The Schengen Agreement History and Information
Europe is a wonderful continent to travel around. There are many historical sites to see and wonderful experiences to be had but it was a mission to travel around the various countries before 1985. Many tourists would have had to obtain travel visas for every country that was on their travel itinerary, which would have added up to a lot of paperwork and a lot of expense before you even set off on the journey. However, all of this hassle was eliminated as a result of the Schengen Agreement.
The Schengen Agreement covers two different agreements that were ratified in 1985 and 1990 respectively. Between them, they abolished border controls and made transit through Europe a lot easier. The two individual agreements said the following:
- 1985 – The Schengen Agreement of 1985 was made between the Benelux Economic Union, the French Republic and the Federal Republic Of Germany. All of those governments agreed to abolish border check on the borders that they shared. Instead of stop and search tactics, every vehicle that had a green visa disc in the windscreen could simply drive on through. There were still to be guards on the borders to visually check the vehicles as they crossed into another country. This is commonly known as Schengen I.
- 1990 – The 1990 Schengen Agreement, which is also known as Schengen II, went one step further. It made provisions for the complete elimination of border checks over a period of time.
Both Schengen Agreements were a major breakthrough for the traffic in Europe. Queues would often be a mile long waiting for border patrols to wave them through, but the agreements enabled this to be brought to an end. Now people can cross into neighbouring countries without having to show any form of ID. Of course, airlines still require you to show it for security purposes, but border controls are a lot easier to navigate and do not even exist in some cases.
Sixteen European countries have now adopted the Schengen Agreement. They are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands. This is because the original Schengen Agreements were actually referred to in the framework of the European Union and included in the law.
In effect, the Schengen Agreement paved the way for the Schengen visa to come into being. Although this was not part of the original provisions of the agreement, visitors to the fifteen countries above now only need one visa for all of them. The Schengen visa can give non-members of the European Union the ability to travel unimpeded through the countries that take part in the program.
Obtaining the visa that resulted from the Schengen agreement is much the same as any visa process. You apply, send in your passport and then receive a stamp in it if you are approved. However, you have to meet certain criteria and requirements to be able to qualify for a visa under the Schengen Agreement. One of the most notable requirements is Schengen visa insurance.
Schengen visa insurance is designed to protect you in the event of an emergency, whether medical or otherwise, during your travels. The minimum level of Schengen visa insurance you must have to be able to qualify for a visa is €30,000. Without it, you would be unable to travel between the European countries that are covered by the Schengen Agreement.
Schengen visa insurance is of course just a part of the qualification process, but if you are planning on travelling to Europe then the possibility is worth looking into right away. The Schengen Agreement has paved the way for European travel to become hassle free and a much more cost efficient process. As such, obtaining Schengen visa insurance is not an issue when compared with the process you would have had to go through before!
More about the Schengen Agreement in Wikipedia.