Schengen Visa - EC Council Resolution

Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001

of 15 March 2001

listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals 

are exempt from that requirement

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 62, point (2)(b)(i) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission(1),

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament(2),

Whereas:


(1) Under Article 62, point (2)(b) of the Treaty, the Council is to adopt rules relating to visas for intended stays of no more than three 

months, and in that context it is required to determine the list of those third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas 

when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement. Article 61 cites those lists among 

the flanking measures which are directly linked to the free movement of persons in an area of freedom, security and justice.


(2) This Regulation follows on from the Schengen acquis in accordance with the Protocol integrating it into the framework of the 

European Union, hereinafter referred to as the "Schengen Protocol". It does not affect Member States' obligations deriving from the 

acquis as defined in Annex A to Decision 1999/435/EC of 20 May 1999 concerning the definition of the Schengen acquis for the purpose 

of determining, in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Treaty establishing the European Community and the Treaty on 

European Union, the legal basis for each of the provisions or decisions which constitute the acquis(3).


(3) This Regulation constitutes the further development of those provisions in respect of which closer cooperation has been 

authorised under the Schengen Protocol and falls within the area referred to in Article 1, point B, of Decision 1999/437/EC of 17 May 

1999 on certain arrangements for the application of the Agreement concluded by the Council of the European Union and the Republic 

of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway concerning the association of those two States with the implementation, application and 

development of the Schengen acquis(4).


(4) Pursuant to Article 1 of the Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland annexed to the Treaty on European Union 

and to the Treaty establishing the European Community, Ireland and the United Kingdom are not participating in the adoption of this 

Regulation. Consequently and without prejudice to Article 4 of the aforementioned Protocol, the provisions of this Regulation apply 

neither to Ireland nor to the United Kingdom.


(5) The determination of those third countries whose nationals are subject to the visa requirement, and those exempt from it, is 

governed by a considered, case-by-case assessment of a variety of criteria relating inter alia to illegal immigration, public policy and 

security, and to the European Union's external relations with third countries, consideration also being given to the implications of 

regional coherence and reciprocity. Provision should be made for a Community mechanism enabling this principle of reciprocity to be 

implemented if one of the third countries included in Annex II to this Regulation decides to make the nationals of one or more Member 

States subject to the visa obligation.


(6) As the Agreement on the European Economic Area exempts nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway from the visa 

requirement, these countries are not included in the list in Annex II hereto.


(7) As regards stateless persons and recognised refugees, without prejudice to obligations under international agreements signed by the 

Member States and in particular the European Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees, signed at Strasbourg on 20 April 1959, 

the decision as to the visa requirement or exemption should be based on the third country in which these persons reside and which 

issued their travel documents. However, given the differences in the national legislation applicable to stateless persons and to 

recognised refugees, Member States may decide whether these categories of persons shall be subject to the visa requirement, where 

the third country in which these persons reside and which issued their travel documents is a third country whose nationals are exempt 

from the visa requirement.


(8) In specific cases where special visa rules are warranted, Member States may exempt certain categories of persons from the visa 

requirement or impose it on them in accordance with public international law or custom.


(9) With a view to ensuring that the system is administered openly and that the persons concerned are informed, Member States 

should communicate to the other Member States and to the Commission the measures which they take pursuant to this Regulation. For 

the same reasons, that information should also be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.


(10) The conditions governing entry into the territory of the Member States or the issue of visas do not affect the rules currently 

governing recognition of the validity of travel documents.


(11) In accordance with the principle of proportionality stated in Article 5 of the Treaty, enacting a Regulation listing the third 

countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders, and those whose nationals are exempt 

from that requirement, is both a necessary and an appropriate means of ensuring that the common visa rules operate efficiently.


(12) This Regulation provides for full harmonisation as regards the third countries whose nationals are subject to the visa requirement 

for the crossing of Member States' external borders, and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement. However, the 

application of the exemption from the visa requirement for nationals of certain third countries, which are listed in Annex II, will come 

into force only later. To that end, the Council will take a decision for each of those countries on the basis of reports drawn up by the 

Commission,


HAS ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:


Article 1


1. Nationals of third countries on the list in Annex I shall be required to be in possession of a visa when crossing the external borders 

of the Member States.


2. Without prejudice to Article 8(2), nationals of third countries on the list in Annex II shall be exempt from the requirement set out in 

paragraph 1, for stays of no more than three months in all.

...

ANNEX II

Common list referred to in Article 1(2)

1. STATES

...
Canada

...

United States of America

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