Schengen member states have set up a common visa policy for a short stay (namely for stay up to three months), through the issue of a ‘Schengen visa’. Citizens of non-EU countries such as South Africa are required to hold a visa to travel to the Schengen area. A short-stay visa issued by one of the member states of the Schengen area entitles the holder to travel throughout the whole Schengen area for up to three months within a six months period. Short-stay visas are generally issued to tourists and business persons visiting specific member states.

Of importance is that an EU ID card issued for Residency provides freedom of movement and access to all EU countries and Schengen member states without the need to obtain any specific Schengen Visas for travel and access.

EU Residency and the Schengen Area

The free movement of persons is a fundamental right guaranteed by the EU to its citizens and holders of ID cards issued to citizens and residents. It entitles EU citizens and residents to travel, trade and access to any EU country without special formalities. Schengen cooperation enhances this freedom by enabling citizens to cross internal borders without being subjected to border checks. The border-free Schengen Area guarantees free movement to more than 400 million EU citizens, as well as to many non-EU nationals, businessmen, tourists and other persons legally present on EU territory.

Current and periodic border checks are mainly a result of combatting the spread of the Covid virus and only serve as a temporary measure.

Today, the Schengen Area encompasses most EU States, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania. However, Bulgaria and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area. Certain non-EU states; Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have since joined the Schengen Area.




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