The EU's passport-free travel space, known as the Schengen area, is one of the most tangible achievements of European integration. The Schengen area is one of the pillars of the European project.
The border-free Schengen Area guarantees free movement to more than 400 million EU citizens, along with non-EU nationals living in the EU or visiting the EU as tourists, exchange students or for business purposes (anyone legally present in the EU).
Free movement of persons enables every EU citizen to travel, work and live in an EU country without special formalities.
Schengen underpins this freedom by enabling citizens to move around the Schengen Area without being subject to border checks.
Today, the Schengen Area encompasses most EU countries, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania. However, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area and already applying the Schengen acquis to a large extent. Additionally, also the non-EU States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have joined the Schengen Area.
Since the start of the pandemics and in order to slow down the spread of the virus some travel restrictions have been necessary in the EU.