Schengen Visa gives you access to the European Union’s passport-free zone which covers most of Europe. Also, it is the largest travel free zone with unrestricted access to 26 countries of Schengen Areas.
An Introduction to Schengen Visa
Today, Europe is one of the most popular and sought after destination for people all around the world. The 44 countries located on the continent and each one offering different culture, language, food, places to visit, and overall a unique experience in each of them.
As we know almost every country in the world requires a visa to visit, but it gets difficult for frequent travellers or the ones who need to visit multiple countries in the Schengen Zone.
Visit multiple countries with Schengen visa
Schengen Visa makes it easy to travel around these 26 countries which include 22 countries from the European Union (EU.) And, 4 are the members of the European Free Trade Association which are Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein.
At Blinkvisa, we always aim to provide you with important information and things to know about each visa, and that’s what we’ll be doing here.
Here’s what we’ll cover about Schengen Visa:
- A Brief about Schengen Visa
- What is Schengen Visa?
- Countries Part of the Schengen Agreement
- Citizens of countries which require Schengen Visa to travel between Schengen Areas
- Types of Visa
- Types according to Travel Purpose
- Documents required
- General (Mandatory) Documents
- Additional documents as per Applicant’s Employment Status
- Documents for Minors
- Additional documents depending on Visa Type
- Visa Fees
- How to apply for Visa?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A Brief about Schengen Visa
What is Schengen Visa?
Schengen visa is a sticker on your passport which allows you to travel freely and unrestricted among the 26 countries of Europe. You just need one visa on your passport, which will give you access to all Schengen Areas (some exceptions depending on the type of Schengen visa chosen).
Countries included in Schengen Area
As already mentioned, there are a total of 26 countries tied up with Schengen and most of them are from the European Union. European Union is a political and economic union of 28 countries primarily from Europe. (Source: Wikipedia). Here’s the list of 26 countries where you can freely travel once you have Schengen Visa:
Note: Some countries among them may request you to show certain travel documents including passport, visa, insurance, etc.
Citizens who require Schengen visa to travel between Schengen Areas
Just like most countries, due to strong relationships between countries, some don’t require a visa to travel. But since Shengen is an amalgamation of multiple countries, citizens need to follow the common rules of Schengen.
These are the countries which require to get a Schengen visa in order to travel to Schengen Areas freely:
|Dem. Rep. Of Congo
|Papua New Guinea
|Sao Tome And Principe
|Central African Republic
Types of Schengen Visas
There are 3 major types of visas available:
1. Universal Schengen Visa (USV)
This is the most common type of visa, categorized into:
I) Type “A” (Airport Transit Visa)
This visa allows a traveller to travel through the international Schengen country of Airports without entering into the Schengen Area. It is mandatory for travellers who are travelling from one non-Schengen area to another with the change of flights inside any Schengen Airport.
II) Type “C” (Short Term Visa)
This is a short term visa which allows a traveller to travel to any Schengen Areas for a maximum of 90 days throughout any 180 days. For more information refer to the 90/180 Schengen Visa Rule. There are multiple variants of this visa:
- Single Entry Visa: Single entry visa allows you to enter Schengen region one time. Once you leave from the Schengen zone, you will not be allowed to enter again even if you have days left for your stay of 90 days.
- Note: Single Entry Visa does not mean that you can enter only one country among the 26. It allows you to enter every country as long as you don’t leave the “Schengen Zone”, but you cannot exceed a total of 90 continuous days.
- Double Entry Visa: This is just like Single entry visa but you will be able to leave Schengen area once and come back. If you leave the second time, you cannot enter the Schengen zone again on the same visa.
- Multiple Entry Visa: Multiple entry visa allows a traveller to travel in and out of Schengen as many times as needed as long as the 90/180 rule is followed. This can be applied for 1-Year, 3-Years, & 5 Year visa.
2. Limited Territorial Validity (LTV)
This visa allows you to travel to the only state which has issued this visa, or in certain cases few other states can also be visited if they are specifically mentioned on the Visa in the form of codes. To learn more about these state codes, see Schengen Country Codes. The holder of this visa cannot go to any other country other than the ones mentioned on the visa sticker.
