S. – you can travel freely from Florida to Georgia without having to pass any border agents or show any papers, and you can do the same today from Spain into France. Prior to the creation of this agreement, you would have to show your passport at every border and receive a different entry stamp for each country. This agreement has allowed people, including English teachers to travel more freely across Europe, without having to get a specific visa or entry samp for each country.
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How long can I stay in the Schengen Region?

When you enter any country in the Schengen Area, you are not just entering that one country; you are entering the entire area. Tourists visiting any country in the area will typically have up to 90 days not just in the country of entry, but the whole region, before they are obliged to leave (the exact number of days allowed depends on your nationality). 

So if you receive a 90 day tourist visa upon entry to Italy, it’s technically a 90 day stamp for the entire Schengen Area. This means you can’t spend 90 days in Italy and then hop over to France and try to renew it for another 90 days.

when can I renew my visa for the Schengen region?

These days are counted cumulatively, not consecutively. This means that if you leave the Schengen region for a period of time, your day count will stop until you reenter the zone (for example, if you leave Spain to go to Morocco for a week, those 7 days in Morocco will not count towards your 90 days). 

If I complete my 90 day allotment, when can I reenter the Schengen Zone?

Again, this may vary based on your nationality, but for Americans, you are basically allowed to be in the Schengen Region for 90 days within a 180 day period beginning with your initial entrance into the Schengen Zone.  After 180 days, your 90-day allotment with restart.

NOTE: You cannot restart or renew your 90-day visa for the Schengen Zone simply by leaving the region and re-entering (a practice commonly known as "border hopping").

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Before traveling to Europe, it’s important to review the current regulations within the Schengen Area. Border controls can be temporarily re-imposed for reasons regarding public policy and national security. Countries may have entered or exited the agreement since you last checked. It’s crucial to be well-informed before heading over.

NOTE: Americans & Canadians can typically enter Schengen nations on a standard tourist visa without getting a visa in advance. Citizens of some other nations may need to apply for a visa in advance of arrivial. If you have questions about whether you need to get your visa in advance, please contact the consulate of any nation (or visit their website) you plan to visit to get information. 

For complete and up to date information about which countries are members of the Schengen Area and visa requirements, visit the European Commission’s page here.

Fun fact for your next trivia night: Schengen is the name of the town in Luxembourg where the initial agreement proposing this idea was signed!

What is the Schengen Region in Europe

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About the Author: Chelsea Hendrickx
Meet Chelsea - ITA Advisor

  Chelsea grew up in Southern Florida and attended the University of   Florida. Following graduation she hopped on a plane to Japan and     taught English through the JET program for two years. 

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teach abroad, Visas, TEFL, Europe visas, live abroad, Teach English in the Schengen Region, Teach English in Europe, Schengen Region


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