The Schengen Visa has made traveling between its 15 European member countries much easier and less bureaucratic. Traveling on a Schengen Visa means that the visa holder can travel to any (or all) member countries using one single visa, thus avoiding the hassle and expense of obtaining individual visas for each country. This is particularly beneficial for persons who wish to visit several European countries on the same trip. The Schengen visa is a “visitor visa”. It is issued to citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa before entering Europe.
The purpose of the visit must be leisure, tourism, or business. Upon the issuance of the visa, the visa holder is allowed to enter all member countries and travel freely throughout the Schengen area. It is strongly recommended to plan your journey within the timeframe of the Schengen Visa as extensions can be very difficult to obtain, thus forcing you to leave to stay in compliance with the Schengen rules and regulations. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period. All Schengen countries are in Europe.
However, it should not be confused with the EU (European Union). Schengen and European Union are two different agreements between European countries. A total of 30 countries, including all European Union countries (except Ireland and United Kingdom) and three non-EU members (Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland) have signed the Schengen agreement. However, only 15 countries have implemented the common border .
The following 15 countries are currently active Schengen Visa members:
• The Netherlands