What are the Differences Between Schengen and EU Zones?

By  //  November 2, 2023

Europe, with its complicated political history, eventually came up with the idea of unification. And after the Second World War, the European Economic Community was created, which was joined by six countries.

Later, other countries joined them and formed the European Union, the purpose of which was to prevent new wars and economic development within the framework of this association, as well as mutual support.

The Schengen Agreement is a treaty that was originally signed by five countries to create a safe zone for their citizens, within which they could travel without additional documents. As of 2023, the Schengen zone includes 27 European countries that do not need Schengen Visas. All others need such a document in a mandatory manner.

There are many similarities between the EU zone and the Schengen zone, but there are also differences. Let us consider them in detail to understand how they complement each other and develop within the framework of European leadership.

What is the European Union (EU)?

The European Union (EU) was the result of political and economic integration of the countries of the continent to work together and develop. It was also aimed at resolving any conflicts without any violence or threats.

In 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was founded by France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, which was the first step towards political and economic union between European countries. In 1957, the same states founded the European Economic Community (EEC), which created a common market and set the course for monetary union.

1993 is considered the year of the foundation of the European Union (EU), this was spelled out in the Maastricht Treaty. The euro was designated as the common currency. For 30 years, new countries have joined the EU, today there are already 27 of them, and the number of EU citizens reaches 420 million people. The scope of cooperation has also expanded to foreign affairs, military industry, defense, justice, etc.

According to My Schengen specialist Kevin Crossman, the future of the EU today depends on a number of factors and the ability to cope with such problems as the migration crisis, the growing threat of terrorism, economic inequality between member states and many others.

What is the Schengen Zone?

The Schengen Zone was created in 1985 when five countries signed a decision to gradually abolish controls at common borders. Then, in 1990, the Schengen Convention was concluded, which abolished internal border controls but tightened controls at external borders. At the same time, procedures for issuing single visas for visiting the zone and traveling within it without passport control were introduced.

In subsequent years, many EU countries joined the convention. And today the SHZ includes 27 states, most of which are members of the European Union.

Some EU countries are not members of the Schengen Area because they want to maintain their own internal security and immigration policies and are unwilling to compromise with other EU countries. Others are not members of the SHZ because they do not technically meet the requirements for participation. There is another category of countries that are not members of the EU but are part of the Schengen area. These are Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. 

By the end of 2023, the EU Digital Entry Authorization Scheme (ETIAS) will be introduced, which involves an initial online application by a person wishing to visit the Schengen Area. It will be valid for over 1.4 billion travelers from 60+ countries, including Brits, Americans, Canadians, Australians, etc. In addition, a new type of Schengen visa is being considered: a tourist visa, with which people can stay for more than 90 days up to a maximum of one year.

Key Differences Between EU and Schengen Zones

The European Union is a political and economic union of 27 European countries that cooperate in different spheres, provide an internal market for goods and services, and provide each other with the necessary support. The Schengen zone is a part of the EU where internal border and passport controls between member states have been abolished, meaning travelers can move freely within its borders.

Each EU state follows a number of rules and regulations, and each citizen has the right to vote and a number of privileges. Each SHZ member state follows the same visa policy, but at the same time reserves the right to approve and reject visa applications. For more details, see myschengen.com.


The Schengen consulate can issue a single-entry, double-entry or multiple-entry EU visa, depending on the purpose and regularity of the applicant’s visits to EU countries. The most common type of visa is valid for a maximum of 90 days in each six-month period starting from the date of entry. To obtain this document, you need to apply to the relevant consulate in your country. The cost of issuance of a CV is 80 euros per adult, but for certain categories, this amount may be much less.