Europe is the only place on the earth like it. Its magnificent monuments reveal layer after layer of history, and its breathtaking natural scenery could not be more varied.
From wild to elegant, its countries represent a kaleidoscope of cultures, and its landscapes are as fascinating as its history. It is hard to describe Europe in a few words or fully experience it by visiting only one of its countries.
The world’s second-tiniest continent has a lot to offer. It has inspired literature, has been portrayed in films, and has given birth to legends.
Who wouldn’t want to go to Europe and see what it has to offer? All that is needed is a single visa that grants access to multiple countries, experiences, cultures, and more.
And that single visa is called a Schengen visa.
What exactly are Schengen and Schengen Visa?
The EU passport-free zone that encompasses the majority of European countries is known as the Schengen.
It has the world’s largest free travel zone.
A Schengen visa is a permit of travel to all 26 Schengen countries. It means you won’t need to apply for a visa for each country separately.
Over 180 days, you can explore these unique countries for 90 days.
Among these countries are Hungary, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Estonia, Finland, France, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Denmark, Germany, Greece, Austria, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Switzerland, Malta, the Netherlands.
Schengen visa is a permit granted by a Schengen State with the view to:
Planned stay of no more than 90 days in any 180 days on the territory of the Schengen States (“short-stay visa”), transit through the international transit zones of Schengen airports (“airport transit visa”).
Who must apply for a Schengen visa?
Certain countries’ citizens are required to have a short-term visa.
The EU maintains a primary list of countries whose citizens are required to have a visa when crossing external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from this requirement.
For sure travelers, there are national exemptions from visa requirements.
Your nationality decides whether you need to apply for a Schengen airport transit visa. Your nationality determines whether you must obtain a Schengen airport transit visa.
Some countries are required to have an airport transit visa when transiting through the international parts of airports located in any of the Schengen States. In contrast, citizens of others require an airport transit visa when transiting through the international parts of airports located in some of the Schengen States.
If you are eligible in the following criteria, you may be exempt from the airport transit visa requirement:
- Possess a valid Schengen visa or residence permit;
- Possess a visa valid for a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area, Canada, Japan, or the United States;
- Possess a valid residence permit issued by a Member State of the European Union or the European Economic Area;
- Possess a residence permit issued by the Principality of Andorra, Canada, Japan, or the Republic of San Marino.
How and where to apply:
You must apply for a Schengen visa at the Consulate of the country you intend to visit, or, if you plan to visit more than one Schengen State, at the Consulate of the country in which you will be spending the majority of your time.
If you plan to visit the several Schengen States and stay for an equal amount of time in each, you must apply at the Consulate of the country whose outer borders you will cross first when you enter the Schengen area.
You can see which Consulates are present in your country and which Consulates represent the Schengen State you intend to visit on the list of consular presence and representation.
In general, the application must be submitted to the Consulate at least 15 days before the intended journey. It cannot lodge earlier than six months before the intended journey begins.
Before applying, you may need to schedule an appointment.
Individual Member States’ dedicated websites provide more detailed information on the procedures for lodging a visa application.
EU/EEA nationals’ family members
If you are eligible in the following criteria, you may be eligible for a free accelerated visa procedure:
You are a family member of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen; and that EU/EEA citizen is traveling to or residing in a member state other than that of which he/she is a citizen; and you are accompanying or planning to join the EU/EEA citizen in the Schengen State of destination.
If you think you are eligible for an accelerated visa procedure, you must prove that you meet these criteria when submitting your visa application.
Required Documents to apply for a visa
- A passport with or more than two empty pages
- The passport must be newer than ten years.
- The passport must be valid for three or more months beyond the date you intend to leave the Schengen area or, in the case of multiple journeys, the date you intend to leave after the previous stay.
- A completed and signed visa application form.
- Anyone who appears on your travel document must fill out a separate application form.
- A parent or guardian must sign the visa application form for a child under the age of 18.
- a recent identity photograph that complies with ICAO requirements
- When you submit your application in a country where the Visa Information System is in place, your fingerprints will take (exemptions for specific categories of applicants).
- When you submit your application visa fee to be paid, a service fee to pay if you ask to submit your application at a service provider’s office
- A travel medical insurance policy includes emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, and repatriation (including in case of death).
- A minimum of 30.000 EUR should cover.
- This insurance must cover the entire Schengen area and must be valid for the duration of the stay.
