The Schengen Treaty was signed between five countries that are members of the European Economic Community (France, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) in the Schengen town of Luxembourg in 1985 to completely eliminate police and customs controls at border crossings.
In 1990, a new process began with the adoption of the convention for the implementation of this agreement. Although the provisions of the treaty were separate from European Union law until 1997, they were incorporated into community law by the Treaty of Amsterdam made on that date.
The free movement of persons under the agreement is a fundamental right guaranteed to EU citizens. Every EU citizen has the right to travel, work and live in any EU country without special formalities. The Schengen cooperation aimed to create a more libertarian structure by enabling citizens to cross internal borders without being subjected to border controls.
The unrestricted Schengen zone grants free movement rights to more than 400 million EU citizens and many non-EU citizens who are legally on EU territory, businessmen, tourists or other persons.
Conditions for Joining The Schengen Area
Joining the Schengen area is not just a political decision. Countries must also meet the requirements of the preconditions. These prerequisites are:
- To co-operate on behalf of other Schengen countries in controlling borders and issuing uniform Schengen visas
- Cooperate with law enforcement agencies of other Schengen states to ensure high levels of security after border controls between Schengen countries are lifted,
- Inclusion in the Schengen Information System (SIS) to enforce Schengen rules such as land, sea and air borders (airports) controls, visa issuance, police co-operation and protection of personal data,
- To be involved in the process of “Schengen evaluation” before joining the Schengen area and periodically to ensure proper implementation of the legislation.
Common Visa Policy
With a short-term visa issued by one of the Schengen states, you can travel for up to 90 days in 26 Schengen countries in any 180 days. Visas for visits exceeding this period are subject to national procedures.
VIS visa Information System
Along with emerging technology, large-scale IT systems have been developed to collect, process and share information on EU, border management. The visa Information System, which supports the implementation of the common EU visa policy, is one of these tools.
The visa Information System (VIS) consists of a central IT system and a communication infrastructure connecting this central system to national systems, providing data exchange for visa information between Schengen states.
This system connects consulates in non-EU countries and all external border crossing points of Schengen states. It processes data and decisions on short-term visa applications for visiting or crossing the Schengen area. The system can implement biometric matching for fingerprint identification and verification purposes.