Main elements of the common visa policy
Citizens from some non-EU countries are required to hold a visa when travelling to the Schengen Area. The EU has a common list of countries whose citizens must have a visa when crossing the external borders and a list of countries whose citizens are exempt from that requirement. These lists are set out in Regulation (EU) 2018/1806. Generally, a short-stay visa issued by one of the Schengen States entitles its holder to travel throughout the 26 Schengen States for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Visas for visits exceeding that period remain subject to national procedures.
Credit: EC-GISCO, Administrative boundaries ©Eurogeographics ©UN-FAO
This map is for reference purposes only. The rules in force regarding visa requirements are set out in Regulation No 1806/2018. The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the European Union concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
List of individual Schengen States’ ATV requirements
Decisions on visa free access to the Schengen Area may follow from bilateral negotiations. They are based on the progress made by the countries concerned in implementing major reforms in areas such as the strengthening of the rule of law, combating of organised crime, corruption and illegal migration and improving of administrative capacity in border control and security of documents.
The second element of the common visa policy is the EU Visa Code (consolidated version of February 2020). It sets out the procedures and conditions for issuing visas for the purpose of short stays and airport transit. Operational instructions for the application of the Visa Code are further specified in the Handbook for the processing of visa applications and the modification of issued visas and the Handbook for the administrative management of visa processing (List of annexes).
The third element of the common visa policy is the uniform format for the visa sticker.
The EU aims at achieving full visa reciprocity with the non-EU countries whose nationals are exempt from the visa requirement. Thus, EU citizens would not need a visa either for travelling to these non-EU countries.
For that purpose, a visa reciprocity mechanism is set out in Regulation No 1806/2018 (article 7).
Visa facilitation agreements
So far, the EU has concluded visa facilitation agreements with the following non-EU countries. Based on these agreements, both the EU and non-EU citizens benefit from facilitated procedures for issuing visas.
Visa facilitation agreements Entry into force
Albania Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Albania on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
Armenia Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Armenia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
Azerbaijan Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
Bosnia and Herzegovina Agreement between the European Community and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
Cape Verde Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde on facilitating the issue of short-stay visas to citizens of the Republic of Cape Verde and of the European Union
FYROM Agreement between the European Community and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
Georgia Agreement between the European Union and Georgia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
Moldova Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova amending the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Moldova on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
(amending the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Moldova on the facilitation of the issuance of visas)
Montenegro Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Montenegro on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
Serbia Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Serbia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
Russia Agreement between the European Community and the Russian Federation on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
Ukraine Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine amending the Agreement between the European Community and Ukraine on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
(amending the Agreement between the European Community and Ukraine on the facilitation of the issuance of visas)
Visa facilitation agreements are linked to readmission agreements. Readmission agreements establish the procedures for the return to the EU or to the partner non-EU country of persons (own and third country nationals or stateless persons) in irregular situation.
EU States may also individually negotiate agreements on local border traffic with neighbouring non-EU countries. These agreements enable border residents of well-defined areas to cross the EU external borders, under certain conditions, without having to obtain a visa.
Who does not need a visa to visit Estonia?
Nationals of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and any third-country national holding a residence permit of a Schengen State do not need a visa to enter Estonia.
EU and EEA States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Switzerland.
A family member of an EU/EEA/EFTA national, who in addition to the valid passport of the country of his/her nationality, present a residence card, which has been issued pursuant to the Directive 2004/38/EC bearing the text "Residence Card of a Family Member of an EEA National ", may enter Estonia without a visa, provided that the family member is traveling together with the EU/EEA/EFTA national or to the EU/EEA/EFTA national. This directive shall apply to an EU/EEA/EFTA national, who moves to or resides in a member state other than that of which he/she is a national.
Schengen area consists of 26 European countries (of which 22 are EU States): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Although travel documents are not checked at internal Schengen borders, it is still necessary to carry a travel document (a passport or national ID card) when crossing internal Schengen borders. Competent authorities like police or immigration officials of relevant Schengen State have the right to check travel documents if needed.We draw your attention to the fact that driving licences, post, bank or tax cards are not accepted as valid travel documents or proof of identity.
In addition to the citizens from EU, EEA and Schengen area following citizens do not need a visa to enter a Schengen area (incl. Estonia) for stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period:
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina*
E El Salvador
H Holy See
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China
M Macao Special Administrative Region of China
N New Zealand
S Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
[[http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:22015A0703(01)&qid=1456837469083&from=EN | Timor-Leste]
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
United States of America
* Only for holders of biometrical passports
Passports issued by Taiwan which include an identity card number
* Only for holders of biometrical passports. Does not apply to passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Direcorate (Koordinaciona Uprava)
In addition the following countries’ citizens holding diplomatic-, service- or special passport do not need a visa to enter Estonia for stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period:
Argentina Diplomatic and official passports
Armenia Diplomatic passports
Azerbaijan Diplomatic passports
Belize Diplomatic passports
Bolivia Diplomatic and service passports
Cabo Verde Diplomatic and service passports
Georgia Diplomatic passports
India Diplomatic passports
Jordan Diplomatic passports
Kuwait Diplomatic passports
Kyrgyzstan Diplomatic passports
Mongolia Biometric diplomatic passports
Morocco Diplomatic and official passports
People's Republic of China Diplomatic passports
Philippines Diplomatic and official passports
Russia Diplomatic passports
Tajikistan Diplomatic passports
Thailand Diplomatic and official passports
Tunisia Diplomatic passports
Turkey Diplomatic, special and service passports
Turkmenistan Diplomatic passports
Ukraine Diplomatic and service passports
Uzbekistan Diplomatic passports
Vietnam Diplomatic passports
Holders of the Laissez-Passer issued by the United Nations
Third-country nationals wishing to stay in the country up to three months within six months of entry may ask for evidence of the following:
- A valid travel document valid for at least three months after the end of the trip;
- A return ticket;
- A document certifying accommodation: hotel stays, hotel reservation; private sponsor for stays, free-form information the sponsor and the purpose of the trip (the sponsor's name, address, telephone number, duration of travel, etc.);
- Sufficient means of subsistence for the planned duration of the stay and return to their countries of origin or transit to a third country;
- Travel insurance (valid for the entire Schengen area, the insurance liability for the minimum rate of EUR 30 000).
Information Source: https://vm.ee/