People, Travel

Suspension of Schengen Agreement Denied

Suspension of Schengen Agreement DeniedSuspension of Schengen Agreement Denied

The French diplomatic mission in Tehran has categorically denied claims made by a Russian news agency about France suspending the Schengen visa following the terror attacks in Paris on Friday.

In the wake of Islamic State-led attacks across Paris on Friday which killed 129 and wounded 350 people, the state-run Sputnik news agency ran a story on November 14 claiming that “foreign citizens, who have a Schengen visa, won’t be able to enter France without a French visa. This means if people have planned holidays in France, they should now apply for a French national visa in addition to a Schengen visa.”

However, the French Embassy in Tehran issued an official statement on Tuesday denying claims made by Sputnik, ISNA reported.

According to the statement, the Schengen visa application process continues as normal, and France has only beefed up safety and security measures along its borders.

The statement explicitly states that France’s borders are not closed and airports and rail services remain open.

Following Sputnik’s report, Iranian tour and travel agencies suspended tours of France until further notice, even though they had not yet received official instructions from relevant authorities.

Quoting several travel agents, Mehr News Agency reported on Sunday that Iranians who had a Schengen visa must apply for a national French visa, which only allows travel within France’s borders.

France operates under the Schengen Agreement, which consists of a common border and immigration policy consisting of 26 nations, the majority of which are European Union members. Citizens of Schengen countries can access any country without the need to go through border controls and visitors can travel across the Schengen zone with one common visa that applies throughout the entire Schengen zone.

Only six EU member states — Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania — fall outside the Schengen zone.

Paris, which was voted the world’s top holiday destination in 2013, witnessed the worst terrorist attacks in Europe since the 2004 Madrid railway bombings. The so-called Islamic State (aka ISIL and Daesh) claimed responsibility for the cruel attacks on innocent civilians in the French capital.