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Schengen Visa for Official Visits – Traveling to Europe for Official Visits

A Schengen Visa for Official Visits to Europe is an entry permit for those undertaking journeys to the territory, following an official invitation to participate in:

  • meetings
  • consultations
  • negotiations
  • exchange programs
  • other events held in the Schengen Zone by intergovernmental organizations

Only the nationals of third-world countries that have not established an agreement on visa-free regime with the Schengen Area need a visa to enter the area for official visits.

What Documents are Required When Applying for a Schengen Visa for Official Visits?

The required documents for those applying to obtain a Schengen Visa for Official Visits in any of the member states, are as following:

  • Schengen Visa application form. Fully completed and signed by the applicant.
  • Two recent photos. Identical and taken within the last three months. Edited photos are not accepted.
  • Valid passport. Your passport must be valid for another three months, after your departure from the Schengen area. It must have at least two unused pages, and issued within the last 10 years.
  • Copies of passport pages. Copies of the passport pages containing applicant’s information, and copies of all pages with visas and stamps on them, must be submitted.
  • Roundtrip airline ticket. A document that includes dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from the Schengen area.
  • Medical Travel Insurance. You insurance should be valid for all Schengen states and cover the entire period of your intended stay or transit. The minimum coverage shall be EUR 30,000.
  • Proof of financial means. Document that show who and how will cover your expenses during your visit in Europe. This could be one of the following:
    • Verbal Note. If you are a representative of your government, a verbal note issued by the respective ministry, confirming they will pay all your expenses, should be submitted.
    • Bank statements of your bank account. The statements should be of the last three months, proving you have the necessary means to cover your expenses.
  • Proof of Accommodation. A documents which shows where you will be staying throughout your visit, as i.e. a hotel booking with details regarding the hotel and your period of stay.
  • Proof of paid fee. The fee for a Visa for Official Visits is €60. Diplomatic passport holders are exempt from paying the fee.
  • Letter of Invitation from the organization in Schengen. An original letter issued by the organization in Schengen, duly signed by the authorized representative, should be submitted alongside with the other documents. It should state:
    • who will cover the expenses for the visit
    • the purpose of travel
    • details of travel schedule (throughout the Schengen areas) including places to visit and dates of visit, together with
    • the list of people travelling, their position and passport number
  • Official Note of the Consular Department. Applicable only for Diplomatic and Official passports.

Keep in mind that the embassy /consulate / VAC where you lodge your application reserves the right to require extra documents from you, prior or upon the submission of your application.

Where to Submit a Schengen Visa Application for Official Visits

In case you are planning to visit only one Schengen country, where you will carry the official visit, submit your Schengen visa application at the embassy / consulate / VAC of that country.

Howbeit, if you are planning to visit two or more Schengen countries on the go, you should check the rules about Choosing the Right Embassy/Consulate to Submit the Visa Application for Official Visits.

Please pay attention to these rules, since it is very important to file your application at the right place. Lodging you application at the wrong authority, will result in the rejection of your Schengen Visa application.

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa for Official Visits

The steps to apply for a Schengen Visa for Official visits in any of the members states are as following:

  1. Make sure if you need a visa for official visits.
  2. Check where you need to apply.
  3. Complete the Schengen visa application form.
  4. Gather the requirements for a Schengen Visa for Official Visits.
  5. Appoint a visa interview with the competent authority in your home country.
  6. Attend you appointment.
  7. Pay the visa fee, if it applies to you.
  8. Wait for the embassy to process your application.

When to Apply for a Schengen Visa for Official Visits

The most favorable time to submit an application for a Schengen Visa for Official Visits, is four month prior to your planned departure to Europe.

You have an available period of two and a half months to submit your application. The earliest you can lodge your application is three months prior to your trip and the latest is 15 days prior to your departure date.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Schengen Visa for Official Visits

The processing time for a Schengen Visa for Official Visits is within 15 days from the date you have applied. Depending on the total number of applications submitted at that time, you can receive an answer on your visa application within a shorter period.

Still, in some situations, as at peak season when embassies receive more applications and in other specific cases, this period may be extended to 30 days. Extraordinary cases may take up to 60 days to get a response on their application.

How Long is the Schengen Visa for Official Visits valid for?

A Schengen Visa for Official Visits is valid for up to 90 days within a 180 days period. Still, the validity of your visa may be different, i.e. 5 days or 1 month. It all depends on the embassy that issued you the visa.

To find out how long your visa is valid, check the visa sticker affixed in your passport, when you collect your visa. Read the visa sticker carefully since it has all of the necessary information.

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