The EU maintains a common list of countries whose nationals are exempt from requesting a visa when crossing the EU’s external borders. There are currently 61 countries on this list with a cumulative population of more than 1.2 billion. People who are not exempted from visa obligations and who wish to transit through or enter the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period must apply for a uniform visa. Between 2014 and 2019, Schengen countries issued on average 14.5 million visas every year (see Figure 5). The number of visa applications dropped significantly in 2020 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. In 2021, the Schengen states issued 2.4 million visas at their consulates. An additional 69 400 visas were issued directly at the external borders. For stays in the Schengen area for periods longer than 90 days, travellers need to apply for a national visa.
Number of EU visas issued at consulates (in millions)
European Parliamentary Research Service
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