You need a Schengen Visa if you consider traveling to the Schengen Area in Europe. Every day, applications from around the world arrive at the embassies of Schengen nations, necessitating a thorough examination of supporting documentation and the purpose of the visit.
To maximize your chances of a successful visa application, you must learn about the visa. This post covers everything you need to know. Read on.
What is the Schengen Area?
Schengen is a European zone comprising 26 countries that have no internal borders. Instead, these countries have all concentrated on fortifying their exterior borders. Citizens of the Schengen Zone may travel from one country to another inside the territory as if the entire zone were a single country.
The Schengen Agreement was signed by France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in the little wine-producing town and commune of Schengen in far-southeastern Luxembourg.
Most of Europe is part of the Schengen Area, including some of the continent’s oldest and most powerful nations. The majority of the countries are also a part of the EU bloc.
On the other hand, other nations, like Switzerland and Lichtenstein, are not a part of the EU but have unrestricted travel within this zone because they are a part of the Schengen Zone.
Approximately 400 million people live there today and travel 1.2 billion miles within the Schengen area every year.
What is a Schengen Visa?
A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that enables travelers to enter any nation that is a part of the Schengen Area and remain there for up to 90 days for either leisure or business.
The most prevalent visa for Europe is the Schengen visa. It allows the holder to leave the Schengen region and enter it free from any Schengen member nations. As mentioned earlier, the Schengen Area does not have border restrictions.
Prior to traveling to Europe, all citizens of third countries that have not yet reached a visa liberalization agreement with Schengen member states must get a visa.
However, you must apply for a national visa rather than a Schengen Visa if you intend to study, work, or reside in one of the Schengen countries for longer than 90 days.
To check whether you need a Schengen Visa to travel to one of the Schengen member countries, here is the list of countries whose citizens must apply for a Schengen visa before traveling to the EU.
Airport Transit Schengen Visa
The European Union implemented new visa rules for transiting through Schengen Area airports in 2010. An Airport Transit Schengen Visa is a type of Uniform Schengen Visa that permits citizens of non-Schengen nations to change flights in one of the zone’s airports.
Note that the Airport Transit Schengen Visa is not a European visa and cannot be used to exit the international transit zone, in contrast to the other Uniform Visas.
This procedure also applies if you have to stay at the airport overnight or leave early for a subsequent flight. You must apply for a standard Schengen visa if you need to travel by air between two or more airports in the Schengen region.
Individual Schengen members may impose various airport transit visa criteria to approve visa applications in extraordinary cases. Most members have also expanded the list of nations for whom a transit visa is required.
The following nations’ citizens must apply for an airport transit Schengen visa:
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Sri Lanka
If you possess a residency permit issued by a Schengen nation or are a relative of a Schengen/EU national, you can be excused from the transit visa requirement.
Required Documents for Schengen Visa
If you are a non-EU/Schengen country national, you will be required to submit certain documents at the Schengen port of entry, regardless of whether you are visa-exempt or not.
The following documents are required for entry into the Schengen Area:
- An international passport with at least two blank pages. The validity of your passport must extend for at least three months after the day you depart the Schengen Area, and it must have been issued within the last ten years.
- Your filled-out visa application form.
- Proof that you intend to go back to your native country.
- Two passport photographs according to ICAO requirements.
- Proof of application fee payment.
- Travel insurance that includes repatriation and any emergency medical care. You should have a genuine policy with a minimum coverage of €30,000.
- Detailed itinerary of your journey. This includes information about the lodging you’ve reserved and your mode of transportation within the Schengen Zone.
Although you might not need a visa to go to Europe, you still need a current passport to enter the Schengen Area.
Some information and documentation, such as sufficient finances, evidence of lodging, the length of your intended stay, a round-trip ticket, the reason for your arrival, travel insurance, an invitation letter, etc., are optional. You may only need to present them if EU/Schengen border officers request them.
When you enter the Schengen area, please ensure that the border official stamps your passport with an entry stamp. You could be penalized or jailed if you don’t have a stamp.
Read Also: UK Start-Up Visa: Begin A Business In The UK
How To Apply For Schengen Visa
The Embassy, Consulate, or visa application center of the nation you desire to visit is where you must submit your Schengen visa application. It should be noted that some Schengen countries only accept visa applications from citizens of the nation from which the application is made.
