Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any Member State of the Schengen area for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes.

The Schengen Visa is the most common visa applied for in Europe. It enables its holder to enter the Schengen area from any Schengen member state, to move freely from country to country, as there are no border controls within the Schengen zone.

However, if you plan to study, work or live in one of the Schengen countries for more than 90 days, you will need to apply for a national visa from the relevant European country and not a Schengen visa.

Schengen Area

Schengen visa permits you to travel between certain European countries without further formalities. Learn how to apply for a Schengen visa and Schengen visas countries.

The Schengen Area is a zone in which 26 European countries have abolished their internal borders for the free and unrestricted movement of people, in line with the common rules for the control of the external borders and the fight against crime, by strengthening the common judicial system and the police cooperation.

The Schengen area covers most EU countries, except Ireland and the countries that will soon join the zone; Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus. Although not a member of the EU, countries like; Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein also belong to the Schengen zone.

Schengen area countries

There are twenty Schengen countries such as Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The Schengen area currently consists of 26 Member States. All of these countries are in Europe, of which:

1. 22 members fully implement the Schengen acquis,

2. Four of the - members of EFTA - are implementing the Schengen acquis through specific agreements related to the Schengen Agreement.

3. Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein are associated members of the Schengen area, but not members of the EU.

4. Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City have opened their borders, but are not members of the visa-free zone.

5. The Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands are single members of the EU and part of the Schengen zone, even if they are outside the European continent.

6. Five other EU members have not yet joined the Schengen area: Ireland - which continues to grant opt-outs - and Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus, which are about to join.

The external borders of the Schengen zone reach a length of 50,000 km, 80% of which consist of water and 20% of the land. The area includes hundreds of airports and seaports, many border crossings, an area of ​​4,312,099 km2 and a population of 419,392,429 inhabitants.

Note: Although most Schengen countries are in the European Union, you should not confuse the Schengen area with the EU.

All third-country nationals who have not yet concluded a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen member states must apply for a visa before arriving in Europe.

To check whether you need a Schengen visa to enter one of the Schengen member countries, here is a list of the countries whose citizens have to apply for a Schengen visa before entering the EU.

Author's Bio: 

Schengen is a European zone consisting of 26 countries, which have abolished internal borders.