3. National Visa or Type “D”
If you need to stay in any Schengen area for more than 90 days, you can apply for National Visa. This visa is granted to the individuals who are either studying, working, or permanently residing in one of the Schengen countries. The individual can stay for up to a maximum of 1 year. There are two variants; single and multiple entries. This can be applied for:
- International student, for maximum up to 1 year (extension possibility is also available)
- Medical Emergencies for short term
- Experts travelling for sharing their expertise in any fields like Art, Sports, or any other professional skill
- Others updated on relevant Schengen country’s website
Types of Schengen Visa According to Travel Purpose
Once you choose what type of visa you require among the above mentioned, you need to select the purpose of travel and select the proper checkbox in the application form. As of now, the following options are listed in the application form:
- Airport Transit: You’re travelling from one Non-Schengen country to another but you have a change of flight in a Schengen airport. There is a predetermined list of Airports and countries which need this visa.
- Visiting Family or Friends: If you have any friends or family you want to visit in Schengen Zone, you have to apply for this. However, there are some requirements for this visa such as Letter of Invitation from that friend or family.
- Business: Individuals visiting Schengen countries for business purpose like meetings, appointments, seminars, etc can apply for this. You can get this visa quicker, even during peak seasons so that’s an added advantage.
- Tourism: One of the most famous purposes of travel is to explore the Schengen zone. You can select this if your reason is to experience the culture, food, nature, and sightseeing around the 26 countries of Schengen.
- Study: Students who wish to pursue any course like language, university, or other courses for shorter than 3 months.
- Official Visit: If the reason for visiting is official, like with a large delegation, then you need to tick this option.
- Medical Reasons: If you are visiting any of the Schengen member countries for medical treatment, then you should select this option. This is valid for a maximum period of 90 days stay during the 180 days.
- Cultural/Sports: If you are a resident of the Non-Schengen country and wish to travel to Europe for attending a culture, sports, or film event; you can check this option.
- Please note that the applicant should be part of the said event i.e a performer at an event, etc; not as an audience.
- Transit: Mostly for foreign sailors who wish to stay for only a few days near the seaport only can avail this type of visa.
- Others: If your reason of travel does not match anyone listed above (in the application form), you can select this but you’ll also have to write a short brief about the reason of visit.
Sample form of Schengen Visa
The Schengen visa application form is standard for all Schengen countries:
Documents Required for Schengen Visa
These are the general mandatory documents for travelling to any Schengen Zone:
- Passport: A valid passport with at least 3 months validity from the date of return from Schengen Area. Also, passport MUST not be older than 10 years, i.e it must have been issued in the last 10 years. The old passport will also be required if you have any.
- Visa application form: Must be filled and signed.
- Photos: Two passport-sized similar photos. The photos must have been taken recently, like within the last 3 months.
- A confirmed Flight Ticket or a flight itinerary (You can use FlightGen App to create flight itinerary for visa)
- Travel Insurance: You’ll need to have travel insurance for the whole Schengen territory of 30,000 Euros in case of any medical emergency like any illness or accidents.
- Proof of Accommodation: Usually a hotel booking voucher, this ensures that you have a place to stay in Schengen Zones. It can be any one of the following:
- Hotel Booking
- Rental Agreement
- A Letter of Invitation from a host at whose house you’ll be staying
- Proof of Financial Means: This is required to show that you have sufficient funds to stay or travel around and take care of your expenses. It can be any one of the following:
- Bank statement – of last 6 months, not older than 3 days
- Sponsorship Letter – mentioning that you’ll be taking care of the person going to Schengen area financially. This must be also accompanied by the bank statement of the person who is sponsoring the trip.
- Combination of both
- Please note that each Schengen country has its specific requirement about the amount required in the bank.
- Proof of Paid Visa Fee: You’ll have to show the proof of paid visa fees while receiving your processed application. The fee is non-refundable in the case the visa is rejected. As of now, the fee for an Adult is €60, and €35 for a child (6-12 years) and no fees required for children below 6.
- Important: The fees have been increased to €80 and €40 for adult and child respectively. The change will come into effect from 02 February 2020. (Source: The Financial Express)
- Schengen Visa Cover Letter: This is a letter written by you explaining why you are going to Schengen Area; your travel plan, and what will you do there.
Additional Requirements (Depending on Applicant’s Current Employment Status)
In addition to the above mentioned general documents, you may also be requested to provide further evidence depending on the status of your employment. These are listed below:
- Proof of Enrollment
- No Objection Certificate (NOC) from school or university
- You’ll also have to submit proof of sufficient funds for the entire duration of your stay. Work contract and bank account statement from your parents or host may suffice.
- Original signed letter from employer or recent payslip or employment contract
- Bank statement of the last six months
- Approved leave from your Employer
- You may also be asked for Income Tax Return (ITR) or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at Source of salary
- Copy of business license
- Bank statement of the company for the last six months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
- Last six months pension statement
Unemployed & Married to EU Citizen
- Confirmation of employment letter, at least three months old from spouse’s employer confirming the employment, position, and date of starting.
