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Get around Europe
Get around Europe
There are virtually no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the Schengen Agreement, except under special circumstances during major events. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen Agreement signatory country is valid in all other countries that signed and implemented the treaty. Be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen treaty countries are members of the European Union. See the table above for the current list.
Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear passport control in the first country and then continue to your destination with no further checks. However, if travelling within the Schengen Area to or from one of the Schengen countries outside the EU, customs controls are still in place.
Travel to and from a Schengen Agreement country to any other country will result in the normal border checks. Note that, regardless of whether you traveling within Schengen or not, at some airports, airlines will still insist on seeing your ID card or passport.
As an example of the practical implications on the traveller:
Travel from Germany to France (both EU, both Schengen): no controls
Travel from Germany to Switzerland (both Schengen, Switzerland not in EU): customs checks, but no immigration control
Travel from France to the United Kingdom (both EU, UK not in Schengen): immigration control, but no customs check
Travel from Switzerland to the United Kingdom: immigration and customs checks
The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about Europe
Where To Stay & Best Hotels in Europe - updated Feb 2024
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WHERE TO TRAVEL NEXT IN 2020
Europe Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.