23 December 2007

Schengen Zone Enlarged

The biggest travel news of the week is the massive enlargement of the Schengen Zone for borderless travel in Europe. Originally signed in the town of Schengen in 1985, the agreement created a borderless zone of western European countries, mostly from the EU, which use a common set of border procedures and forms. Thus was created the Schengen visa. When you get a Schengen visa for one member state, you can travel to any other Schengen state without further papers. On 21 December 2007, the first fifteen states from western Europe (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden), were joined by nine states from eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia), forming a giant borderless zone from Lisboa, Portugal, all the way to Tallinn, Estonia; and extending up from the Mediterranean Sea to beyond the Arctic Circle. The area has a population of 400 million. Canadians can freely travel to the Schengen zone without a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. VSC can help non-citizens acquire a Schengen visa.