Schengen Area

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Context of Schengen Area

The Schengen Area (English: SHENG-ən, Luxembourgish: [ˈʃæŋən] (listen)) is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The area is named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement signed in Schengen, Luxembourg.

Of the 27 EU member states, 22 participate in the Schengen Area. Of the five EU members that are not part of the Schengen Area, four—Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania—are legally obli...Read more

The Schengen Area (English: SHENG-ən, Luxembourgish: [ˈʃæŋən] (listen)) is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The area is named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement signed in Schengen, Luxembourg.

Of the 27 EU member states, 22 participate in the Schengen Area. Of the five EU members that are not part of the Schengen Area, four—Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania—are legally obliged to join the area in the future; Ireland maintains an opt-out, and instead operates its own visa policy. The four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, are not members of the EU, but have signed agreements in association with the Schengen Agreement. Also, three European microstates—Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City—maintain open borders for passenger traffic with their neighbours, and are therefore considered de facto members of the Schengen Area due to the practical impossibility of travelling to or from them without transiting through at least one Schengen member country.

The Schengen Area has a population of almost 420 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometres (1,664,911 sq mi). About 1.7 million people commute to work across an internal European border each day, and in some regions these people constitute up to a third of the workforce. Each year, there are 1.3 billion crossings of Schengen borders in total. 57 million crossings are due to transport of goods by road, with a value of €2.8 trillion each year. The decrease in the cost of trade due to Schengen varies from 0.42% to 1.59% depending on geography, trade partners, and other factors. Countries outside of the Schengen Area also benefit. States in the Schengen Area have strengthened border controls with non-Schengen countries.

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