If you are from a country that is outside the European area and wish to gain access to one of the countries within the Schengen Agreement for a period of three months or less as a student, tourist or business person, you will need to apply for a Schengen Visa. If you want to know more about this visa type, this article will tell you everything that you need to know about the types of Schengen Visa available, how to apply for one, the requirements that you must meet and the fee that must be paid.
What Is The Schengen Visa?
A Schengen Visa is a document that is issued to those who come from a country outside of the Schengen Agreement and who wish to travel either to or within the designated Schengen Area and stay therefore a period of less than 3 months. There are 26 countries who are part of the Schengen Area, meaning that they have decided to allow free movement of citizens between the countries in the agreement as if they were one country. Of those 26 countries, 22 are EU countries and the others are part of the EFTA. Most European countries are included within the Schengen area, with some exceptions including the UK, Cyprus, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Ireland. There are also some countries that are not a part of the EU but that do belong in the Schengen area, and these include Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.
Do I Need A Schengen Visa?
Anyone who is from a country that is outside the Schengen Area and who wishes to enter it must apply for a Schengen Visa unless they are from one of the excluded countries. The information about which countries' citizens require a Schengen Visa can be found on the visa's own website. Citizens from some countries must apply for a Schengen Visa even if they are only changing airplanes at an airport within the Schengen Zone. Information about which countries this pertains too can also be found on the Schengen Visa website.
Types of Schengen Visa
Anyone who wishes to visit one or more countries in the Schengen Zone must apply for a tourist Schengen Visa. They can either apply for a single or multiple entry visa but can stay for no more than 90 days or 3 months in one year with a gap of 6 months between visits. To apply for this visa type, applicants must provide the relevant paperwork including a passport photo, a valid passport with at least 2 blank pages and a copy of the return ticket reservation. There must also be evidence of a travel medical insurance policy with a value of up to 30,000 Euros and valid within all Schengen countries. If you are visiting friends or relatives with this type of visa, you will also need to supply a current bank statement and a statement describing the purpose of travelling and the time frame of travel. If visiting a friend or relative, an invitation from that person must be submitted together with proof of financial status such as a current bank statement as well as a detailed itinerary of the visit. Sometimes, proof of having no criminal record is also required.
If you are planning on doing business or one or more occasions within the Schengen Zone for a period of no longer than 90 days within a year with a gap of 6 months between, you should apply for the business visa. Most of the requirements are the same for the application as for the Tourist visa, but a profile of your employment together with an invitation letter from the partner company or letter from your employer stating your business within the Schengen Zone should also be included.
Any student wishing to come to the Schengen Zone to study must apply for a Student Schengen Visa, however if they are planning on studying for a longer period than 90 days, they must also apply for the relevant residency permit. Students must include a letter from their university or college to prove that they will be studying during their visit.
This type of visa is solely required by those who are transiting through a Schengen Zone country on their way to another destination. There are 2 types of transit visa - A category is an Airport Transit Visa for those who have several hours to wait between flights within the international airport area, and B category is a Transit Visa for those who will be traveling by car or who will be going through a number of Schengen Zone airports in which case this visa allows access for up to 5 days.
How to Apply For a Schengen Visa
The first step to applying for a Schengen Visa is to download and complete an application form. If you are applying on behalf of a minor, a parent's written consent must be given. You must apply to the appropriate consulate or embassy of the country that they wish to visit if you are only going to one Schengen Zone country. If you are planning to go to 2 or more, you should apply to the embassy of the country in which they will be spending the majority of their stay. If you will be staying an equal period of time in each country, you should then apply to the embassy of the first country that you plan to visit. You should ensure that your application is submitted at least 6 weeks before your departure in order to ensure that your application can be reviewed and processed accordingly. Although usually it takes just 72 hours to process your visa, sometimes it can take much longer, often up to 3 weeks.