- Documents are about the purpose of your stay, proof of means of support during your stay, and proof of lodging.
- The Consulate’s website contains a comprehensive list of documents.
- During the processing period, the Consulate may request additional information or documents from you or contact you for an interview.
The processing of a visa application
As a general rule, the Consulate decides within 15 days.
If your application and supporting documents necessitate a more thorough review, this period extended in individual cases up to 30 days and, in exceptional cases, up to 60 days.
Some Schengen States require that certain countries consult them before submitting visa applications to the other Schengen States. The consultation period could last up to seven calendar days. Currently, such consultation requires for nationals of the countries.
Entry and stay in the Schengen area
Your short-stay visa does not automatically grant you access to the Schengen area.
You may ask to provide information about your source of support, the length of time you intend to stay in the Schengen States, and the purpose for your visit.
A short stay in the Schengen area is defined as “90 days in any 180 days” for non-EU citizens.The short-stay calculator can use to calculate the length of your stay.
If you plan to visit the several Schengen States and stay for an equal amount of time in each, you must apply at the Consulate of the country whose outer borders you will cross first when entering the Schengen area.
EU/Schengen border officials may also request additional information and documents, such as sufficient funds, proof of accommodation, the length of your stay, a round-trip airline ticket, the reason for your entry, travel insurance, an invitation letter, and so on.
When you enter the Schengen Area, please ensure that the border officer stamps your passport with an entry stamp.
You could find or detain if you don’t have a stamp.
Types of Schengen Visas for Short-Term Visits to Europe
If you intend to visit one or more European countries in this area for the following reasons, you must apply for a Schengen Visa:
Business Schengen Visa – Visiting Europe for Business
A Schengen business visa allows you to travel on business to Schengen Area countries. Its mandate for citizens of countries with mandatory visa requirements traveling to Europe solely for business purposes.
The holder of this type of visa is not required to be a citizen of the designated country to pursue their business objectives, but such authorization does have limitations.
Schengen Visitor Visa – Traveling to Europe to see family, friends, or relatives
Third-country nationals who wish to visit family, friends, or relatives in the Schengen Zone may be required to obtain a Schengen visa.
Suppose your nationality is on the list of countries whose nationals need a Schengen short-stay visa. In that case, you must apply for a Schengen Visitor Visa (Visa for Visiting Family, Friends, or Relatives).
Tourists Schengen Visa – Visiting Europe for Tourism
The visa allows third-country nationals to enter the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days in 6 months for ease of travel or visiting Europe.
Non-European citizens who wish to visit Europe for tourism purposes may be required to apply for a short-term Schengen visa under the tourist category.
Cultural, sporting, and religious events, and film crews Schengen Visa
Third-country nationals visiting the Schengen Zone to attend a cultural, sporting, or religious event, as well as film crews, must apply for a short-stay Schengen visa.
The provision does not apply to citizens of third countries who have signed a visa-free agreement with EU member states.
Transit Schengen Visa
This visa is a permit issued to individuals who only need to enter the Schengen area to change their mode of transportation.
Transit Schengen Visas sorted into two types:
- Schengen Transit Visa for Airports
- Schengen Transit Visa for Seafarers
Schengen Transit Visa for Airports
An Airport Transit Schengen Visa is a permit issued to travelers who must change planes at a Schengen airport.
It allows them to pause and wait for their flight to their destination country in the international transit area of a Schengen airport. This visa, however, does not allow the holder to leave an airport’s international transit area, even if the traveler is required to wait overnight.
Please keep in mind that you are no longer eligible for an Airport Transit Visa if you need to transit through more than one airport within the Schengen Area. Instead, you should apply for a standard Schengen Visa (C Type).
It is because flights between two or more Schengen countries consider “domestic,” even if they are only for transit purposes.
A Transit Schengen Visa for Seafarers
A Transit Schengen Visa for Seafarers is a permit that allows a sailor to disembark in a Schengen seaport.
It allows them to leave their vessel at a Schengen seaport and stay for a limited time until they can get to their next mode of transportation to a non-Schengen country.
If you are a national of a third-world country, you will need a Transit Visa for Seafarers if you plan to:
Join a ship that docke in a Schengen country.
Transfer from one ship to another that is (or will be) docked in a Schengen port.
Disembark due to contract termination, illness, repatriation, urgent family matters, vacation, and so on.
