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Schengen Area: How immigration works in EuropaVou na Janela

You’ve probably heard of the Schengen Area at some point when planning your trip to Europe, haven’t you? But what is this Schengen Area and how does it work?


Before explaining what the Schengen Area is and how it works, I will leave some important links below about immigration in Europe. If you don’t know where you’re going to do your immigration, or don’t know what documents to bring, I recommend reading these posts below.

Tips for going through immigration in Europe without fear
How to stay more than 90 days in Europe without being deported
Where will I do immigration in Europe?

What is the Schengen Area

The Schengen Zone or Area is a set of European countries that have abolished border control among themselves. In this way, inhabitants and visitors are able to travel between countries without having to submit to border document control. In reality, the borders don’t even exist.

For locals, it is not necessary to present any documents to go from one country to another and for visitors passport control is not necessary.

The Schengen Area emerged from a treaty signed in 1985 in the small village of Schengen in Luxembourg in the wake of the creation of the European Union. At the time, 5 countries signed the treaty, which only came into effect in 1995.

Over the years, more countries have joined the treaty and opened their borders to member countries. Currently, 26 countries are part of the agreement that includes almost all member countries of the European Union and some associated countries.

These are the member countries:

Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Switzerland.

How does the Schengen Area work?

How does the Schengen Area work?

As I said above, the Schengen Area allows free movement between its member countries. For those who have never been to Europe, it is like crossing from one state to another here in Brazil, where there is no border control whatsoever.

When we travel to Europe and disembark in a Schengen Area member country, entry immigration control is done in the first country we arrive. As well as the departure control will be done in the last country of the Schengen Area in which we will transit, even if it is just a connection at the airport.

After passing through immigration once, all subsequent legs in other member countries are considered domestic legs.

An example: you will travel to France with TAP Portugal. After Paris, you will still do Holland and Germany before returning to Brazil. That way, your immigration will be in Lisbon, as this will be your first stop in Europe within the Schengen Area. Both the section from Portugal to France and then to the Netherlands and Germany will be considered domestic sections, without the need for passport control.

I already wrote a post where I give several practical examples flying with airlines that operate in Brazil. Take a look.

Schengen Area
The treaty facilitates travel between member countries

Some things you need to know:

  • Brazilians do not need a visa to enter Europe, regardless of the country and whether or not it is part of the Schengen Area.
  • When passing through immigration in these countries, we receive a visa valid for 90 days of stay for every 6 months of visit.
  • The residence permit for European countries that are not members of the Schengen Area varies. For example, Brazilians receive a visa for up to 6 months of stay in the United Kingdom.
  • Travel insurance is mandatory to visit Europe, get your insurance here with special discounts. Use the 5% discount coupon for readers: VOUNAJANELA5.
  • The complete list of documents to go through immigration in Europe can be found in this post.


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