Yes, you require a Schengen visa to enter the Schengen region. However, just like there are exceptions to almost everything, there are exceptions to this as well. Not everyone requires a permit to enter the Schengen region. In fact, a large number of nationalities do not require the Schengen visa. And obviously, there are a large number of countries whose citizens would mandatorily require a Schengen visa to enter the region.
EU nationals and the visa-exempt countries that have an agreement with the Schengen nations are free to travel around the Schengen zone (limited duration) without the requirement of the visa. Along with this, diplomats and official passport holders may also have a visa-free allowance into the zone. Normal passport holders of every other country will require the Schengen to enter any of the member states.
Citizens of Countries who Needs a Schengen Visa to enter the Schengen Area
Despite the Schengen countries possessing open borders among themselves, it is not the same for the rest of the world. Most nationals would require a Schengen visa to enter the zone. However, due to the entire Schengen region being considered as a single state, a single Schengen visa can provide entry into all the Schengen visa countries in most cases. The nationals who needs a Schengen visa to enter the Schengen area can be listed below. As per the Schengen visa requirements, without the visa, these nationals will not be granted entry into any of the states.
||Cameroon||Cape Verde||Central African Republic|
||Cuba||Dem. Rep. of Congo||Djibouti|
||Pakistan||Papua New Guinea||Palestinian Authority|
|Sao Tome and Principe
||Saudi Arabia||Senegal||Sierra Leone|
||South Africa||South Sudan||Sri Lanka|
Even though the people of the above Schengen visa countries list require a Schengen visa to enter the area, diplomats from certain countries are permitted to enter certain Schengen countries without the need for a visa. For example, although ordinary Indian passport holders will need a Schengen visa for Indians, Indian official or diplomatic passport holders can enter Denmark without a visa.
Citizens of countries who don’t need a Schengen visa to enter the Schengen area
Apart from the citizens of other Schengen and EU (European Union) countries, there are a few countries whose nationals are free to enter the Schengen zone and stay there without a visa for a specific period as per the country. The following nationals do not need the Schengen visa to enter the area.
||Bahamas||Barbados||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
||Costa Rica||Dominica||El Salvador|
||Peru||Saint Kitts and Nevis||Saint Lucia|
|Singapore||Solomon Islands||South Korea||Taiwan**|
||Tonga||Trinidad and Tobago||Tuvalu|
||United Arab Emirates||United States of America||Uruguay|
* - Only for biometric passport holders
** - Only for passports with the identity card number
*** - Hong Kong - only for holders of the Special Administrative Region passport holders
Macau - only for “Região Administrativa Especial de Macau” passport holders
Along with this, there is a reciprocity rule according to which, all of these countries should reciprocate the visa-free travel arrangements for the citizens of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland entering them. Even though most of the countries above follow this, some of them have certain specific conditions associated with it.