This article is from the Europe FAQ, by Yves Bellefeuille firstname.lastname@example.org with help from Martin Rich M.G.Rich@city.ac.uk.
Some countries in the EU have agreed to unify their entry and visa
requirements. In general, this means that once you're admitted to one of
these countries, you can go to any other, and a visa granted by one of
these countries (known as a "Schengen visa") allows you to enter any
The countries participating in this agreement are: Austria, Belgium,
Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden; Iceland and Norway also
participate even though they're not in the EU. The following EU
countries do not participate: Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the
countries expected to join the EU in 2004 (see previous section).
There are no border controls between the Schengen countries, so you
won't have to show your passport or visa when going from one country to
another. However, some countries require that you carry your passport or
identity card with you at all times and show it to a police officer on
request; these requirements remain in force.
A consequence of this is that if you're allowed to remain in a Schengen
country as a tourist for 90 days (for example), you can go to any other
Schengen country during that period, but you can't be in *any* Schengen
country once the period expires. You are also usually required to wait
for a certain period of time (often 90 days) before re-entering the
Schengen area. Please consult the consulate of the countries you're
planning to visit to know the requirements that apply to you.
If you're planning to visit more than one Schengen country and require a
visa, you should apply to the country where you're planning to spend the