Schengen Visa Information
Schengen visa is the document issued by the appropriate authorities to the interested party for visiting/travelling in and within the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area is comprised of 26 countries that have agreed to allow free movement of their citizens within this area as a single country. Of the 26 countries bound by the Schengen agreement, 22 are part of the EU and the other 4 are part of the EFTA.
Schengen area covers the majority of European countries, except for the United Kingdom and countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Ireland soon to be part of the agreement. However, there are countries that are not part of the EU like Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein yet do belong in the Schengen area and cherish the free movement policy.
The Schengen Member States
Who needs a Schengen visa?
The citizens of the non-Schengen member countries are requested a mandatory Schengen Visa in order to enter the Schengen Zone. There are exceptions to this rule, however: for some countries that are not part of the Schengen Agreement yet aren’t required a visa to enter the Schengen zone.
The list of the countries that need a visa to enter the Schengen Area can be found here.
Visa Application Requirements
In order to travel to one or more of the Schengen Zone countries, as aforementioned, one needs to apply for a Schengen visa at the designated embassy/consulate. There are however, certain requirements similar to every embassy/consulate that have to be met in order to pursuit the application. A unified exemplar of the requested documents with the additional information is meticulously described and listed at Schengen Visa Application Requirements section.
Types of Schengen Visa
Regarding the nature/purpose of the travel, there are several types of a Schengen visa issued by the designated embassy/consulate.
1. Uniform Schengen Visas (USV)
The Uniform Schengen Visa stands for a permit of one of the Schengen Area Member Countries to transit or reside in the desired territory for a certain period of time up to the maximum of 90 days every six month period starting from the date of entry. According to the purpose of traveling the Uniform Schengen Visa applies to all of the three categories, “A”, “B” and “C”.
2. Limited territorial validity visas (LTV)
This type of visa obtained allows you to travel only in the Schengen State that has issued the visa or in some other cases, in the certain Schengen States specifically mentioned when applying for the visa. Apart from these Schengen countries, this specific visa is invalid to any other Schengen country not specified prior.
3. National Visas
The national visa of “D” category is granted to the certain individuals who are to be studying, working or permanently residing in one of the Schengen countries. The national visa can be of a single entry, granted for the people who are in need of residing in the Schengen country for a certain period of time, or for a sole purpose after which they shall return to their country.
Read more information about Schengen Visa Types!
Schengen Visa Fee
When applying for a Schengen visa there is a non-refundable mandatory visa fee every applicant must pay. The visa costs vary depending on the type of visa and age of the applicant as well as some other exceptions stated in the text.
The regular fee (in Euro)
- Airport transit visa – 60.00 EUR
- Short stay visa, less than 90 days – 60.00 EUR
- Long stay visa, more than 90 days – 99.00 EUR
Read more information about Schengen Visa Fee!
Schengen Travel Visa Insurance
Anyone travelling temporarily to a Schengen area from a country that is subject to visa requirements, be it an individual or group visitors, tourists, or business travelers is required to purchase travel insurance that covers the number of days he/she will be spending in the Schengen Area.
The insurance must be valid throughout the territory of the Member States and cover the entire period of the person’s intended stay or transit. The minimum coverage must be EUR 30,000! We recommend this one!
You can find more information by clicking Schengen Travel Visa Insurance!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Schengen Visa?
A Schengen visa obtained by any of the Schengen Area member countries allows free movement to its holder within the whole Schengen Zone regarding the European Union Schengen members as well as the EFTA Schengen members, up to its validity and timeframe.
What does EFTA stand for?
EFTA is an association of ten Fair Trade importers in nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). EFTA was established informally in 1987 by some of the oldest and largest Fair Trade importers. It gained formal status in 1990. EFTA is based in the Netherlands and has Dutch Articles of Association.
How does EFTA differ from EU?
While the EFTA stands for an association of ten Fair Trade importers in nine European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom), the EU is a group of mostly European countries, (28 to be exact) that participates in the world economy as one economic unit and operates under one official currency, the euro.
When issued a visa, for how long can I reside in the Schengen Zone?
According to the type of visa issued by the certain embassy/consulate of any Schengen country there are different restrictions that apply to the particular visa in accordance to the nature of travelling and other relevant circumstances. However, the most common type of visa issued to the travellers can reach the maximum of 90 days in every six month period starting from the date of entry.
In which occasion am I allowed to apply for a Schengen visa?
Every person is allowed to apply for a Schengen visa as long as they can get all the required documentation in order and possess the financial means to maintain themselves during their stay to the Schengen area.
What type of a Schengen visa do I need?
Depending on the purpose/nature of your travel there are three major types of Schengen visa issued by the designated Embassy/Consulate.
- The Uniform Schengen Visa stands for a permit of one of the Schengen Area Member Countries to transit or reside in the desired territory for a certain period of time up to the maximum of 90 days every six month period starting from the date of entry.
