Schengen Agreement Guidelines
In 1999, the United Kingdom formally requested participation in certain provisions of the Schengen acquis – Title III on police security and judicial cooperation – and in 1999 this request was approved by the Council of the European Union on 29 May 2000.  The UK`s formal participation in previously approved areas of cooperation was implemented by a 2004 Council Decision, which entered into force on 1 January 2005.  Although the UK was not part of the passport-free Schengen area, it nevertheless used the Schengen Information System, a government database used by European countries to store and disseminate information about individuals and goods. This has allowed the UK to exchange information with countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement, often to agree on legal proceedings.  In 2020, the United Kingdom stated that it would withdraw from these agreements at the end of its transition period. After Slovakia, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Poland announced in mid-March the total closure of their national borders, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Some controls may be justified, but the World Health Organisation does not consider general travel bans to be the most effective. In addition, they have strong social and economic repercussions, disrupting people`s lives and affairs across borders.  Von der Leyen also apologized to Italy, amid widespread Italian discontent with Europe`s lack of solidarity.  Until the end of March 2020, almost all internal Schengen borders were closed for unnecessary travel. Until July 2020, most of the borders closed because of the coronavirus were reopened. Permits are issued with a validity period of between one and five years and allow you to stay in the border area for a maximum of three months.
Permits can only be issued to legitimate residents of the border area who have been in the border area for at least one year (or more, if the bilateral agreement so provides). Applicants for approval must demonstrate that they have legitimate reasons for frequently crossing an external land border under the local border transport regime. Schengen States must keep a central register of authorisations issued and allow other Schengen States immediate access to relevant data. Visa liberalisation negotiations between the EU and the Western Balkans (excluding Kosovo) started in the first half of 2008 and were completed in 2009 (for Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) and 2010 (for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina). Before the total abolition of visas, the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) had signed in 2008 “visa facilitation agreements” with the Schengen countries. Visa facilitation agreements were then intended to reduce waiting times, reduce visa fees (including free visas for certain categories of travellers) and reduce red tape. However, in practice, the new procedures have proved to be longer, more cumbersome and more costly, and many people have complained that it is easier to obtain visas before the entry into force of the facilitation agreements.    From 2015[Update], Andorra, Monaco and San Marino negotiated an Association Agreement with the EU. Andorra`s ambassador to Spain, Jaume Gaytán, said he hoped the agreement would contain provisions to make the Schengen agreement associate member states.  There are or have been projects for Lithuania-Russia, Poland-Belarus, Bulgaria-Serbia and Bulgaria-North Macedonia.  The agreement between Poland and Belarus is expected to enter into force until 2012,282], but Belarus has been delayed with no transposition date set (October 2012).
 The Schengen Borders Code obliges participating states to remove all obstacles to free movement at internal borders.  Thus, road, rail and passenger users are no longer checked by border guards for their identity when travelling between Schengen countries, although security checks of air carriers remain permitted.  In accordance with EU guidelines, it is recommended that all EU citizens bring a passport and/or identity card, which is required. . . .