If you are a tourist who wants to visit Andorra either for a quick trip or to reside in the Principality, you need to know some somewhat complex policies to be able to move to Andorra successfully.
This is based on a treaty between several countries to minimize border controls, but safely. The Schenge space is made up of European Union countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway , Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Sweden and Switzerland. With this border control, it allows the entire region to function as a single jurisdiction, with respect to travel, resulting in free movement in Europe.
In this way the member states cooperate with each other to ensure the safety of all those who circulate within the Schengen territory, and allowing members of the Schengen area to catch people committing illegal acts within their limits.
However, at the border of the Schengen area, non-EU visitors must present their visa and travel documentation, or otherwise the relevant residence permit, together with any other supporting documentation.
Andorra has so far not signed the Schengen Agreement, which means that it is necessary to go through border control when traveling to the country, whether through France or Spain.
Andorra has conducted Schengen negotiations in 2015 with the support of Monaco and San Marino, seeking an agreement similar to that of Lichtenstein to enter the Schengen Agreement and be part of the countries that comprise it.
The border controls that France and Spain apply to Andorra are mostly linked to customs control rather than immigration. Due to the low VAT tax in the Andorran Principality, travelers are often checked to ensure that they are not importing alcoholic beverages and tobacco in excess of the amounts allowed in the Schengen Area.
As it is not possible to have a direct flight to Andorra, it is first mandatory to enter the Schengen Area. Once in the territory, you must enter with the Schengen visa and then enter the Principality. This means that the Schengen visa rules apply, in part, to enter Andorran territory.
The Schengen Visa
Entrance and travel throughout the Schengen area are covered in important detail, but, in general, the categories are divided into:
The Principality does not require a visa to allow visitors to enter for less than 90 days, however, they must carry the European Union identity card for entry or a valid passport.
Although a visa is not required for short-term visitors to enter the Principality, they will need a double or multiple entry visa for tourists to leave Andorra and be able to enter the Schengen area again.
In view of this, without a double-entry visa, you can be refused entry to the Principality, since if you enter and are denied entry again to the Schengen area.
Consequently, a person without a multiple entry visa may be refused entry to Andorra because if he is admitted and denied entry again to Schengen, he would be trapped in the Andorran Principality.
For those people who are not from the EU but have plans to become residents of Andorra, they should consider having a Schengen visa with a valid multiple entry to apply for Andorran nationality either through passive residence, with a work permit or by self-employment
Although there have been cases, most commonly with passive residents, they do not need to show a visa to immigration agencies when they travel.
For Andorra citizens who do not belong to a European Union or Schengen country, there is positive and negative news.
The resident has the right to live or work in Andorra, with a residence or work permit, and has the same rights as a foreigner residing in France or Spain, according to Decree no. 2003-740 which dictates: “The entry and circulation system in Spain and France for foreigners with an Andorran residence permit is identical to that applicable to foreigners with a Spanish or French residence permit.”
Basically, foreign residents of France or Spain can move without limitations throughout the Schengen territory for periods of less than 90 days. If a longer stay is required, a residence permit will be required. And as dictated by Decree no. 2003-740, foreign residents of Andorra have these same rights.
Although in practice, many residents of Andorra frequently enter the Schengen territory through Spain and France, and since these countries are already familiar with the Principality, entry does not mean any problem as long as the citizen has a valid residence permit.
Although it is rare, there have been cases in which some problems may arise such as immigration officials are not familiar with Andorra or, in remote cases, due to lack of knowledge of the laws. Whatever the case, it usually resolves quickly and the result allows the citizen to continue their journey.
The advisable thing to avoid some type of inconvenience is that the foreign residents carry in their passport some types of documents to support their movements. These documents can be the residence card or the copy of a subsequent travel ticket (in case of returning to Andorra).
Keep in mind that the majority of citizens who reside or visit Andorra, usually never have border problems or when traveling abroad, but it is also noteworthy to mention that the laws are changing and should be kept updated of them.