The Difference Between the EU Union and Schengen Countries

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Although there is a common misunderstanding about the EU and Schengen countries being the same, they are in fact two different entities. The EU is made up of 27 member nation-states that are within Europe, almost all of the countries in the EU are part of the Schengen area but not all are. For example, Ireland is in the EU but not in Schengen and Britain was in the same situation before Brexit. These countries opted not to enter the Schengen zone.

What is the EU and which countries are in the EU?

The EU is a political and economic union which was initially formed to help promote peace across the member countries in 1993, although prior to this a number of European countries had unity agreements for trade and other purposes.
Since the EU was first formed, more countries have joined to enable EU citizens to have free movement between the countries and the right to live, work, study and retire in any EU country. The EU’s trade structure is so successful that it became the second-largest economy in the world, after China.

The EU countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

What is the Schengen Area and which countries are Schengen member states?

There are 26 countries in the Schengen Area who have signed the Schengen Agreement. The majority of Schengen countries are in the EU but Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are Schengen members that are not in the EU. Schengen also includes three microstates Monaco, Vatican City and San Marino.
The Schengen Area is a zone in Europe where border control has been abolished at each country’s border, to allow free movement over the national borders. However, there is a common set of rules to determine who is allowed to enter the Schengen zone and the countries work in collaboration to protect the area from high-risk travellers.

The Schengen countries are:

The 26 countries that are currently included in the Schengen Zone are:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
There are also some countries that are currently going through the process of joining the Schengen. These are Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Cyprus.

Is the ETIAS and Schengen Visa the same?

The ETIAS will be required for travellers entering the Schengen Area from countries such as Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, US, Canada and many more that are listed as ETIAS countries . Citizens of Schengen countries will not require an ETIAS, while citizens from countries such as China, Russia, India and African countries will require a Schengen visa rather than ETIAS. Travellers should check which form of travel authorization is required for their country of origin.
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