Information below believed to be correct as at 01/08/2011.
Please contact the webmaster with any comments or corrections.
What is a Schengen visa?
The "Schengen space" is the territory constituted by the countries that are members of the Schengen agreement. The following countries are today active members of the Schengen agreement:
Czech Republic ο
The aim of the Schengen agreement is to allow free circulation of people within the territory (Schengen space) of the member countries.
A Schengen visa issued by a Schengen member State is valid for the territory of all member States,
All foreigners who are legally resident in one of the Schengen member States can make short visits without a visa in any other member State, provided they travel with their valid passport which must be recognized by all the Schengen States and a resident permit issued by the authorities of the country of residency. Therefore, Since the UK is not a member of the Schengen agreement, nationals who are not exempted from visa requirements by the Schengen member states and who reside permanently or temporarily in the UK need a visa to enter the Schengen Space.
Once inside Schengen space, does the passport and visa need to be shown to move from one country to another?
In practice the Schengen countries operate an open border policy between themselves. It is therefore unlikely that you will be stopped when crossing the border. Nevertheless you would be well-advised to carry the passport with visa because the legislation permits checks to be made.
For example, on the motorway northeast of Nice, there is now no border post at all and it is merely the signposts and different language to indicate that you have driven from France into Italy.
Conversely, on the motorway leading from France into Spain, there is still a border post, and signposts indicating that you need to slow to 10kph, but it appears to be rare that anyone is actually stopped.
Why do holders of Thai passports need a Schengen visa in order to enter “Schengen space”?
The legislation is contained in Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 which lists the countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement. Thailand is listed in Annex 1 and accordingly Thais need a visa to enter Schengen space.
Click here if you wish to read the Council Regulation.
However, Thais need no Schengen visa merely to transit through an airport in a Schengen country. An example would be a flight from Bangkok to Amsterdam, connecting with flight from Amsterdam to somewhere in the UK, where the person does not leave the airport in Amsterdam but merely changes planes there.
Where to apply for a visa?
Visas are to be applied for at the Embassy or Consulate of the Schengen country that is the country of your main destination.
The country of main destination is the country where you will spend the longest part of your stay in the Schengen space. If your main destination cannot be ascertained, you can apply for your visa at the Consulate of the first entry in the Schengen space.
All visa applications should be made in the country of your residence. Accordingly Thais living in the UK, that is, holding a UK Settlement visa, need to apply at the embassy or consulate in the UK of the relevant country.
Holders of merely UK visitor’s visas are unlikely to be granted Schengen visas in the UK. Any application should be submitted in the country of residence.
Where to apply ? Examples ....
Is the Republic of Ireland part of Schengen space?
No, it is not. However a visa is still required for Thai passport holders to enter the Republic of Ireland.
(Details to follow)
Of course Northern Ireland is part of the UK and accordingly a UK visa already issued is valid to visit there, in exactly the same way that no visa is needed to get from England into Wales!
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