What is a Schengen visa and how does it work?
The Schengen Area is a collection of 26 European countries that have agreed to abolish all passport and other forms of border control at their shared borders. For foreign travel, the area mainly acts as a single jurisdiction with a common visa policy. The area is named after the Schengen Agreement, which was signed in Luxembourg in 1985.
The Schengen Area includes 22 of the EUs 27 member states. Four of the five EU states that are not members of the Schengen Area—Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania—are legally obligated to join in the future; Ireland, on the other hand, maintains an opt-out and has its own visa regime. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), however they are not members of the EU. They have signed accords in conjunction with the Schengen Agreement. In addition, three European microstates—Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City—keep open borders for passenger traffic with their neighbours and are thus considered de facto Schengen Area members because it is practically impossible to travel to or from them without passing through at least one Schengen member country.
The Schengen Area covers 4,312,099 square kilometres and has a population of about 420 million people (1,664,911 sq mi). Every day, around 1.7 million people commute across an internal European border to work, accounting for up to a third of the workforce in some regions. The overall number of Schengen border crossings each year is 1.3 billion. The transfer of commodities by road accounts for 57 million crossings each year, with a total value of €2.8 trillion. The cost of commerce is reduced by 0.42 percent to 1.59 percent as a result of Schengen, depending on geography, trading partners, and other factors. Countries outside of the Schengen zone benefit as well. The Schengen Areas member states have tightened border controls with non-Schengen countries.