After Slovakia, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Poland announced the complete closure of their national borders in mid-March, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: „Some controls may be justified, but general travel bans are not considered the most effective by the World Health Organisation. In addition, they have a strong social and economic impact, disrupting the lives of people and businesses across borders.  Von der Leyen also apologized to Italy, amid widespread discontent among Italians over the lack of solidarity in Europe.  At the end of March 2020, almost all internal borders in the Schengen area were closed to non-essential travel. By July 2020, most of the borders closed due to the coronavirus had been reopened. This situation means that non-EU Schengen Member States have few formally binding options to influence the design and development of Schengen rules; their options are effectively reduced to consent or withdrawal from the agreement. However, prior to the adoption of certain new laws, consultations are held with the countries concerned.  Disagreements between Member States led to an impasse in the abolition of border controls within the Community, but in 1985 five of the ten Member States at the time – Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany – signed an agreement on the phasing out of common border controls. The agreement was signed on the ship Princess Marie-Astrid on the Moselle near the city of Schengen, Luxembourg, where the territories of France, Germany and Luxembourg meet.
Three of the signatories, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, had already abolished common border controls within the framework of the Benelux Economic Union. [Citation needed] In December 1996, two non-EU states, Norway and Iceland, signed an association agreement with the signatories to the agreement to become part of the Schengen area. Although this agreement never entered into force, both countries became members of the Schengen area after concluding similar agreements with the EU.  The Schengen Convention itself was not open for signature by non-EU states.  In 2009, Switzerland completed its formal accession to the Schengen area with the adoption of an Association Agreement by referendum in 2005.  Many external border crossing points have lanes reserved for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens (and their family members) and other lanes for all travellers, regardless of nationality.  At some external border crossing points, there is a third type of route for travellers who are annex II nationals (i.B nationals of non-EU/EEA/Swiss countries exempt from the visa requirement).  Although Andorran and San Marino nationals are not EU or EEA citizens, they can still use the special routes for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.
 BRITISH citizens will not be able to use the EU route after Brexit under the current state of the rules unless such a right is negotiated in the Brexit deal with the EU. Permits are issued with a validity period of between one and five years and allow a stay in the border area of up to three months. Permits can only be granted to legal 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 must demonstrate that they have legitimate reasons to frequently cross an external land border under the local border traffic regime. The Schengen States must keep a central register of authorisations granted and grant the other Schengen States immediate access to the relevant data. From 2015, 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 states associate members of the Schengen agreement.  Given the impending implementation of ETIAS, it is understandable that there is a lot of confusion about what people need to do before travelling to Europe. Some of this confusion results from a misunderstanding about which countries are part of the Schengen area, which are ETIAS countries and which are in the EU. Relations between Iceland and Norway, of the one part, and Ireland and the United Kingdom, of the other part, concerning the areas of the Schengen acquis applicable to Iceland and Norway are governed by an agreement approved by the Council of the European Union on 28 June 1999. Schengen States that share an external land border with a non-EU State are subject to EU Regulation (EC). 1931/2006 to conclude or maintain bilateral agreements with neighbouring third countries for the implementation of a local border traffic regime.
 Such agreements define a border area that can extend up to a maximum of 50 kilometres (31 miles) on both sides of the border and provide for the granting of permits for local border traffic to residents of the border area. Permits can be used to cross the EU`s external border within the border area, are not stamped when crossing the border and must include the name and photo of the holder, a statement that the holder is not allowed to move outside the border area and that any abuse will be subject to sanctions. The Schengen area originally had its legal basis outside the then European Economic Community, having been established by a subset of Community Member States through two international agreements: as of June 2017[update], ten local transport agreements had entered into force. Visa liberalisation negotiations between the EU and the Western Balkans (with the exception of 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 complete abolition of visas, the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) had signed „visa facilitation agreements“ with the Schengen states in 2008. Visa facilitation agreements at the time were aimed at shortening wait times, reducing visa fees (including free visas for certain categories of travellers) and reducing red tape. In practice, however, the new procedures have proven to be longer, heavier, more costly, and many people have complained that it is easier to obtain visas before the entry into force of the facilitation agreements.    However, certain third-country nationals are allowed to stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days without the need to apply for a long-stay visa.
For example, the France does not require citizens of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City to apply for a long-stay visa.  In addition, Article 20(2) of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement provides for this „in exceptional circumstances“ and that bilateral agreements concluded by the various signatory States with other countries before the entry into force of the Convention continue to apply. This has allowed the UK to share information with countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement, often to negotiate law enforcement.  In 2020, the United Kingdom stated that it would withdraw from these agreements at the end of its transition period. Although it is not part of the EU, Switzerland`s position at the heart of Europe means that it has close economic and social ties with many Schengen states and, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein (other non-EU states within the Schengen area), is part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Switzerland became a member of the Schengen area after the signing of the agreement on 26 October 2004 and the start of its implementation on 12 December 2008. The competent authorities shall respond to requests for information as soon as possible and no later than 60 days after the date of the request. They must respond to requests for rectification or erasure as soon as possible, but no later than three months after the date of the request, and inform the person of the measures he has taken. Where national rules provide for shorter response times, those shorter deadlines shall apply. Germany does not have shorter response times. There are or have been plans for small border agreements between Lithuania and Russia, Poland, Belarus, Bulgaria-Serbia and Bulgaria-North Macedonia.  The agreement between Poland and Belarus was due to enter into force in 2012, but was delayed by Belarus, was set without an implementation date (october 2012).
 Now that the Schengen Agreement is part of the acquis communautaire, it has lost treaty status for EU members, which could only be modified in accordance with its conditions. .