If you want to travel to Europe, it’s very important to know about Schengen.
But it’s okay if you don’t, since we didn’t know too before we traveled and even many Europeans have no clue about what it is.
We never heard about it and, by pure luck, before we traveled, a friend asked us how long we were planing to stay in each country and we answered we didn’t know, but, according to this table from Itamaraty’s consular portal (Portuguese only), we could stay as tourists for up to 3 months in each European country. Then our friend asked us But are you aware of the Schengen area?” Our answer was “No”.
Well, dear reader, it turns out it is extremely important that, before you plan your backpack tour over Europe, you understand what is Schengen.
When we did our research, we found out traveling around Europe was not as easy as we thought. We found out it’s not so simple to be hoping from one country to another each time the 3 months period passed. We were in fact so naive… If it was so simple, everyone would be just doing that and the world would be so beautiful!
Okay, but then what is Schengen?
It is a convention/agreement among some European countries to have their borders opened for citizens of these countries to freely come and go.
The Schengen area comprises 26 countries, the so-called “Schengen state countries”.
They are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Holland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Swiss.
22 of those countries are members of the European Union, while 4 others are part of EFTA (Europe Free Trade Area).
It is important to note European Union is one thing and Schengen Area is another different thing. Don’t be confused, as both involve European countries.
Another important thing you should be aware of is some countries are still implementing the Schengen agreement (like Liechtenstein, Bulgaria, Romania e Cyprus), so, if you plan to visit one of these countries, it’s wise to check if they’re already within the Schengen area or not. Ok?
And what does this agreement mean, specifically for Brazilian citizens?
It gives free access for citizens of the member states, not to everyone all the time.
Brazilian citizens entering Europe through any Schengen country will get what is called the Schengen Visa, which is a short-term visa allowing them to stay 90 days in the Schengen area, within a 180 days period. The day count starts when you have your passport checked for the first time. The 90 days don’t need to be without interval. You may use them as you wish within 180 days, with multiple entrances allowed.
So, is it clear for you now what Schengen is?
In case you have any doubt, send us a message!
Some information was taken from the website: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/visa-policy/schengen_visa_en