- The Limited territorial validity visa allows you to travel only in the Schengen State that has issued the visa or in some other cases, in the certain Schengen States specifically mentioned when applying for the visa.
- The national visa is granted to the certain individuals who are to be studying, working or permanently residing in one of the Schengen countries.
What is a Uniform Schengen Visa?
According to the purpose of traveling the Uniform Schengen Visa applies to all of the three categories, “A”, “B” and “C”.
- “A” category stands for the Airport Transit Visa which allows its holder to travel through the international zone of the Schengen Country Airport without entering the Schengen Country Area. Airport transit visa is mandatory for the citizens travelling from one non-Schengen state to another non-Schengen state through a change of flights in a Schengen Country airport.
- “B” category stands for the Transit Visa which allows its holder to transit within no more than 5 days through more than one Schengen country by car, coach or plane on the way to a Non-Schengen country.
- “C” category stands for a Short-term visa which allows its holder to reside in a Schengen Country for a certain period of time depending on the visa validity.
What is the difference between Airport transit visa and Transit visa?
While the Airport Transit Visa allows its holder to travel through the international zone of the Schengen Country Airport without entering the Schengen Country Area the Transit visa which allows its holder to transit within no more than 5 days through more than one Schengen country by car, coach or plane on the way to a non-Schengen country.
What is the difference between a single-entry and a multiple-entry Schengen visa?
Single-entry visa allows its holder to enter a Schengen Area only once for the certain period of time. Once you leave the Schengen Area you entered the visa validity expires even if the time period allowed to stay in the Schengen Area is not over yet, while Multiple-entry visa allows its holder to go in and out of the Schengen Area as pleased.
What is a Limited territorial validity visa?
Limited territorial validity is a document that allows one to travel only in the Schengen State that has issued the visa or in some other cases, in the certain Schengen States specifically mentioned in the itinerary when applying for the visa. Apart from these Schengen countries, this specific visa is invalid to any other Schengen country not specified prior.
What is a National visa?
The national visa can be of a single entry, granted for the people who are in need of residing in the Schengen country for a certain period of time and for a sole purpose after which they shall return to their country. On the other hand a multi-entry national visa is also granted for certain individuals allowing its holder to travel in and out of this Schengen country as he/she pleases and also travel throughout the whole Schengen Area without additional visa requirements.
Can I travel to more than one Schengen country with the same Schengen visa?
Yes, once you are issued the visa you can travel within the Schengen area as long as you don’t exceed the timeframe granted your visa.
Where do I apply for the Schengen visa?
In cases where the applicant will be traveling to one and only one Schengen country, the applicant has to apply at the appropriate embassy/consulate of the designated country.
If I am travelling to more than one Schengen country, at which embassy do I apply for a Schengen Visa?
If the applicant is planning to visit two or more Schengen countries, it is highly recommended to be applying for the visa in the embassy/consulate of the country you will be residing in for most of the traveling days, referred to as the main destination.
What steps do I follow when pursuing a Schengen visa?
Every person the wishes to apply for a visa in order to visit a Schengen member country is obliged to apply in person, gather all the mandatory documents and first and foremost accordingly to the rules and regulations, make an appointment in advance. The person that will be applying for a visa has to make sure he/she holds a valid passport apropos a passport that has been issued no longer than ten years ago and has a period of six month until its expiration date.
What type of documentation will I need in order to apply for a Schengen visa?
You can find all required documents here!
Where can I get the application form for Schengen visa?
The application form can be downloaded from this page. The application form has the same format no matter which country’s visa it is that the applicant wants to apply for.
How do I fill the application form for Schengen visa?
The application form can be filled in either by handwriting or by typing into it. Careful not to leave any columns blank. If the applicant feels that there are columns that don’t correspond to his/her matter, fill them with NA (No Answer).
Do I have to hand the documentation personally at the embassy/consulate?
Yes. When applying for the visa you should bear in mind that you have to personally hand the required documents once you’ve made an appointment at the embassy/consulate.
Do I have to make an appointment at the Embassy/Consulate or I can show up whenever I desire?
This depends on the embassy/consulate you are applying to yet commonly it is necessary to make an appointment prior via phone/email. However, in order to be sure the applicant must contact the designated embassy/consulate and ask for further information.
What do they commonly ask in the interview for the Visa?
During the interview you will be asked personal questions about your whereabouts, the intended trip and other travel details. Make sure your answers are firm and correct.
Is it normal for the embassy/consulate to require additional documents beside the ones that are mandatory?
Yes. Apart from all the mandatory documents when applying for a Schengen visa, depending on the type of visa you are seeking there are several additional documents that can be required by the embassy/consulate.
Do I buy the plane ticket before or after they issue the visa?
After. One must have a copy of the reservation of the return ticket for the time intended to be travelling. It is not recommendable to buy the ticket before getting the visa, if not necessary.
If someone is expecting me at the Schengen country, how do I document that to the Embassy/Consulate?
