The Schengen area has an Annex II list of countries, which grants passport holders the right to enter the Schengen area visa free. In addition, this right is present for citizens of non-Schengen members of the EU (Ireland, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria). Does this right also extend to any residents of these countries?

In other words, is there a residency permit issued by any non-Schengen state that would enable its holder to enter the Schengen area visa free?

Definition of "residency permit/visa" for the purposes of this question: any identity document issued by a given nation to non-nationals who reside in its territory. I.e. an I-571 refugee document might not strictly speaking be a "residency permit" but lets consider it such for the purposes of a canonical answer.

NB: this is intended as a canonical question to cover all possible variations of this question

  • I think it's unlikely. For non-Schengen EU states, even EU family members residing in those countries technically require a visa to visit Schengen (though if they are travelling or joining their EU family member, a visa is issued on the spot free of charge if they manage to reach the Schengen border, e.g. road or rail crossings, and prove the relationship).
    – xngtng
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 23:08
  • I’m aware that US refugee document holders can enter Germany and a few other Schengen states so it’s possible there are exceptions.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 23:10
  • If you accept territorially restricted visa-waivers within Schengen, then there are a few other exceptions in some countries IIRC, e.g. organized school trips for pupils resident of non-Schengen EU states.
    – xngtng
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 23:14
  • Sure, a canonical answer should include all edge cases.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 23:15
  • 1
    @phoog I checked again and I think this is another case where the differences among Schengen states/EU states/bilateral treaties with Switzerland are a mess. For a Chinese EU family member in Croatia, Timatic shows visa required for Switzerland (I knew this because someone got denied boarding from Croatia) but for France it explicitly says Union citizen families are exempt.
    – xngtng
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 13:51

1 Answer 1


No, since Ireland, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria and Cyprus do not fully implement the Schengen acquis and are therefore not considered a Contracting Party.

The Schengen Border Code uses the term Member States, but doesn't define exactly what that means.

Article 2(16)(a) of the Schengen Borders Code defines a residence permit as

all residence permits issued by the Member States according to the uniform format laid down by Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 (1) and residence cards issued in accordance with Directive 2004/38/EC;

The Practical Handbook for Border Guards, Point 2.8, Page 22 gives samples when a visa is needed or not.

A Slovak citizen resides with his Chinese spouse in Ireland. The Chinese spouse holding a residence card, issued by Ireland under Article 20 of the Directive, travels alone to France. As she travels alone, she needs to apply for a visa to enter France.

Article 19/20 resident cards, that are not issued by Member States [of the Schengen acquis] are not considered residence permits, but only as proof that they are a family member of an EU Citizen and can cross an external border with or to join the EU-Spouse. Travelling alone, they require a visa.

Since family members of EU-Citizens may require a Schengen Visa, when they reside in a non-Schengen EU Member state, to enter the Schengen Area, one can assume that Member States of the Schengen acquis. is meant.

Article 21(1) of the The Schengen acquis - Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985...: Aliens who hold valid residence permits issued by one of the Contracting Parties may, on the basis of that permit and a valid travel document, move freely for up to three months within the territories of the other Contracting Parties, provided that they fulfil the entry conditions referred to in Article 5(1)(a), (c) and (e) and are not on the national list of alerts of the Contracting Party concerned.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .