Touring around Schengen countries and regions is indeed fun. The landscape is beautiful, and the people are welcoming. However, as a visitor in these countries, you must obtain a Schengen Tourist visa if your country does not have relations with the Schengen territory.
A Schengen tourist visa is issued by a member country of the Schengen area to permit third-country nationals to enter the Schengen area. With this visa, you can move in and out of the Schengen countries with no obstruction for not more than 90 days.
In this article, we will explore the eligibility criteria, application requirements, application fees, and steps on how to apply for a Schengen tourist visa. Stay close!
What is Schengen Tourist Visa?
A Schengen tourist visa is a temporary visa that allows nationals of non-European countries to travel to European countries that belong to the Schengen zone for 90 days.
Visiting your family and friends or taking a leisure trip to Europe has been made easy with the Schengen tourist visa. First, however, you need to know about the countries in this zone.
Therefore, here are the countries you can travel to with a Schengen tourist 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, and Switzerland.
It is noteworthy that your application for the visa will take two weeks or more- depending on the embassy you are applying to. Therefore, prepare all documents and necessary data for your application beforehand.
Eligibility for the Schengen Tourist Visa
Without a doubt, to be eligible for a Schengen tourist visa, you must not be a citizen of a European country, and your country must not be among the European Union. And yes!, Your purpose and reasons for traveling to the countries must be justifiable, time-bound within a given time frame, with evidence of a valid passport and necessary documents.
The validity of a tourist visa is at most 90 days. However, if you wish to travel to different Schengen countries, you should fill in the multiple-entry gap in your application form. This will permit you to leave and enter the Schengen zone when your visa is valid.
You can issue a single-entry visa, multiple-entry visa, or double-entry visa, depending on the reasons and frequency of your visits. The number of days you plan on staying in the Schengen zone- as stated on your visa application form, may determine the validity of your entry visa.
Requirements for the Schengen tourist visa
Undoubtedly, to be eligible for a Schengen tourist visa, you need to meet the application requirements and submit valid documents for your application. Here are some of the critical documents you need for your application
- Visa application form: Getting a visa application form is not negotiable for your travel. You can get the form online, fill in your correct data, print it, and sign it at the end.
- Valid Passport: A valid passport is a crucial travel document. So, it would be best if you prepared it beforehand. It must not be older than ten years with a validity of at least three months beyond your stay in Schengen. There must be at least two blank pages on your passport where you can affix your visa sticker.
- Travel Health Insurance: Without a doubt, it is imperative to purchase a health insurance plan of not less than €30,000 to cover medical emergencies associated with your travels.
- Two recent photos: You must provide two recent photos that meet the Schengen visa photo criteria, taken within the last three months.
- Roundtrip reservation: Getting a roundtrip reservation or itinerary is very important for your application process. You must input the flight number, including the date that specifies your exit and entry into the Schengen areas.
- Proof of accommodation: You must definitely provide evidence showing where you will lodge during your stay in Schengen. This proof of accommodation could be hotel bookings, rent agreement, letter from the tour organizer- if you will be traveling with a tour agency, etc.
- Financial proof: Importantly, getting financial proof which could be in the form of a bank account statement or sponsorship letter, is a vital travel document to prove that you won’t be stranded in your country of visit.
Application fee for Schengen tourist Visa
The Schengen tourist visa fee is a non-refundable administration fee for processing your visa application. This application fee depends on the age of the applicants as well as other factors.
Typically, the Schengen tourist visa for children between the age of 6 to 12 years is €60, while the adult visa application fee is about €80 for one person.
How to Apply for a Schengen Tourist Visa?
Applying for a Schengen tourist visa is a relatively simple process. However, to avoid complicating things, you must prepare your documents and briefly follow the steps below for a successful application.
Step one: Check for eligibility
First and foremost, you must check for your qualification and eligibility for the Schengen Tourist Visa. There are different Schengen visas available. Thus, you must be confident that you meet the requirements for the Schengen visa for tourism.
Step two: Fill out the visa application form
Download and fill in the application form correctly, inputting your correct data. The application format for the Schengen tourist visa is the same, regardless of the country you are applying for. Some of the information you will need to fill in on your application form is as follows:
- Your personal information,
- Information on your background,
- Your purpose for entering the Schengen Area,
- Other details that pertain to your trip.
Step three: Submission of documents
Compile and submit the necessary documents for the Schengen tourist visa.
Step four: Book an appointment for an interview
Schedule a visa interview with the embassy of the destination you are going to. This interview can be done online or in person at the consulate, embassy, or visa center.
Step five: Attend the interview
You must attend the interview fully prepared. Do not risk attending the interview late. So, endeavor to be at the center as early as possible. Some of the questions you will be asked are
- Which countries in the Schengen do you want to visit?
- Do you have any relatives living in Europe?
- State the purpose of your visit.
- Who will finance your visit?
- Are you engaged? If yes, for how long? what does your spouse do?
- Do you have any kids? If yes, how many of them, what is their age, and what do they do?
- How long are you going to stay in the Schengen area?
- Where are you going to stay?
Step six: Make the application payment
Lastly, make full payment of the Schengen tourist visa fee. It is a non-refundable €80 per person. Children can go for a reduced price or no fees at all. Also, you must submit your application form no less than 15 days before your journey to the Schengen area. Also, you cannot apply for a tourist visa earlier than three months before you plan to embark on your trip.
Upon completing your visa application, you can await the approval of your application.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the maximum duration of stay under the Schengen tourist visa?
The maximum duration of stay under the Schengen tourist visa is 90 days.
What happens if I stay more than 90 days in Schengen?
If you stay in the Schengen zone for more than 90 days, you must apply for a visa. You can apply for a visa waiver if you have a valid reason for staying longer, such as work or study. However, in some cases, you may face penalties for overstaying.
How can I stay more than 90 days in Europe?
Without a doubt, to stay more than 90 days in Europe, you can;
- Obtain Working Holiday Visa.
- Become a Student at a European University.
- Split Up Schengen and Non-Schengen Countries.
- Get a long Term Tourist Visa.
- Enroll in a language assistant program.
- Obtain a job, teaching English as a Foreign Language.
- Self Employment or Freelance Visa.
- European Passport.
Which Schengen Visa is the hardest?
According to history, the hardest Schengen visa country you can obtain is Belgium, with about 17% application refusals. However, they still have about an 83% acceptance rate.
Which is the easiest country to get Schengen Visa?
Without a doubt, Lithuania is the easiest country you can obtain a Schengen visa from. They have an acceptance rate of about 98.7%.
Having stated all you need to know to obtain the Schengen tourist visa and tour any Schengen area of your choice, you must adhere to all instructions your tourist advisor gave to ensure a safe tour.