Introduction to Schengen Visa

Types of Schengen Visas

Where to Obtain a Schengen Visa?

Visa Requirements FAQ's

1. Introduction

The Schengen Visa is a term used in context with tourist visa for Europe which covers 26 European countries. With this single visa you can travel to any of these countries without the need of separate visas for each country.

The Benefits of Holding a Schengen Visa

Traveling on a Schengen Visa means that the visa holder can travel to any (or all) member countries using one single visa, thus avoiding the hassle and expense of obtaining individual visas for each country. This is particularly beneficial for persons who wish to visit several European countries on the same trip. Internal border controls have disappeared; there are no or few stops and checks. This means that internal air, road and train travel are handled as domestic trips, similar to travel from one United States state to another. This was not the case before the Schengen Visa; for example, imagine having to get a visa traveling from California to Oregon, then another for traveling to Nevada.

Purpose and Duration of Visit

The purpose of the visit must be leisure, tourism, or business. Upon the issuance of the visa, the visa holder is allowed to enter all member countries and travel freely throughout the Schengen area. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period. It is strongly recommended to plan your journey within the timeframe of the Schengen Visa, as extensions can be very difficult to obtain, thus forcing you to leave to stay in compliance with the Schengen Rules and Regulations.

Schengen Visa Countries

Schengen Visa Countries
You can visit one, a few, or all of the following countries on a single Schengen Visa.

Austria

Belgium

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Italy

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Who Needs a Schengen Visa?

International travelers who reside outside of the Schengen Area and are traveling to multiple Schengen countries may be required to obtain a Schengen Visa. These travelers who are from the following countries must acquire a Schengen Visa:

Afghanistan

Algeria

Angola

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Belarus

Belize

Benin

Bhutan

Bolivia

Botswana

Burkina Faso

Burma/Myanmar

Burundi

Cambodia

Cameroon

Cape Verde

Central African Republic

Chad

China

Colombia

Comoros

Congo

Cote D'ivoire

Cuba

Dem. Rep. of Congo

Djibouti

Dominica

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Egypt

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Ethiopia

Fiji

Gabon

Gambia

Georgia

Ghana

Grenada

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Guyana

Haiti

India

Indonesia

Iran

Iraq

Jamaica

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Kenya

Kiribati

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

Laos

Lebanon

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Madagascar

Malawi

Maldives

Mali

Marshall Islands

Mauritania

Micronesia

Mongolia

Morocco

Mozambique

Namibia

Nauru

Nepal

Niger

Nigeria

North Korea

Northern Mariana Islands

Oman

Pakistan

Palau

Papua New Guinea

Peru

Philippines

Qatar

Russia

Rwanda

Samoa

São Tomé And Príncipe

Saudia Arabia

Senegal

Sierra Leone

Solomon Islands

Somalia

South Africa

Sri Lanka

St. Lucia

St. Vincent & The Grenadines

Sudan

Suriname

Swaziland

Syria

Tajikistan

Tanzania

Thailand

Timor-Leste

Togo

Tonga

Trinidad and Tobago

Tunisia

Turkey

Turkmenistan

Tuvalu

Uganda

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

Uzbekistan

Vanuatu

Vietnam

Yemen

Zambia

Zimbabwe

Kosova


2. Schengen Visa Types

Depending on your travel plans, you will be issued a certain Schengen visa. There are three types of Schengen visas, which are explained below.

1. Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)

The Uniform Schengen Visa is a short-term visa that allows the holder to travel within the Schengen territory for a certain amount of time. There are three categories of the Uniform Schengen Visa.

  • Category “A” – Airport Transit Visa. Travelers who are traveling from one non-Schengen country to another non-Schengen country via a Schengen country airport will need an Airport Transit Visa. The category “A” Schengen visa allows travelers to travel through Schengen Area airports without entering the Schengen Area.
  • Category “B” – Transit Visa. Travelers who are traveling from one non-Schengen country to another non-Schengen country and must pass through one or more Schengen countries en route must obtain a Transit Visa. The category “B” Schengen visa allows travelers to transit through the Schengen Area for no more than 5 days by car, coach, or plane.
  • Category “C” – Short-term Visa. Travelers may stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180 day period. They are granted either single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry visas depending on the traveler’s purpose of travel.

2. Limited Territorial Validity Visas (LTV)

A limited territorial validity visa allows the traveler to enter the Schengen state that issued the visa or specific Schengen states declared when applying for the visa. With an LTV, the traveler can travel only to those Schengen countries mentioned.

3. National Visas

Also know as a Category “D” Schengen Visa, national visas allow the traveler to reside in the Schengen Area for a certain amount of time for student, business, or other purposes.

3. Where to Obtain a Schengen Visa for USA

  • It all depends on the place(s) you want to visit. If you intend to visit only one Schengen country, you must apply at the Embassy or Consulate of that particular country. You apply at the Embassy or Consulate responsible for the state where you live.
  • If you intend to visit several Schengen countries, you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country which is your main destination.
  • If you intend to visit several Schengen countries but do not have a main destination, you should apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country which is your first point of entry.

Download Schengen Visa Form

4. Visa Requirements

When traveling to Europe and applying for a Schengen visa, there are certain application requirements you must follow. Requirements may vary between countries that you are applying the visa with. Some of the requirements requested by the embassies include:

  • Fully completed application form
  • Passport with at least 3 months validity prior to departure
  • Attached recent photo in passport format
  • Copies of previous visas
  • Means of transport: proof of travel (tickets, original travel agent itinerary)
  • Proof of financial means: bank statements
  • Health/Travel Insurance Travel insurance is a must requirement in order to apply for Schengen Visa.
  • Invitation Visa invitations/confirmations are documents, often directly approved by the Foreign Ministry of the country to be visited, that authorizes a particular traveler to visit that country. They typically state the dates and cities you are visiting, the name of a hosting organization, as well as an "official" reference number and seal of approval. This is particularly prevalent for Russia and many Schengen countries. Required formats for invitations and confirmations vary by country.
  • Proof of Accommodation: Confirmed hotel reservations, official invitations

5. FAQs

  • Multiple Schengen Visa

A multiple entry Schengen visa will allow the holder several entries into the Schengen area, allowing you to return to the UK and then re-enter the Schengen area at a later date.

Not all embassies issue multiple entry visas some prefer to only issue a single entry visa to cover you for the specific trip you are going on.