How to travel to the Schengen Area without visas

The Schengen is an area of European states that abolished border controls between them. The Schengen Area includes 27 countries.

Non-EU citizens usually need visas to enter the Schengen Area; however, a second passport or residency helps travel without it. Learn more about statuses suited for short-term and long-term trips to Europe.

Difference between the EU and the Schengen Area

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic coalition of 27 countries of Europe. They have a common market and foreign policy. EU governing institutions can influence the internal affairs of member countries.

The Schengen Area is a visa-free region which includes 27 countries.

Lists of the EU and Schengen member states differ. This fact must be considered when choosing the country of the second residency as some statuses, like Cyprus permanent residence or an Andorra residence permit, don’t provide the right to enter the Schengen Area without visas.

Julia Loko

Material prepared by Julia Loko, Investment programs expert

Updated:
July 17, 2024

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I travel to the Schengen countries without a visa?

    Yes, if your country of citizenship has a visa-waiver agreement with the Schengen states. For example, Caribbean countries like Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia have such agreements. Citizens of these Caribbean countries enter the Schengen Area without visas to spend up to 90 days out of 180.

    Caribbean countries also grant second citizenship by investment, making the freedom of travel available to third-country nationals.

    Another option is to be a resident of a Schengen country: a residence permit equals a visa for trips up to 90 days out of 180. Portugal, Malta, Greece, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland grant residence permits to investors and financially independent persons.

  • How long can I visit the Schengen Area without a visa?

    Short-term trips of up to 90 days out of 180 are available to Caribbean citizens and EU residents.

    If you have a residence permit in a Schengen country, you can spend as long as you wish in the country of residence. EU citizens spend an unlimited time in any country of the region.

  • Which European country does not require a Schengen visa?

    A Schengen visa is required only for entering 27 countries which are members of the Schengen Agreement. These don’t include Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, North Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK. You must get a national visa to travel to these countries if required.

  • What is the easiest country to get a Schengen visa for?

    Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are the easiest countries to get a Schengen visa as they usually approve about 97% of applications. Besides, their consulates aren’t as busy as the ones of popular travel destinations like France or Italy.

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