Schengen Visa for Official Visits – Visiting Europe for Official Purposes
A Schengen Visa for Official Visits to Europe is an entry permit issued to those traveling to the territory in response to an official invitation to participate in:
Intergovernmental organizations hold meetings, consultations, negotiations, exchange programs, and other events in the Schengen Zone.
Only nationals of third countries that have not reached a visa-free agreement with the Schengen Area require a visa to enter the area for official visits.
Patients from third-country countries that have not reached a visa-free agreement with Schengen members must obtain this visa before flying to any of the Schengen Zone states.
Schengen Visa for Students – Traveling to Europe for Academic Purpose
A Student Schengen Visa is a permit to the Schengen Zone issued to third-country nationals wishing to study in any member state for a limited period.
This visa allows the holder to stay in the Schengen area for up to three months. If your study or training course lasts longer than that, you should apply for a Long-Stay Study Visa at the country’s embassy in question.
Only third-country nationals who have not signed a visa-free agreement with the Schengen Area member states require a Student Schengen Visa.
The Schengen Consulate can issue you a single-entry visa, a double-entry visa, or a multiple-entry visa, depending on your reasons for visiting the Schengen countries and the frequency of your visits.
The validity of your single-entry visa determines by the number of days you stated on your visa application form that you will be in the Schengen zone and the actual decision of the Consulate that issues you the Schengen visa.
If you are a constant traveler, you may apply for an EU visa valid for up to 5 years, but keep in mind that you cannot stay in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days in 180 days, even if you have a multiple-entry visa for Europe valid for up to 5 years.
What is the cost of a Schengen visa?
A Schengen visa typically costs:
Adults (13 and older): EUR 60
Children (6 to 12 years): EUR 35
Children under the age of five: There is no charge.
What documents required for the visa?
The documents listed below require the Schengen visa.
However, depending on the type of visa you apply for (tourist/work/business/transit), you may be required to provide additional documentation.
Begin with the following fundamental documents:
- A valid passport
- Application form completed and signed
- Photos the size of a passport
- Letter of introduction to the embassy
- Reservation confirmation from an airline
- Itinerary for each day
- For the duration of your trip, you must have valid medical insurance (minimum coverage EUR 30,000)
- 6-month bank statement
- Income Tax Returns for the Previous Three Years
- Paystubs for the last three months
How long does it take to obtain a Schengen visa?
According to general EU guidelines, your Schengen visa should take two weeks to process.
However, if you want to be safe, apply 30-60 days ahead of time. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to plan your trip rather than worrying until the last minute.
The additional time also allows the Consulate or embassy to review your application and, if necessary, request additional information or documentation.
A Schengen visa cannot obtain more than three months before your departure date.
What is the difference between single entry and multiple entry Schengen visas?
You can only visit the Schengen area once with a single-entry visa, and you will not be able to re-enter once you leave.
A multiple-entry Schengen visa allows you to enter the Schengen area multiple times within the visa’s validity period of 90 days, spread out over six months. The validity period of a multiple-entry Schengen visa can range from 3 to 5 years.
In what circumstances can a Schengen visa be extended?
Only in exceptional circumstances is it possible to extend your Schengen visa. The decision to extend made on a case-by-case basis, based on the following factors:
- Force Majeure – an unforeseeable or unavoidable circumstance
- Humanitarian considerations
- Serious personal reasons prevent the visitor from leaving the Schengen area before the visa’s validity expires.
What if your application for a Schengen visa turned down?
Don’t give up hope if your Schengen visa application deny! A Schengen visa can always obtain from a different embassy.
For example, if the French embassy turned down your visa application, you can always apply for one through the Italian embassy.
Every time you apply for a visa, it treats as if it were the first time.
What are some of the possible reasons for my Schengen visa denied?
There are six common reasons why your Schengen visa may deny.
- submitting forged or forged documents
- Your reasons for visiting were not specified or made very clear.
- Your proof of funds was insufficient to keep you going for the duration of your trip.
- There was no evidence of adequate or valid medical insurance.
- There was no evidence of accommodation provided.
- The embassy is incompetent to determine whether there are sufficient reasons for you to leave the Schengen area once your trip is over.
Is a Schengen visa interview required?
After submitting your documents and applying for your Schengen visa, you will need to meet with consular officials to answer questions about your trip to Europe.