For example, for some Schengen countries, only legal US residents may submit applications from the US. With this visa, you are permitted to travel to multiple member states.
If you plan to travel to multiple Schengen nations, you should submit your application to the nation that will be your first stop or where you will be spending the longest time.
Booking an appointment at the local Embassy or Consulate of your preferred Schengen member nation is the first step in the Schengen visa application procedure. Typically, this can be done online. Following that, you will need to complete the online application for a Schengen visa and acquire all necessary documents.
You must appear for your visa interview and present the consular officer with your application form and supporting paperwork. You will be questioned about your trip during the interview, including where you want to go and why. Last but not least, you must pay the visa application fee.
Your application must be submitted at least 15 days before your planned trip. You cannot, however, submit your application sooner than three months prior to the day you want to enter the Schengen Area.
A decision is typically received in 15 days. This time frame may be increased by up to 60 days if the consulate requests more supporting documentation.
How Much Is Schengen Visa?
The current Schengen Visa application fee is €80. Minors under six years do not have to pay an application fee, while children aged 6 to 12 pay a reduced visa charge of €40.
Additionally, the following people are excluded from paying the application fee for a Schengen Visa:
- passport holders who are traveling for business or official purposes
- family members of citizens of the EU/EEA
- On a school excursion, pupils, students, and accompanying teachers
- Traveling researchers who conduct scientific research
Russian, Azerbaijani, and Armenian nationals pay a discounted price of €35.
You can check the Schengen Visa Fees List, which details the groups that qualify for discounted visa fees or are exempt from paying the fees.
Schengen Visa Entry Restrictions
With a Schengen visa, foreign nationals can visit a Schengen country for up to 90 days throughout the course of 180 days. However, there are other visa types that have different requirements that you must follow.
The majority of them fall into the Uniform Schengen Visa category. Notably, you can travel to any Schengen country with a uniform visa.
However, the entry requirements differ for each of the subcategories of the uniform Schengen visa. The subcategories are single-entry, double-entry, and multiple-entry visas.
The single-entry visa is the most common. It allows the bearer to enter a Schengen country only once throughout the validity period. In other words, if the visa bearer leaves the Schengen area, the visa becomes invalid.
A double-entry visa is similar to a single entrance visa, with the exception that it allows its holder to re-enter the Schengen region after leaving it.
On the other hand, holders of multiple-entry visas are permitted unlimited entry and exit from the Schengen region as long as they don’t remain more than 90 days in a 180-day period. A multiple entry visa can be valid for 1, 3, and 5 years.
The Limited Territorial Validity Visas are a different class. Holders of LTV visas are only allowed to travel within the Schengen nation or nations from whom they got the visa. No transit through or travel to any other Schengen nations is permitted with this visa.
Frequently Asked Questions About Schengen Visas
Which European Countries Issue Schengen Visas?
The 26 nations that have ratified the Schengen Agreement make up the Schengen zone, which permits unfettered travel between the member nations without going through passport or border checks. Any of the participating nations may issue visas for the Schengen area.
Some nineteen other nations do not belong to the Schengen Zone. Still, they let foreign nationals of other non-Schengen countries enter and remain on their soil. They can enter if they provide a valid multiple-entry Schengen Visa.
To enter, transit through, or spend a brief time in these countries, you do not require a national visa granted by one of these nations.
Which Schengen country has the highest visa approval rate?
With a small percentage of short-term visa applications being denied in recent years, Lithuania is the country where obtaining a Schengen visa is simplest. Up to 90% of people who apply for a Schengen visa to Lithuania will have their request approved.
In addition, Lithuania is positioned roughly in the center of the table regarding the overall volume of applications for short-term visas. Additionally, it means that you will wait less time to schedule an appointment.
Is the Schengen visa a UK visa?
The answer is no. Under EU legislation, the UK and Ireland have a special position. Although the Schengen accord must be a part of EU law, the UK is given the option not to participate.
The Schengen and UK visas are, therefore, two separate endorsements. Neither one by itself can allow you access to the other.
One cannot enter the UK with only a Schengen visa. The UK is neither a member of the EU nor the Schengen Agreement. The country has its visa system. Therefore, you will require a UK visa if you want to travel to the UK.
It may be confusing when applying for a Schengen Visa due to its intricacy – especially with being able to apply to different countries.
Nevertheless, you should find the procedure simpler after going through this WorldTravelPride post. Please drop your questions in the comment box below if you have any.