Parties to the Schengen Agreement

In practice, Iceland and Norway, which are not members of the EU, participate in Schengen-related work through joint committees meeting in parallel with the working groups of the Council of the EU. Its meetings are attended by representatives of the governments of the EU Member States, the Commission and the governments of third countries. Iceland and Norway are therefore participating in the discussions on the further development of the Schengen acquis, but not in the votes on it. Citizens of third countries who have not concluded a visa liberalisation agreement with the Schengen States must have a valid Schengen visa in their travel document to enter the Schengen area. The visa grants permission to enter the territory of a Schengen State and reside there for up to 90 days in a period of 180 days. For example, a visa is issued for tourists, family visits, official visits, business visits and study visits. A third-country national holding a residence permit issued by another State of Shengen is exempt from the visa requirement. The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985 by the governments of Germany, France and the Benelux countries, namely Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The Schengen cooperation is named after a small town in Luxembourg located on the banks of the Moselle River, on the border between France and Germany, where the agreement was signed. Iceland signed an Association Agreement on participation in Schengen cooperation with Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in December 1996. To travel to Iceland, citizens of about 126 countries need a visa. Iceland is not in a position to open embassies in all these states, but participation in Schengen cooperation has created an opportunity to significantly expand Iceland`s services in terms of issuing visas. This made it possible to negotiate with other Schengen States (representing the States) on the issuance of visas on behalf of Iceland.

Only two Icelandic embassies issue Schengen visas, namely the embassies of Moscow and Beijing. In addition, the Icelandic sales force has concluded agreements with other Schengen states in about 120 cities around the world. This situation means that non-EU Schengen Member States have few formally binding options to influence the design and development of Schengen rules; their options are effectively reduced to consent or withdrawal from the agreement. However, prior to the adoption of certain new laws, consultations are held with the countries concerned. [14] With the entry into force of the Schengen Protocol to the Treaty of Amsterdam of 2 October 1997 on 1 May 1999, Schengen cooperation was transposed into Union law, initially only on the basis of an international agreement. In December 1996, two non-EU states, Norway and Iceland, signed an association agreement with the signatories to the agreement to become part of the Schengen area. Although this agreement never entered into force, both countries became members of the Schengen area after concluding similar agreements with the EU. [9] The Schengen Convention itself was not open for signature by non-EU states.

[10] In 2009, Switzerland completed its formal accession to the Schengen area with the adoption of an Association Agreement by referendum in 2005. [11] Although Ireland and the United Kingdom are not parties to the Schengen Agreement, they may, with the agreement of the Council of the European Union, apply all or part of the Schengen acquis and participate in its further development. They do not issue Schengen visas and only partially apply the Schengen Agreement. The Council of the EU has approved a request from both countries to participate in enhanced cooperation between police and judicial authorities in criminal matters, the fight against drug-related crime and the Schengen Information System (SIS). However, neither country has abolished border controls. The day-to-day application of Schengen cooperation in Iceland is mainly in the hands of the Ministry of Justice, the Icelandic National Commissioner of Police, the country`s police jurisdiction and the Immigration Department. The main role of the Ministry of Justice is to monitor cooperation, coordination and monitoring/surveillance, as well as the implementation of the new Schengen laws. In addition to the parties/bodies mentioned above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Icelandic Coast Guard, the Icelandic Data Protection Authority and Register Iceland also participate, to some extent, in Schengen cooperation.

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