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Schengen Borders Code

This summary has been archived and will not be updated. See 'Rules on crossing EU borders' for an updated information about the subject.

Schengen Borders Code

This regulation is intended to improve the legislative part of the integrated border management European Union policy by setting out the rules on the border control of persons crossing EU external borders and on the temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders.


562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (see amending acts).


This regulation applies to any person crossing the external borders of all EU countries, except those of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the internal borders of the Schengen area (a border-free area comprising 22 EU countries, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

External borders

External borders may be crossed only at border crossing points and during the fixed opening hours.

When crossing an external border, EU citizens and other persons enjoying the right of free movement under Union law (such as the family members of an EU citizen) undergo a minimum check. This minimum check is carried out to establish their identity on the basis of their travel documents and consists of a rapid and straightforward verification of the validity of the documents (including, where appropriate, the consultation of databases on stolen, misappropriate, lost and invalidated documents) and a check for signs of falsification or counterfeiting.

Non-EU-country nationals are subject to thorough checks. These comprise a verification of the entry conditions as described below, including verification in the visa information system (VIS), where applicable.

For stays not exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period, a non EU-country national must:

  • possess a valid travel document;
  • possess a valid visa, if required;
  • justify the purpose of his/her intended stay and have sufficient means of subsistence;
  • not have an alert issued for him/her in the Schengen information system (SIS) for the purpose of refusing entry;
  • not be considered a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of EU countries.

If these conditions are not met, entry to the territory is refused, unless special provisions (e.g. for humanitarian reasons) apply. Entry may only be refused by a substantiated decision stating the precise reasons for the refusal delivered by a competent national authority by means of a standard form. The person refused entry shall have the right to appeal and must receive written information on the national procedure.

The travel documents of non-EU nationals are systematically stamped upon entry and exit. If a travel document does not bear an entry stamp, it may be presumed that the holder does not fulfil, or no longer fulfils, the conditions of duration of a short stay. However, the non-EU-country national may provide any credible evidence of having respected the conditions relating to the duration of a short stay, such as transport tickets or proof of his/her presence outside the territory of the EU countries. On the request of a non-EU-country national, the insertion of an entry or exit stamp may be dispensed with if this insertion is liable to cause difficulties for the person. Instead, the stamp must be recorded on a separate sheet indicating the person’s name and passport number.

Border checks are carried out by border guards . When performing their duties, border guards must fully respect human dignity and may not discriminate against persons on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

The Schengen Borders Code allows EU countries to establish shared border crossing points with their non-EU neighbours, at which border guards from each country carry out exit and entry checks one after the other in accordance with their national law, either on the territory of the EU country concerned or on the territory of a non-EU country.

EU countries must deploy appropriate staff and resources in sufficient numbers to ensure a high and uniform level of control at their external borders. They must ensure that border guards are specialised and properly trained professionals.

EU countries assist each other with the effective application of border controls. Operational cooperation is coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex).

Internal borders

Any person, irrespective of his/her nationality, may cross the internal borders at any point without checks being carried out. This does not preclude the possibility for the the national police authorities to exercise their powers, including in the internal border zones, provided that this exercise does not have an effect equivalent to border checks.

EU countries that are part of the Schengen area must remove all obstacles to fluid traffic flow at road crossing points at internal borders, in particular any speed limits not exclusively based on road-safety considerations.

Where there is a serious threat to public policy or internal security, these countries may exceptionally reintroduce border controls at its internal borders for a period of no more than 30 days (possible to prolong under conditions established by the code) or for the foreseeable duration of the serious threat. This action should be seen as a last resort. If such controls are to be reintroduced, the other EU countries that are part of the Schengen area and the European Commission must be notified without delay with a view to possible consultations. The European Parliament and the Council must be informed at the same time.

Consultations may take place between EU countries and the Commission at least 10 days before the planned reintroduction of border controls, in order to organise mutual cooperation and to examine the proportionality of the measures to the events giving rise to the reintroduction. The decision to reintroduce border controls at internal borders must be taken in a transparent manner and the public must be informed in full, unless there are overriding security reasons for not doing so.

Under exceptional circumstances, and where a serious threat to public policy or internal security in an EU country requires immediate action, the latter may reintroduce border controls at its internal borders immediately. The other EU countries and the Commission are then notified accordingly.

Where, in the framework of the Schengen evaluation, serious deficiencies are identified in the carrying out of external border controls by an EU country, the Commission may issue recommendations. For the EU country concerned, this may include submitting to Frontex strategic plans based on a risk assessment to deal with the situation or initiating the deployment of European border guard teams or, as a last resort, triggering the closure of a specific border crossing point.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal




OJ L 105 of 13.4.2006

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal




OJ L 97 of 9.4.2008




OJ L 35 of 4.2.2009




OJ L 243 of 15.9.2009




OJ L 85 of 31.3.2010


19.7.2013 and, for provisions related to the length of a short stay, 18.10.2013


OJ L 182 of 29.6.2013




OJ L 295 of 6.11.2013


Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC (Text with EEA relevance) (Official Journal L 158 of 30 April 2004).

Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 laying down rules on local border traffic at the external land borders of the Member States and amending the provisions of the Schengen Convention (Official Journal L 405 of 30 December 2006).

Regulation (EU) No 1342/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 as regards the inclusion of the Kaliningrad oblast and certain Polish administrative districts in the eligible border area (Official Journal L 347 of 30 December 2011).

Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) (Official Journal L 243 of 15 September 2009).

Council Regulation (EU) No 1053/2013 of 7 October 2013 establishing an evaluation and monitoring mechanism to verify the application of the Schengen acquis and repealing the Decision of the Executive Committee of 16 September 1998 setting up a Standing Committee on the evaluation and implementation of Schengen (Official Journal L 295 of 6 November 2013).

Commission Recommendation establishing a common Practical handbook for border guards (Schengen handbook) to be used by Member States' competent authorities when carrying out the border control of persons, C(2006) 5186 final.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the operation of the provisions on stamping of travel documents of third-country nationals in accordance with Articles 10 and 11 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (COM(2009) 489 final - not published in the Official Journal).

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of Title III (Internal Borders) of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (COM(2010) 554 final - not published in the Official Journal).

Last updated: 14.03.2014