In 1999, the United Kingdom formally requested participation in certain provisions of the Schengen acquis – Title III on police security and judicial cooperation – in 1999, and this request was adopted by the Council of the European Union on 29 May 2000.  The UK`s formal participation in previously approved areas of cooperation was brought into effect by a 2004 Council decision that came into force on 1 January 2005.  Although the United Kingdom was not part of the Schengen area, it has always used the Schengen information system, a government database used by European countries to store and disseminate information on individuals and goods. This has allowed the UK to exchange information with countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement, often to connect to legal proceedings.  In 2020, the United Kingdom has declared that it will withdraw from these agreements at the end of its transition period. The Schengen area is an agreement between 22 EU member states and the four countries of the European Free Trade Association to regularly monitor the movement of people between them. To simplify, it allows free movement between these countries. The agreement provides common rules for the protection of internal borders between members and also for external borders. Temporary border closures are permitted in case of emergency, such as the appearance of coronavirus. Ireland has been granted a waiver and is not part of the Schengen area, nor is Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.
Schengen states that share a common land border with a third state are allowed, in accordance with the European Union Regulation 1931/2006, to conclude or maintain bilateral agreements with neighbouring third countries for the purpose of implementing a border area system.  Such agreements define a border area of up to 50 km on both sides of the border and provide for the granting of permits for small border traffic for the inhabitants of the border area. Authorizations 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, as well as a statement indicating that the holder is not allowed to travel outside the border area and that any abuse is punishable. From 2015[update], Andorra, Monaco and San Marino negotiated an association agreement with the EU. Andorra`s ambassador to Spain, Jaume Gaytén, said he hoped the agreement would include provisions that would make states associated with the Schengen agreement.  The Schengen area initially had its legal base outside the European Economic Community at the time, since it was created by a subgroup of Community Member States using two international agreements: it takes its name from the City of Schengen in Luxembourg, where the agreement was signed in 1985. It came into force in 1995. Vatican City has an open border with Italy. In 2006, it expressed interest in joining the Schengen Agreements with a view to closer cooperation on the exchange of information and similar activities under the Schengen Information System.  Exceptionally, Italy allowed people to visit Vatican City without being accepted for an Italian visa, and then to be escorted by police between the airport and the Vatican or by helicopter. [Citation required] However, there is no customs union (including customs) between Italy and the Vatican, so all vehicles are controlled at the Vatican`s borders.
Visa liberalisation negotiations between the EU and the Western Balkans (excluding Kosovo) began in the first half of 2008 and ended in 2009 (for Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia) and 2010 (for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina). Prior to the total abolition of visas, the countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia) had signed “visa easing agreements” with the Schengen states in 2008.