9 Best Non-Schengen Countries for Nomads
Schengen is almost a magic word for non-European travelers and digital nomads. As easy as traveling around Europe is for European citizens, it’s hard for the non-Europeans, due to Schengen Visa requirements and 90-day limitation.
Don’t pull a long face, though! There are many amazing destinations around Europe without the requirement of a Schengen Visa. In this post, we’ve listed non-Schengen countries in Europe and picked the best for our fellow digital nomads.
What Is the Schengen Area?
Let’s establish what the Schengen area exactly means before getting into non-Schengen countries and the best destinations for digital nomads among these places.
With the Schengen Agreement, which was signed in Luxembourg in June 1985, five European countries came to terms regarding the abolition of the internal borders of the participant states by dismantling the border checks between them. These states cooperated with other EU and non-EU states to form the Schengen Area in the following years.
The motivation of the EU states in coming to such an agreement was to create free movement between the European countries, allowing the Europeans to travel and relocate effortlessly without the need for a visa. Later, in 1990, a uniform visa to enter all countries in the Schengen Zone was introduced following the signing of a Convention regarding the Schengen Agreement’s concrete implementation.
Non-Schengen Countries in Europe
Although the Schengen Visa allows free movement within the Schengen Zone, it’s useful to note that not all European or EU countries are included in the Schengen Zone. The following countries have border checks with Schengen countries and require a national travel visa instead of Schengen.
Non-Schengen EU Countries
- 🇧🇬 Bulgaria
- 🇨🇾 Cyprus
- 🇮🇪 Ireland
- 🇷🇴 Romania
- 🇨🇭 Switzerland
- 🇮🇸 Iceland
- 🇱🇮 Liechtenstein
- 🇳🇴 Norway
Non-EU Non-Schengen Countries
- 🇦🇲 Armenia
- 🇲🇩 Moldova
- 🇧🇾 Belarus
- 🇦🇱 Albania
- 🇺🇦 Ukraine
- 🇧🇦 Bosnia & Herzegovina
- 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan
- 🇷🇸 Serbia
- 🇲🇰 Macedonia
- 🇲🇪 Montenegro
- 🇹🇷 Turkey
- 🇻🇦 Vatican City
- 🇷🇺 Russia
- 🇸🇲 San Marino
- 🇲🇨 Monaco
- 🇽🇰 Kosovo
- 🇦🇩 Andorra
- 🇻🇦 Holy See
Top Nine Non-Schengen Countries for Digital Nomads
🇧🇦 Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bosnia is a wonderful Balkan country with a diverse culture, friendly people, beautiful landscapes, and great food. And all of this is pretty affordable. With its historical sights and the outdoor activities it offers, Bosnia never fails you in terms of finding an activity to do.
Bulgaria swarms with cultural prosperity and historical sights, in addition to having a stunning coastline. Yet, the country’s not chock-full of tourists, which makes it even more intriguing for digital nomads who want to enjoy some peace and quiet in a new place. For those who like zippy nights out, Sofia is a perfect city with its vivid nightlife.
The diverse landscapes of Montenegro offer heaps of outdoor activity opportunities. You’ll be mesmerized by the giant rivers, mighty mountains, and brilliant seas of this beautiful country.
Romania is beyond doubt the perfect destination for those who like bone-chilling stories since it’s home to Bran Castle, the residence of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The country is almost enchanting with its medieval vibe, historical prosperity, and gorgeous nature.
If you’re in for delicious food, friendly people, beautiful landscapes, and magnificent city streets to wander about, Armenia might be just the destination for you.
Swimming in the Black Sea, taking long walks on the Georgian beaches that stretch for kilometers, skiing or hiking on the beautiful Mount Kazbek, and getting to know the prosperous Georgian culture: you’ll never, ever get bored in Georgia. No need to mention the delicious food and great wine!
Despite being slightly underrated, Macedonia is a must-visit country for its spectacular nature, affordable prices, lively cities, and excellent food. Since the country’s quite small, traveling around and getting the most out of Macedonia is rather effortless.
Each region in Turkey offers something different to the traveler. In Southeastern Anatolia you can enjoy incredible food; in the Mediterranean the golden beaches, while on the highlands of the Black Sea region you can set eyes on some of the best landscapes you’ll ever get to see.
Although Kosovo doesn’t sound like a winner if you take heed of its international reputation, it’s actually a hidden gem for the traveler. The locals are friendly, the food is great, and there are many wonderful towns and historical sights to see.
🇪🇺🇬🇧 Is the UK a Schengen Country?
The United Kingdom has been a member state of the European Union for several years until the official Brexit—withdrawal of the British from the EU—on January 31, 2020, following the referendum that was held in 2016. Nonetheless, the UK has never been a member country of the Schengen Area.
Visa Requirements for Non-Schengen Countries
Each non-Schengen country has its own national visa and related requirements. However, all require you to have a valid passport, deliver biometric data, present a legitimate visit reason, and prove that you have the financial means to support yourself during the stay. They also typically demand valid health or travel insurance.
Difference Between the Schengen and the EU
The Schengen Area is a travel zone that comprises various European countries, where the citizens of the member countries can travel visa-free and even without a passport. The EU, on the other hand, is the political and economic conjunction of many European countries. Although the two have intersections, not all Schengen countries are part of the EU or vice versa.
26 Schengen Countries
- Czech Republic
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the non-EU Schengen countries?
Although they’re not members of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland are part of the Schengen Area.
Why are some non-EU countries part of the Schengen Zone, but some of the EU member countries are not?
Some European countries opted out while the member countries of the Schengen Agreement abolished their border checks in 1995. Other non-Shengen countries that are members of the European Union are the ones that joined the EU at a later date than 1995 and haven’t yet joined the zone. Some non-EU states, on the other hand, opted for joining the Schengen States by becoming a signee in the Agreement.
What’s the difference between the European Union and the Schengen Area?
The Schengen Area is a free-travel zone in Europe for the citizens of the member countries. It also allows travelers from non-Schengen countries to travel freely within the zone by holding a uniform visa, namely the Schengen Visa. The European Union, on the other hand, is the unique political and economic partnership between the 27 European member states.
Can I enter a non-Schengen country with a Schengen Visa?
There are a few non-Schengen countries that allow entry by holding a valid Schengen Visa. These countries usually issue E-Visas to Schengen Visa holders.
How Does the Schengen Visa Agreement Work?
The Schengen Agreement was formed on June 14, 1985, by Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. It’s a significant milestone in uniting Europe, covering 27 stunning countries.
Here’s what you simply need to know about the Schengen Agreement:
- The Schengen Agreement aimed to eliminate borders between 27 countries that signed up for it. The agreement also promotes peace among these countries and establishes additional rules for each one.
- If you have a Schengen visa, you can travel across the borders of any Schengen country. You just need a valid passport and an ID card.
- If you have a short-stay C visa from a Schengen country, you’re allowed to visit any other Schengen country without needing another visa. If you have a transit A visa, you can access the international transit areas at airports, but you can’t enter the main Schengen zone.
- If you’re from a foreign country and have a Schengen visa, you can enter and explore other Schengen countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period, and you won’t need another visa for that.