Are you planning to visit any or several countries in Europe and wondering the type of Visa you need? A Schengen Visa will allow you to visit all the European countries within the Schengen Area. However, you must provide proof of travel insurance, evidence of financial means, and proof of accommodation in Europe at the entry port.
The earliest you can apply for a Schengen visa is six months before the intended journey. But you must make your application at least 15 days before the day you intend to travel. A Schengen Visa is a short-stay type of visa and only allows one to stay for a duration of up to 90 days in total within 180 days.
How long you stay in the country depends on the embassy’s decision. They can assign you more days or less depending on what they deem fit. Similarly, they decide the earliest date you can enter and the last date when you can leave.
Where can I Get a Schengen Visa?
You can get a Schengen Visa from any of the Schengen states. All the 26 Schengen states have an agreement to eliminate every internal border. Thus, they have a common policy pertaining to Visas. However, the procedures and required documentation for a visa differs from one Schengen state to another.
Who Requires a Schengen Visa?
If you want to enter any Schengen state you will require a Schengen Visa if you are from a non-Schengen country. You also need this visa if your country lacks a Visa Facilitation Agreement with the EU. You should also note that from November 2023, any individual under the visa-free regime will need to apply for ETIAS.
A Schengen visa can be issued if one wishes to visit friends or family members or for official visits. You can also get one to make a business, medical, tourism/sightseeing visit or to travel for research, sports or cultural exchange programs.
Types of Schengen Visas
All the visas issued for the purposes mentioned above are generally referred to as category C visas. However, a Schengen visa can also be issued under special circumstances such as when one needs to transit through a Schengen state airport. This kind of Visa is also known as a Category A visa.
Schengen visas can also be classified according to the number of entries and the number of countries one can visit. These are known as the Uniform Schengen visa and the Limited Territorial Validity visa.
1. Uniform Schengen Visas (USV)
Having a Uniform Schengen Visa (USV) implies that you can travel and stay in the Schengen states for 90 days or less within a period of six months. The single entry USV allows one to enter a Schengen state once and stay until the visa expires. The visa expires even when you leave before the 90 days.
A Double-entry USV on the other hand, allows the holder to enter a Schengen state twice as long as it is still valid. The visa expires if you leave the country after the second entry. Finally, the Multiple-entry visa enables the holder to enter the Schengen area as many times as possible before its expiration date.
2. Limited territorial validity visas (LTV)
With a Limited Territorial Validity (LTV) visa, you can only stay within the Schengen state that issued your visa. It does not allow you to move from one country to another and can only be given for international obligations or humanitarian purposes.
How much does it Cost to apply for a Schengen Visa?
The application fees for a Schengen visa will vary depending on whether you are an adult or a child. Adults pay 80€ while children aged between 6 and 12 years pay 45€. Ensure you keep the receipt since you will need it once your application has been processed. In cases where the application is rejected, a new application fee must be paid during reapplication.
If you have a family member who is a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen you could get a visa free of charge. It only applies where you are traveling with your family member or have plans to join them wherever they are traveling to.