Rod Heikell's Discussion of Non EU citizens visiting Schengen Zone Countries

Rod Heikell (Cruising Guide Author for the Mediterranean)

Schengen Agreement

An agreement between European countries which is intended to guarantee free movement of all people between participating countries. Land border controls have been lifted between participating countries, although controls may be imposed for exceptional circumstances. External borders with non-signatory countries and sea borders retain strict border controls. Anybody entering the Schengen area from outside should expect full immigration controls. Not all EU countries are signatories of Schengen, and the agreement includes the non-EU countries listed above.

 EU members not in Schengen:

Ireland                         (opted out)

United Kingdom         (opted out)

Cyprus (due to the partition issue)

Bulgaria (due to join in 2011)

Romania (due to join in 2011)

EU citizens, and citizens of Schengen countries may travel and live within any Schengen country on an unlimitied basis, but will be considered as a resident of any country where they reside for more than 183 days in one year.

Non EEA passport holders are permitted to stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 6 month period. If visitors spend three months within the area, they must leave the area for at least the next three months. Some people will need to obtain a visa on or before arrival. The Schengen visa is a permit to travel within this area once the application is accepted. It is not a work permit.

The list of visa-exempt countries is listed in 'Annex II' of the Schengen agreement. Those required to obtain a visa are listed in 'Annex I'. Visitors from the following countries do not require a visa, but must travel within the restrictions noted above. The list is not exhaustive and if in doubt check the requirements with your embassy.

Australia                     Israel  
Brazil                          New Zealand
Canada                      Switzerland
Croatia                        USA

In reality, visitors who do not require visas and who are travelling on their own vessel do not appear to have this time limit enforced and many have stayed longer within the Schengen area without penalty, but there is nothing to say that the regulations will not be enforced, and you may be fined for over-staying. Those who can demonstrate that they are travelling through the area are less likely to hit problems than those who stay for long periods within one country.