What the hell is the Schengen zone you might ask? Well you’re in the right place because I’m going to tell you. Hi everyone! Welcome to another episode of Digital Nomad TV. I’m your host, Kristin Wilson. And today, we are in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, one of my favorite Digital Nomad destinations. Make sure to check out my videos on coworking and Amsterdam, as well as Amsterdam as a Digital Nomad Destination,. I will link them. So raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to travel to Europe But we’re super confused about which countries you could go to, how long you could stay there and how all that works. Me, too So as I was saying, I’m an American here in the Netherlands, which is an EU country in the Schengen zone and that’s what this video is all about What the hell is the Schengen Zone? Who’s in it? Who’s not in it? And how does it affect you. Just to sum it up, you have your EU Member States , your European Member States that are in the Schengen Your Schengen zone countries that are not in the EU and your non-schengen EU countries, your EU non-schengen countries, your micro states, and countries that are in the EU not in the Schengen but might be in the Schengen someday, sound confusing? Exactly. And many a digital nomad has been stuck at the border or with an immigration agent because they overstayed their welcome. But that’s not going to happen to you because I’m gonna sum it up for you really quick. So here are the only things you need to know, what the Schengen Zone is, which countries are included, how long you can travel there, and a couple other fun facts I’ll throw in at the end Coincidentally, the first time I was in Amsterdam was in 2013 and I thought that I was going to stay a month or so in every European country But then I realized what the Schengen Zone was. The Schengen area was established by the EU in 1995 and it was just basically a way to open up the borders and allow the free flow of goods and people to of course boost economic growth. On the pro side, the Schengen Zone allows free travel through 22 of the 28 European Union member states. But it doesn’t just include European Member States. So there are actually 26 total member states in the Schengen area 22 of them are from Europe. These are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Then there are 4 countries that are not EU Member States But they’re still in the Schengen and those are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland Then there are a few microstates and these are the smaller states like San Marino, the Vatican City, Monaco Andorra. And these are not officially Schengen countries, but they’re still basically generally considered part of the Schengen. Three of them, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican are considered de-facto Schengen States. And then who are those four other strugglers who are entering the Schengen sometime soon? Well, I’m glad you asked because it’s Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia and Romania So what about other EU countries that are not part of the Schengen but are in the EU who are these people making everything so difficult? Well, that’s the UK, Ireland Northern Ireland and the three British Crown Dependencies. So this is Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man. Gibraltar which is also part of Europe is actually an overseas territory. It’s not part of the EU or the Schengen. So it’s its own category. So what does it mean for you? Basically if you’re from the US, Canada, Australia New Zealand and other generally considered states countries like Japan, South Korea, and even throughout Latin America, Mexico, Costa Rica. And I’ll link all of the countries below then you probably don’t need a visa to travel for up to 90 days every 180 days in the Schengen zone. Anyone from many parts of Eastern Europe Africa the Middle East and the South Pacific probably need a visa. So to travel within the EU you need a passport and you can break up the ninety days over a hundred and eighty days or you can have them all consecutively back-to-back and It just means that you can only remain within Schengen zone countries not Europe, not the EU but specifically Schengen countries for 90 days total cumulatively 180 day period. So, there are actually some apps that I’ll link below that you can put in all of your travel dates and track the days and that’s the easiest way to do it. Now, there’s a lot of talk on the internet over who enforces this rule and who doesn’t but in my opinion it’s better to be safe than sorry. There are rumors that some of the Latin countries like Malta and Italy aren’t as strict as Germany or the Netherlands or the UK for that matter, which is a separate thing. But you know, you should still abide by the rules because you don’t want to get deported and you don’t want to get banned from the EU either, or the Schengen zone. So the general rule of thumb is that you can stay in all of those countries that I listed for up to 90 days per 180 days and then if you want to remain on the continent but you have run out of time in those Schengen zone countries, then what you could theoretically do is travel to a EU non-schengen country like the UK or Ireland or another EU Member State that is pending Schengen like Romania, Cyprus, Croatia, Bulgaria, or an Eastern European country that’s not in the EU and not in the Schengen. And you can still remain in the general vicinity of Europe. So that’s my short explanation of the Schengen zone, what it means, who’s included, who’s in , who’s out? I hope that you guys found this helpful and make sure that you follow the rules or your next euro trip. That’s all for today’s episode of Digital Nomad TV. Make sure to come back next week. We’re here every Wednesday at 12 p.m. eastern.