What is the Schengen Visa?
The Schengen Visa is a short-stay visa that can be used to travel to countries in the Schengen area. This visa is the most common visa for Europe and can be used for both tourist and business purposed. The Schengen visa is usually valid for up to 90 days in any 180 day period.
The Schengen Area is the largest free travel area in the world. It is an EU passport-free zone that covers most of the countries in Europe. There are no border controls between Schengen countries and the Schengen Visa will allow you to travel freely between them.
It’s important to note that the Schengen Visa cannot be used for long-term stays in Europe and can also not be used if you plan to work or study in Europe. If you wish to live, work or study in any of the Schengen countries then you will need to apply for one of the national visas in that country. The Schengen visa can be used for visiting friends and family, business purposes, tourism, attending events, medical reasons, short-term study and research purposes and airport transfers.
Types of Schengen Visas
There are various types of Schengen Visas available, the right one for you will depend on why you are planning to travel to a Schengen country as well as other factors. There are four main categories of Schengen Visas – A, B, C and D.
A, B and C Schengen Visa types are all known as Uniform Schengen Visas, however, they are subject to different entry restrictions. A Uniform Schengen Visa can be used for the following:
Type A: This is an airport transit visa that allows non-Schengen citizens to either transit through or get a connecting flight from an airport in a Schengen country. Type A Schengen Visa holders are not allowed to enter the Schengen country as this visa can only be used by those travelling from a non-Schengen country to another Schengen country.
Type B: This is another type of transit visa that allows non-Schengen nationals to travel through Schengen countries to get to a non-Schengen country. The travel cannot last for more than 5 days and can be done by car, coach, or plane.
Type C: This is a short-stay Schengen Visa that is the most common type of Schengen Visa, it allows you to travel freely between Schengen countries for up to 90 days in a 180 day period. The Type C Schengen Visa also has several subcategories, the type that you are granted will depend on the purpose of your trip, they include:
- Single-Entry Visa: This allows you to enter the Schengen area once, if you leave the Schengen area your visa will no longer be valid.
- Double-Entry Visa: This allows you to enter the Schengen area twice so you can leave once and still return. If you leave a second time your visa will no longer be valid.
- Multiple-Entry Visa: This allows you to enter and leave as many times as you like providing you stick to the 90 days maximum visit in a 180 day period rule. Multiple-entry visas are available for periods of 1 year, 3 years and 5 years.
The D visa is a national visa that is a long-stay visa for those who plan to live, work or study in the Schengen area for over 90 days. Both single-entry and multiple-entry visas are available for this category.
There is also another type of Schengen Visa known as the Limited Territorial Validity Visa (LTV), this visa only allows you to enter the Schengen member country that issued you your visa. This visa type is not very common and is generally only issued for humanitarian reasons or international obligations.
Who needs a visa for Europe?
All foreign nationals who are from a country that does not have a visa-waiver agreement with the Schengen member states must have a Schengen visa if they plan to visit any Schengen countries. The visa must be obtained before travelling to the Schengen area.
You will need a Schengen visa if you are a citizen of any of the following countries:
|Angola||Ghana||Papua New Guinea|
|Belize||Indonesia||Sao Tome And Principe|
|Burkina Faso||Kazakhstan||South Africa|
|Central African Republic||Lebanon||Syria|
|Dem. Rep. Of Congo||Mali||Tunisia|
|North Korea||Northern Mariana’s|
Which countries does the Schengen Visa cover?
The Schengen zone is made up of 26 countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement, they include:
Not all countries in the Schengen are a part of the European Union and not all countries in the European Union are a part of the Schengen area.
As well as the 26 member states, there are also some countries that are not in the Schengen area but that permit the entry of non-Schengen nationals if they have a valid Schengen Visa, a full list of those countries can be found here.
How to apply for a Schengen Visa?
You can apply for a Schengen visa at your local embassy or consulate for the Schengen country that you are planning to go to. If you plan on visiting multiple Schengen member states then you should either apply at the embassy or consulate of the member state that you will arrive at first or the one that you will spend the most time in.
To apply you will first need to book a visa appointment at your chosen embassy or consulate, this can usually be done online. You will then need to fill in the Schengen Visa application form which you can download online. The application form will ask you for information about yourself, the purpose of your visit and other details about your trip. After completing the application form you must print two copies and sign each of them.
When you attend your visa interview you must bring your visa application form as well as other supporting documents. During your interview, the consular officer may ask you questions about the trip you plan to take including where you plan to go and other travel details. Usually, your interview will last around 10 to 15 minutes.
Once you have attended your visa interview and paid the visa fee you need to wait for a response about your application, this usually takes no longer than 15 days.
How can London Immigration Lawyer help?
Applying for a Schengen visa can be a complex process, but our lawyers are here to help you with your visa application. We can inform you whether you must obtain a visa to travel to Schengen area countries and can answer any questions that you may have about the short-stay Schengen Visa application process.
We also offer an application package to support you throughout your application, our visa services include:
- Assessing your eligibility
- Filling in paperwork on your behalf
- Helping you to gather your supporting documents
- Thoroughly checking your documents and application form
For more information about how our lawyers can help you to apply for a visa for European countries, get in touch on 020 4502 8582.
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To be eligible for a short-stay Schengen visa you must meet certain entry requirements. You will need to be able to prove the following:
- That you intend to return to your home country once your visa runs out
- That you have suitable accommodation for your visit to the Schengen zone
- That you have the financial means to support yourself during your trip
- That you have travel insurance that covers the whole of the Schengen zone
As well as supporting documents to prove that you meet these requirements there are a number of other documents you will need to provide, they include:
- A valid passport
- Your visa application form
- Proof that you have paid the visa fee
- Two recent photographs of yourself
Foreign citizens from non-Schengen countries that do not have agreements that make them visa-exempt in the Schengen zone need a visa if they plan to enter Europe.
A short-stay visa can be used for visits of up to 90 days. If you plan on staying longer or you want to work or study in the Schengen territory then you will need to apply for a national visa for the country you intend to live in.
A Schengen visa usually costs €80 and €45 for children between the ages of 6 to 12. There is no fee for children under the age of 6.
Some foreign citizens can also be eligible for a reduced fee or no fee.
There is no fee for Holders of a diplomatic, official or service passport that are travelling for official purposes, the family member of EU/EEA nationals, pupils, students and teachers on a school trip and researchers performing scientific research.
There is a reduced fee of €35 for citizens of Nationals from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia.
The Schengen visa is the most popular Europe visa. It allows you to travel to 26 Schengen member countries in Europe. There are no internal borders in the Schengen zone so you can travel freely between the Schengen States with this visa.
To get a Schengen visa for Europe you will need to apply at the consulate of the country you intend to visit. If you intend to visit more than one country in the Schengen zone then you should apply at the consulate of the country you will arrive at first or the main destination country that you will spend the most time in.