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The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and immigration controls at their shared borders. The Schengen area consists of twenty-two member states of the European Union (EU) and four member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). It functions almost as a single country for international travel purposes, with its own common visa policy covering things like short-term visits and some types of work visas.
The Schengen Area was created on the basis of the Schengen Agreement (named after the city in Luxembourg where it was signed) and led to the creation of the borderless area of Europe in 1995. The agreement was signed on June 14, 1985 by five of the then ten member states of the European Economic Community. She proposed the gradual abolition of border controls at the common borders. Proposed measures included reduced-speed vehicle checks, allowing vehicles to cross borders without stopping, giving residents in border areas the freedom to cross borders away from fixed checkpoints, and harmonizing visa policies.
In 1990, the agreement was supplemented by the Schengen Agreement, which provided for the abolition of internal border controls and a common visa policy. The Schengen area functions very much like a single country for international travel purposes, with external border controls for travelers entering and exiting the area and common visas, but no internal border controls.
Participants of the Schengen area The Schengen Area currently consists of:
Austria Belgium Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Greece Hungary Iceland Italy Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland A residence permit in one schengen country allow the holder to travel freely in any other Schengen country, without the need for any additional visas or registration.