Europe Schengen Country List| Get visa from Bangladesh 2023|Advantages & Disadvantages
Europe’s Schengen Area is a fascinating concept that has revolutionized travel for millions of people. Comprising 26 countries in the heart of Europe, the Schengen Area has abolished internal borders, enabling travelers to move freely without the need for passports or visas.
The Schengen Area – A Brief Overview
The Schengen Area is named after the Schengen Agreement, which was signed in 1985 in the small village of Schengen, Luxembourg. The agreement aimed to create a borderless area where the free movement of people could flourish, fostering greater economic, social, and cultural integration among the participating countries.
Member Countries of the Schengen Area
As of my last update in September 2021, the Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries. Here is a list of these countries:
- Czech Republic
Other European Countries
While the Schengen Area covers a significant portion of Europe, it’s essential to note that not all European countries are part of this agreement. Some European Union (EU) member states, like Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia, have not yet joined the Schengen Area, and others, such as the United Kingdom, have opted out entirely. Additionally, non-EU countries like Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City are also not part of the Schengen Area.
Advantages of the Schengen Area
The Schengen Area offers numerous advantages to both travelers and member countries, making it one of the most remarkable achievements in European integration. Here are some of the key advantages of Schengen countries:
No Internal Borders: One of the most significant advantages of the Schengen Area is the elimination of internal borders among member countries. This means that travelers can move freely between these countries without encountering passport controls or border checks, making travel within the Schengen Zone much more convenient and efficient.
Seamless Travel Experience: With no border controls within the Schengen Area, travelers can enjoy a seamless and hassle-free travel experience. This allows for easier exploration of multiple countries on a single trip, enhancing tourism and cultural exchange among member countries.
Simplified Visa Process: The Schengen visa allows travelers to visit multiple countries within the Schengen Area with a single visa. This eliminates the need to apply for separate visas for each country, streamlining the visa application process and reducing bureaucratic hurdles.
Boost to Tourism and Economy: The borderless nature of the Schengen Area has led to a significant boost in tourism among member countries. With easy movement between nations, tourists are more inclined to visit various destinations within the area, contributing to the economies of individual countries.
Enhanced Economic Integration: The Schengen Agreement has facilitated greater economic cooperation and integration among member countries. It has led to the free movement of goods, services, and capital, promoting trade and investment opportunities.
Cultural Exchange and Understanding: The open borders foster cultural exchange and understanding among the diverse populations of Schengen countries. People from different nations can interact more freely, leading to greater appreciation and tolerance of various cultures.
Fostering Cooperation and Solidarity: The Schengen Area represents a strong commitment to cooperation and solidarity among European nations. It showcases the willingness of member countries to work together toward common goals, fostering peace and stability in the region.
Facilitating Business Travel: For business travelers, the Schengen Area offers significant advantages. It enables easier access to potential clients, partners, and conferences across multiple countries, facilitating international business activities.
Research and Academic Collaboration: Scholars, researchers, and students benefit from the Schengen Agreement, as it allows for easier collaboration and mobility within the academic community. This encourages joint research projects, student exchanges, and academic conferences.
Streamlined Law Enforcement Cooperation: The Schengen Information System (SIS) enables information sharing and cooperation among member countries’ law enforcement agencies, facilitating the fight against crime and terrorism across borders.
The Schengen Area has proven to be a groundbreaking initiative that has reshaped European travel, economy, and social interactions. The advantages of the Schengen Agreement extend beyond tourism and economic benefits, as it also symbolizes the spirit of unity and cooperation among diverse European nations, fostering a stronger and more integrated continent.
Disadvantages of Schengen Areas
While the Schengen Area has brought many benefits, it is essential to acknowledge that it also comes with some disadvantages. Here are some of the potential drawbacks of the Schengen Agreement:
Border Security Concerns: With the elimination of internal borders, there are increased challenges in controlling external borders. A security breach in one Schengen country could potentially allow criminals or illegal immigrants to move freely across multiple countries within the area, making it difficult to track and apprehend individuals engaged in illegal activities.
Asymmetric Migration Pressures: Schengen Area countries experience asymmetric migration pressures. Some countries, particularly those with coastal borders in Southern Europe, often bear the brunt of irregular migration flows. This can lead to tensions and disputes among member countries regarding the distribution of asylum seekers and migrants.