- Marriage certificate (official)
- Spouse’s passport
- Note: Two application forms may be required to fill.
Documents Required for Minors
- Birth certificate
- Application form signed by both parents
- If only one parent has custody of the child, the Family Court Order is required
- Passports of both parents
- Parental Authorization (Notarized) signed by parents if the minor is travelling alone
More requirements depending on Visa Type
- Flight ticket to the final country
- Valid visa to final country (if a visa is required for that country)
- Letter from the doctor in the home country explaining that you need medical treatment
- Confirmation of the doctor’s / hospital’s appointment in EU
- Proof of Financial Means
Fees for Schengen Visa
The visa fee for Schengen as of now:
|Proposed from 02-02-2020
|Child (Below 6)
- The actual fees is in Euros and the conversion amount in USD and INR depends on the current conversion rate, so it may differ.
- The fees may be increased from 60 and 35 to 80 and 40 for adults and children respectively, effective from 02 February 2020.
How to Apply for Schengen Visa?
The process for applying for Schengen Visa from any country is almost similar. However, for certain nationals, few additional documents may be required. These requirements will be informed to you while applying for the Visa.
The process of Schengen visa may be tedious with too many formalities. However, if you go through an expert like Blinkvisa, the chances of your application getting rejected are very less and you’ll save a lot of time and money as well.
The basic process is:
- Figure out what type of visa you are supposed to get. Find more about Schengen Visa Types and your Travel Purpose
- Find out where to apply. Be careful and pay attention to which country’s Embassy, Consulate, or Visa Application Centre you must visit to apply to.
- Make sure you apply for a visa at least 15 working days prior to the intended date of travel. The most earlier you can apply for is three months.
- Book the appointment either via phone, email, online, or in-person depending on the country’s set procedure.
- Download and print two copies of Visa Application Form, and fill both of them and sign at the end.
- Gather all the required documents as per listed on Schengen Visa Documents.
- Attend the interview. This is a crucial part of the process. Make sure you arrive on time and be relaxed. Answer all questions correctly as per the documents you have and be confident.
- Pay the Visa Fee. The fees for all Schengen countries is synchronized throughout all 26 countries until decided otherwise by Schengen states.
- Wait for the Application revert.
- If Visa gets approved: Make sure you read and understand the visa sticker labels correctly. It will mention the countries you can visit, the duration of the stay, and many more details. Sample Schengen visa sticker:
- If the visa gets Rejected: Read the reason for rejection and try to be prepared for next time. If you believe your documents and all requirements are good, you can always appeal the visa rejection.
As you may have guessed, the process is long and cumbersome. You can always contact anyone expert in tour and travel like Blinkvisa. In order to provide complete assistance from A to Z so you don’t have to spend too much time figuring out what, how, and where to do anything.
90/180 Rule of Schengen
This rule defines that during any 180 days (six months) period, you cannot stay for more than 90 days (three months). Whenever you wish to enter the Schengen, you have to look back and calculate the number of days you’ve stayed in total for the last 180 days. This number of days deducted from 90 is the number of days you can stay now in Schengen. E.g:
Let’s assume during multiple visits in the last 180 days (starting from today to 6 months in past), you’ve stayed 70 days in Schengen zones. If you want to visit now, you will only be allowed to stay for 90 minus 70 equals 20 days only.
Very Important Notes:
- Please refer to the country-specific details regarding Schengen visa for the country you’re visiting or you could book through Blinkvisa and get the entire visa fees as cashback.
- If you keep coming and going into Schengen Zone on a multiple entry visa, keep a record and make sure that you don’t complete the entire 90 days in 180 day period. If you DID complete the exact 90 days, then you’ll have to stay out of Schengen zone for the next 90 days.
These codes are mentioned on the visa sticker which lets you know which countries you can visit on your current visa:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can I apply for a visa from the country where I am not a resident?
Yes, provided you give a valid reason on why you’re doing so.
Read for More Information Here
2. How long does the visa procedure take?
At least 15 working days are required but we recommend 30 days, just to be on the safe side.
3. What documents do I need for the application of visa?
Please read Documents Required.
4. What if my visa gets rejected? Will my fees be refunded?
If your visa gets rejected for any reason, you may appeal against rejection if you believe everything was correct. In any case, visa fees is non-refundable.
5. Does Schengen visa 90/180 rule clock get reset every year?
No, Schengen 90/180 rule doesn’t reset any given date in the year. Although it does reset when a visa status is changed; like from student visa to regular visa.