If you are applying for a Schengen visa to visiting friends or relatives living in the Schengen area there are some additional documents you need to attach in order to prove it such as:
- The formal invitation by the relative/friend residing in a Schengen country.
- If the applicant declares that he/she will be covering all the travel expenses, proof of one’s financial status is requested otherwise if the relative/friend is to cover the applicants expenses, a formal document issued by the competent authorities to a resident of a Schengen country (the friend/relative in this case) is to be submitted.
- If the applicant will be covering the expenses on his/her own, the relatives/friends name, address and the copy of their passport will suffice. In case that the friend/relative is not a citizen of this Schengen country, the copy of the residency permit will also be required.
How much money do I have to own in order to get the Schengen visa?
Only enough to cover the expenses made during the trip as in, accommodation and everyday costs for the days being.
Do I have to send copies of previous visas when applying for a new visa?
Yes, in case you have any.
How much time does it take to get a response when applying for a Schengen visa?
Although it takes no more than 24-48 hours for processing a visa in general, there are times when this process takes quite much longer, for 14 up to 21 days in some countries concerning some citizens.
Can I apply for a Schengen visa in a country where I am not a resident?
Yes. If you must apply for a Schengen visa in a country where you are not a resident, the justification why you are applying from that country will suffice.
What do I do if I urge to extend the visa?
In case of any trustworthy reasons, personal, occupational, medical or otherwise, the applicant has to turn to the corresponding institutions in the Schengen country of residence and apply for an extension of the visa.
What documentation do I need if I am travelling for the purpose of studying in order to get a Schengen Visa?
Travelling for the purpose of studying:
- For starters, two application forms are to be filled.
- The letter of acceptance in a Schengen country University/College/School
- Proof that one is able to reside and financially maintain him/herself during their stay in the Schengen zone.
More information about Study Visa, please visit Student Schengen Visa.
Do I need additional documents to reside more than 90 days in a Schengen country?
Yes. Depending on the nature of your travel, there are several other document one has to attach in order to obtain a long-stay visa aka National visa “D”.
What is a residency permit?
Permanent residency refers to a person’s visa status: the person is allowed to reside indefinitely within a country of which he or she is not a citizen. A person with such status is known as a permanent resident.
Am I able to travel within the Schengen area with the residency permit?
The residency permit is allows you to freely travel throughout the whole Schengen area, without any additional documents needed. The residency permit is stamped in your passport. However, you have to notify the authorities if you intend to make trips in and out of the Schengen space.
What if there is not embassy/consulate of the designated country in my homeland?
In some third world countries there might not be an embassy/consulate of the particular Schengen country you need the visa issued from. Nevertheless, that doesn’t pose any problems since in these cases there are embassy/consulate representatives of the country that represents the interests of the country in the matter as well as their own which are responsible to issue the applicant the required visa.
What documents do I need to attach if I am self-employed, when applying for a Schengen visa?
In case the applicant is the owner of the company he/she is working for, the business registration, tax returns and the latest bank statement is to be attached.
Can I get a visa if I am of minor age?
Yes. Both parents/guardians have to sign the application form. In case they are divorced/separated, and they share custody of the child again both of the parents have to sign. In caste only one of the parents has custody of the child, that parent will sign the application form.
Are there any additional document requested as a minor in obtaining a Schengen visa procedure?
Yes, as following:
- A birth certificate of the child
- The application form signed by both parents/guardians or the one that has custody over the child in case of a divorce.
- Family court if only one parent shares has full custody
- If a child is travelling alone, a notarized parental authorization, signed by both parents or a guardian.
In case my Schengen visa application is denied, will I get my money back?
No. There is a non-refundable administration fee when applying for a visa.
Where do I pay for the visa?
The Schengen visa fee can be paid in the designated consulate/embassy via cash, debit or credit card.
Is the visa fee the same for adults and for children?
No. Children between the ages of 6-12 pay only 35 euros, while children under the age of 6 are not required to pay anything.
What is travel insurance?
The concept of travel insurance relates to covering up medical expenses in case an injury or unexpected sickness arises during one’s trip. Apart from medical expenses, travel insurance is destined to cover different losses suffered during the trip including one’s own country as well as internationally.
Where do I purchase travel insurance?
Travellers purchase an individual travel insurance policy for the days planned to spend in a Schengen territory at the rightful insurance/travel agency. The insurance policy can be purchased either online or conventionally depending on the chosen company
Does everybody need travel insurance?
Anyone travelling temporarily to a Schengen area from a country that is subject to visa requirements, be it a individual visitors or group visitors, tourists, or business travellers has to be insured for the time being in the Schengen area.
Should I bring my medical file with me if I am travelling to a foreign country?
In case you have a preexisting health condition it is highly recommendable.
If I am travelling on vacation, and get hurt while engaging in an extreme sport of any kind, will insurance pay for my medical bills?
No, commonly this case is one of the limitations. However if you choose to pay extra there can be an arrangement.