The Schengen Treaty
The Schengen area, a product of the Schengen Treaty or Agreement, in force since 1995, is a European zone in which countries abolished their internal border controls, while maintaining police and judicial cooperation. It is made up of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. In addition, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands are part of the Schengen area, although they are not European.
What does the Schengen area imply for foreigners?
It implies that, in order to visit the countries included in this area, you will only need to apply for a Schengen visa in the country where you will spend most of your time or the country of entry, and no other type of visa or entry permit will be required.
Exceptionally, not a Schengen visa but one of limited territorial validity may be issued, in which case only the visit to the specific country may be limited, but this is issued under very specific circumstances.
This visa-free entry permit to Schengen countries is valid for 90 days within a period of 180 days, bearing in mind that a double or multiple entry visa must be requested if you wish to visit a non-Schengen country in the middle of your trip.
What if I am Colombian?
As of the second semester of 2022, due to an agreement between Colombia and the European Union, Colombians will not need a Schengen visa to travel in that territory for 90 days; instead, an ETIAS authorization will suffice.
Schengen visa exempt countries
In addition to Colombia, in the Americas, the following countries are exempt: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bahamas, Mexico, United States and Canada.
In other continents, the following are exempt: The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Andorra, United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Barbuda, Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barbados, Brunei, Bahamas, Dominica, Micronesia, Grenada, Georgia, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, St. Kitts and Nevis, South Korea, St. Lucia, Monaco, Moldova, Montenegro, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Malaysia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Serbia (except for holders of passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate, Solomon Islands, Seychelles, Singapore, San Marino, East Timor, Tonga, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United States, Holy See, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Vanuatu, Samoa and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao.