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Schengen glossary

EU CITIZEN - any person having the nationality of an EU Member State.

EXTERNAL BORDERS - borders between the Member States and states which do not participate in the Schengen cooperation ("third countries"), including international airports and river/sea/lake ports, provided that they are not internal borders. External borders may be crossed only at border crossing points; all third-country nationals are subject to thorough checks.

INTERNAL BORDERS - the common land borders of the Member States, including river and lake borders, the airports of the Member States for internal flights; sea, river and lake ports of the Member States for regular ferry connections. The internal borders may be crossed anytime without any police checks.


FAMILY MEMBER OF AN EU CITIZEN EXCERCISING HIS OR HER RIGHT TO FREE MOVEMENT - any person who is, in relation to the citizen of the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland:

a) the spouse;

b) the partner with whom the EU citizen has contracted a registered partnership, on the basis of the legislation of a Member State;

c) the direct descendants who are under the age of 21 or are dependants and those of the spouse or partner as defined in point b);

d) the dependent direct relatives in the ascending line and those of the spouse or partner as defined in point b).


MINIMUM CHECK - a check of persons crossing the EU/Schengen external borders. It is the rule for EU citizens and other persons enjoying the Community right of free movement and its purpose is to verify their identity and nationality, i.e. that they are citizens of EU/EEC (EU + Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) or Switzerland, or the identity of members of the family of an EU/EEC/Switzerland citizen, if they are not EU/EEC/Switzerland citizens, and their family connections to the EU/EEC/Switzerland citizen.

It consists of a rapid and straightforward verification of the validity of the document and check for signs of falsification and counterfeiting. This check may also include searching for information on stolen, unlawfully used, lost or invalid documents in relevant information databases.

PERSON ENJOYING THE COMMUNITY RIGHT OF FREE MOVEMENT - any person entitled to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. It means EU citizens and third-country nationals who are members of the family of an EU citizen exercising his or her right to free movement. This category also includes third-country nationals and their family members, whatever their nationality, who under agreements between the Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and those third countries, on the other hand, enjoy rights of free movement equivalent to those of EU citizens.

In total, it includes citizens of 27 EU Members States together with those third countries which are Schengen Member States, or the EEC Member States (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland.


SCHENGEN - a town in Luxembourg where agreements establishing the Schengen cooperation were signed in 1985 and 1990, i.e. the Agreement on the Gradual Abolition of Checks at Common Borders and the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement. The word "Schengen" is used as a shorter version of "the Schengen area".

THE SCHENGEN ACQUIS - a set of legal regulations forming the legal basis of the Schengen cooperation. Apart from the Schengen Agreement, the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and related protocols and agreements on the accession of new Member States to these Agreements, it includes the decision and declaration of the Executive Committee (dissolved by the Schengen Protocol) and all following legislative EU/EC acts which states in its preamble that it constitutes a development of the Schengen acquis.

SCHENGEN COOPERATION - a comprehensive expression used to describe the cooperation between the Member States as laid down by the Schengen acquis. The Schengen cooperation covers issues of border control, data protection, police and judicial cooperation, data protection as well as visa and consular cooperation.

THE SCHENGEN PROTOCOL - the Protocol integrating the Schengen acquis into the framework of the European Union, which is an integral part of the Treaty of Amsterdam. By its means, the Schengen cooperation was transferred from the inter-governmental level to the EU level and thus became binding for all new EU Member States and subject to EU/EC legislative principles.

SCHENGEN STATE - any state forming a part of the Schengen area, i.e. a state, which does not carry out checks at internal borders and which fully participates in the Schengen cooperation. Currently, there are 15 Schengen states (the "old" EU Member States without the United Kingdom and Ireland, together with Norway and Iceland).

STATES THE CITIZENS OF WHICH ENJOY THE COMMUNITY RIGHT OF FREE MOVEMENT - Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.


THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONAL - any person not enjoying the Community right of free movement.

THOROUGH CHECK - a check of third-country nationals crossing the EU/Schengen external borders, an opposite to the minimum check of persons enjoying the Community right of free movement. It means that the border guard (the Alien and Border Police in the Czech Republic) verifies the conditions governing entry (and exit) to (from) the Schengen territory.