What changes await the Schengen zone and how they will affect freedom of movement

June 9, 2021
Visa-free travel in Schengen: a strategy to strengthen borders
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The European Commission has presented a strategy, according to which countries will strengthen control of the external borders of the Schengen area. And border checks inside the region will be weakened. We tell you what changes await Schengen and those who plan to travel to Europe.

The Schengen zone is the largest free movement of people and goods. 26 European countries have signed an agreement to abolish passport and immigration controls at borders between states.

3.5 million people

cross the internal Schengen borders daily

The 2015 immigration crisis and the coronavirus pandemic have affected the Schengen Agreement’s main goal of free movement within the region: states have closed borders and imposed restrictions on entry, including for citizens of EU member states.

Closed borders within the Schengen area interfere with the functioning of the single European market, which guarantees the free movement of goods, capital, services and people across the territory of the European Union.

Restrictions have affected the daily life of citizens of border regions and those who work in another EU country. For example, German residents sometimes have to wait at the border for two hours to get to work in Belgium. Border guards check passengers for symptoms of the coronavirus.

1.7 million people

living in one Schengen country and working in another

Border delays have affected tourism, local workers and cross-border services such as mail. The European Commission has estimated the direct cost of border delays at five billion euros per year.

Internal border controls have also been imposed in some countries because of increased illegal migration and terrorist attacks in Europe, such as in Germany, France, Austria and Denmark.

What changes await the Schengen zone

On June 2, 2021, the European Commission presented a strategy to strengthen the Schengen zone and create a free space for the movement of citizens within the union. The strategy includes three main goals.

Strengthening border controls at Schengen external borders. From January 1, 2022, tourists who have the right to travel without a visa in Schengen will require a special permit. Citizens of these countries will be checked through the electronic system ETIAS.

The Council of Europe passed a decree on changes to the visa information system in order to prevent illegal migration to EU states. We told you what changes are waiting for Schengen visa applicants.

By the end of 2027, the permanent corps of the European Border and Coast Guard will be established.

The abolition of internal customs controls between the countries of the region. Governments would have to establish internal cooperation of border services and act in a coordinated manner during critical situations. During the pandemic, each country determined its own rules of entry.

The EU will revise the procedure of information exchange between member states and amend the Code of Police Cooperation, in particular on the exchange of information by Europol.

Ensuring reliable Schengen governance. The European Commission recommended that Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia be admitted more quickly to Schengen so that internal border controls at the borders of these countries can be removed.

By the end of 2021, the European Commission will also submit regulations with proposals for monitoring those entering Schengen territory.

How to travel through Schengen without a visa

Russians need a Schengen visa to enter the European Union. Some countries issue visas only for travel for a good reason, others have begun to issue tourist visas, such as Greece and Spain. We told you how to get a Schengen visa in the summer of 2021.

In addition to a visa, some countries require an electronic questionnaire to be filled out before entry, a negative PCR test or a certificate of vaccination. Russia has resumed flights to several countries, while others can be reached by special flights or through connections.

In order not to worry about a visa and to visit Schengen countries freely, investors receive a residence permit in the European Union. The status entitles them to enter the territory of their state at any time, even during a pandemic.

Residents also have the right to move around Schengen countries, subject to quarantine restrictions. And from July 1, 2021, EU residents will be free to travel within the region with “covid passports”.

Residence permit by investment for visa-free entry to Schengen

🌎 Status and country 💵 Investments
Residence permit in Austria for financially independent persons From €100,000
Maltese Permanent residence From €112,000
Greek residence permit From €250,000
Permanent residency in Cyprus From €300,000
Portugal Residence Permit From €350,000
Swiss residence permit for financially independent persons From ₣ 450,000
Spain Residence Permit From €500,000

Citizens of Caribbean countries and Vanuatu also travel without a visa to Schengen countries. If the country is still closed to tourists, you can travel to Europe in 2021 with a passport of these countries if you have a good reason.

Caribbean passport for visa-free entry to Schengen

🌎 Status and country 💵 Investments
Citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda From $ 100,000
Citizenship of Dominica From $ 100,000
Citizenship of St. Lucia From $ 100,000
Citizenship of St. Kitts and Nevis From $ 150,000
Citizenship of Grenada From $ 150,000
Citizenship of Vanuatu From $ 130,000

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for Caribbean and European citizenship and residency programs by investment. If you want to travel freely in the Schengen area, seek advice from the experts in the investment programs.

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