Rise in Cross-Border Crime: The free movement of people can inadvertently facilitate cross-border crime, such as human trafficking, drug smuggling, and organized crime. Criminals can exploit the open borders to evade law enforcement and carry out illegal activities across different countries, making it challenging to address transnational crimes effectively.
Pressure on Social Services: The unrestricted movement of people can lead to an increase in the use of social services in certain member countries. For instance, migrants and travelers might utilize healthcare, education, and other public services in countries where they are not contributing through taxes, potentially putting strain on the resources of those host nations.
Impact on Employment and Wages: In some instances, the free movement of labor can lead to wage disparities and job competition. Workers from countries with lower average wages might move to countries with higher wages, which can create tensions among the local workforce and impact employment opportunities.
Challenge to National Sovereignty: As countries surrender some aspects of their border controls to participate in the Schengen Area, there can be concerns about a loss of national sovereignty. Some critics argue that decisions regarding who enters and leaves a country should be under the direct control of the nation-state.
Potential for Terrorism: The open borders within the Schengen Area can create opportunities for terrorists to move undetected between countries, making it more challenging for security agencies to monitor and prevent terrorist activities effectively.
While the Schengen Area has undoubtedly improved travel and economic integration within Europe, it is essential to consider the potential disadvantages that come with it. Addressing these challenges requires close cooperation among member countries to ensure the security and well-being of their citizens while maintaining the benefits of seamless travel and enhanced cultural exchange. Striking the right balance is crucial to make the Schengen Area a successful model for European integration.
How to Get Schengen Visa from Bangladesh?
Get Schengen visa from Bangladesh involves a specific set of steps and requirements. Below are the detailed steps to apply for a Schengen visa:
Determine the Appropriate Schengen Country: The first step is to determine which Schengen country you plan to visit or spend the most time in during your trip. This country will be the main destination for your visa application. If you intend to visit multiple Schengen countries with an equal duration of stay, you should apply at the embassy or consulate of the country you will enter first.
Check Visa Requirements: Visit the official website of the embassy or consulate of the chosen Schengen country in Bangladesh to check the specific visa requirements. Each country may have slightly different requirements, but generally, the following documents are commonly required:
- Completed visa application form
- Passport: Valid for at least three months beyond the intended departure from the Schengen area and with at least two blank pages for visa stamps.
- Recent passport-sized photographs meeting specific requirements.
- Proof of travel arrangements: Round-trip flight reservation or itinerary.
- Proof of accommodation: Hotel reservations or an invitation letter from a host in the Schengen country.
- Travel insurance: Valid for the entire duration of your trip and covering at least €30,000 in medical expenses and repatriation.
- Proof of sufficient funds: Bank statements for the last six months, showing you have enough funds to cover your expenses during the stay.
- Travel itinerary: Details of your planned activities and places to visit.
- Proof of employment or business: Letter from your employer or company stating your position, salary, and approved leave (if employed) or business registration documents (if self-employed).
- No Objection Certificate (NOC): If you’re a student, you’ll need an NOC from your educational institution. If employed, you may need an NOC from your employer.
- Additional documents may be required based on your purpose of travel (e.g., invitation letter for business, enrollment letter for study, etc.).
Schedule an Appointment: Once you have gathered all the required documents, schedule an appointment with the respective Schengen country’s embassy or consulate. Appointment procedures may vary, so check their website for details.
Attend the Visa Interview: Attend the visa interview at the embassy or consulate on the scheduled date. Be prepared to answer questions related to your travel plans, financial situation, and other relevant details.
Pay the Visa Fee: Pay the required visa fee at the time of the application. The fee may vary depending on the age of the applicant, the type of visa, and the chosen Schengen country.
Wait for the Visa Decision: After the interview and submission of documents, wait for the embassy or consulate to process your visa application. Processing times may vary, but it typically takes a few weeks. During this period, you can track the status of your application on their website.
Collect Your Visa: If your visa application is approved, collect your visa from the embassy or consulate. Make sure to check the visa’s validity dates and any specific conditions or restrictions attached to it.
It’s essential to apply for the Schengen visa well in advance of your planned travel dates to allow sufficient time for processing. Also, ensure that you have all the necessary documents to increase your chances of a successful visa application.
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