Skip to main content
Migration and Home Affairs

Border crossing

The abolition of internal border controls cannot come at the expense of security. Since no checks are carried out at the borders between Schengen Member States, EU countries have decided to join forces to attain the objective of improving security through efficient external border controls, while still facilitating access of persons who have a legitimate interest to enter the EU territory.

Schengen Borders Code

The Schengen Borders Code provides EU countries with a single set of common rules that govern external border checks on persons, entry requirements and duration of short stays in the Schengen Area.

The Practical Handbook for Border Guards provides practical guidance primarily to border guards, competent national authorities and operators, but also to interested citizens, concerning the practical implementation of the Schengen Border Code. The Commission has adopted an update of the Handbook on 28 October 2022.

Short-stay visas

Through the Visa Code, EU countries have harmonised conditions and procedures for issuing short-stay visas (visas for stays which do not exceed three months). A separate regulation establishes a list of countries whose citizens are subject to a visa requirement when entering the EU and a list of countries for which this requirement is waived (long-stay visas and residence permits for visits exceeding three months remain subject to national conditions).

Duration of short-stay visas

The short-stay visa calculator can be used for calculating the period of allowed stay under the rules

The user's guide contains information on the rules, the use of the calculator and practical examples

The Visa Code rules do not apply to the visa waiver agreement concluded between the EU and Brazil, with respect to which the old definition (3 months during a 6 months period following the date of first entry) continues to apply.

The length of stay of non-EU citizens traveling with a visa issued in accordance with the visa facilitation agreements concluded by the EU and certain third countries is to be calculated according to the calculation method, since in these agreements there is a reference to "90 days per period of 180 days".

Local border traffic regime

A local border traffic regime established for border residents who frequently need to cross the external borders of the Union. It enables EU States to conclude bilateral agreements with their neighbouring non-EU countries so that the border residents can travel back and forth without a Schengen visa and, therefore, without any impediment to trade, social and cultural interchange in the region concerned.

Entry/Exit System

In November 2017, the Commission adopted a Regulation for the establishment of an Entry/Exit System (annex) and an amendment to the Schengen Borders Code to integrate the technical changes needed for the Entry/Exit System (annex).

Solidarity and cooperation

EU Internal Security Fund

All EU countries have to make investments to protect their external borders in the interest of the entire Schengen Area. For some countries, notably those situated at the external frontiers of the Union, these investments can be very high due to particular migratory pressures. The EU Internal Security Fund establishes solidarity between the Schengen Member States by supporting those countries with a heavy financial burden in implementing the common standards on external border controls.


Operational cooperation between EU States is coordinated by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). The major task of Frontex is to coordinate joint operations to assist EU States in managing migratory flows at their external borders.

The joint operations at sea coordinated by Frontex are governed by Regulation EU/656/2014, which establishes rules on interception, rescue and disembarkation to be applied in the context of such joint operations.

The Agency also manages a pool of border guards called European Border Guard Teams for deployment as guest officers during Frontex joint operations and pilot projects, and during rapid interventions in EU countries facing urgent and exceptional pressures at their external borders.


The EU established a new information sharing and cooperation mechanism called EUROSUR (European Border Surveillance System). This mechanism provides Schengen countries with a common operational and technical framework, which assists them in countering cross-border crime, preventing unauthorized border crossings and diminishing the tragic death tolls of migrants at sea.

Related documents

Related links