Schengen Visa: Eligibility, Requirements, Fees and Application
If you are planning to travel to Europe for a short period of time, then, the Schengen Visa is for you. It allows you to stay in the European/Schengen area for up to 90 days. Thus, if you are travelling to any of the European countries for tourism, visiting a friend or family, or any other form of short stay, you will need this visa. In addition to these countries, you can also use the visa to travel to other European countries, therefore, before applying for a visa, you will need to know if this visa allows you to travel into the country.
With this visa, you can stay in your preferred country for a duration of 90 days within a period of 180 days. What this means is that you can stay in any of the 26 countries in the Schengen area for this period. These countries have agreed to have a common border policy and thus a uniform visa application procedure. However, there are some modifications to these rules, though, they are minimal.
Therefore, in this article, we are going to give you all the information about the Schengen Visa application, qualifications, fees, and process.
What a Schengen Visa means
This type of visa allows you to travel to selected countries in Europe for a short period of time. Simply put, it is a European short stay visit. This means that you will stay in Europe for just a particular time. With this visa, you can stay in a Schengen area for 90 days within a 90 days period.
The area comprises 26 European countries that have decided to use a common border procedure. In other words, these countries use the same type of visa for all visitors. However, there are some slight differences for each country. Thus, every foreign national visiting these countries must make use of the Schengen visa.
Countries under the Schengen area
There are a total of 26 countries under the Schengen area as at 2023. Therefore, before visiting these countries, you must use a Schengen visa. The countries include:
Therefore, when visiting any of these countries for a short visit, you can use the same type of visa to visit them. In addition to these Schengen countries, there are some non-Schengen countries that you can visit with a Schengen visa. They include:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- North Macedonia
- Sao Tome and Principe
Types of Schengen Visa
The type of visa you need depends on your reason for travelling to a Schengen area. Therefore, you will need to know the type of visa you need when visiting a Schengen area for a short period. Different reasons why you may need a visa to travel to Europe include the following:
- To transit through the airport of a country in the Schengen zone in order to take the plane to your Schengen destination country.
- Tourism visits and sightseeing.
- Business visits
- Visiting family members and friends
- Travel as part of a cultural exchange program, sports, or research
- Medical visits
- Short-term study courses.
- Official visits
Thus, depending on your reasons, you can need any of the following types of visas to travel to a Schengen area. They include:
Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)
With this type of visa, you can stay in any Schengen area for up to 90 days in every 6 months. There are three types of USV. They include:
1. Single entry visa
A single entry visa allows you to enter a Schengen area only once until it expires. this means that you cannot use this visa to enter the country once you leave the country. In other words, a single entry visa just allows you to visit a Schengen country once.
2. Double entry visa
With a double-entry visa, you are allowed to enter a Schengen country two times before the expiration of the visa. However, once you enter the country twice, you cannot use this type of visa to enter the country again. This is irrespective of whether the visa has expired or not.
3. Multiple-entry visa
If your visa is a multiple-entry visa, you can use it to enter a Schengen area any number of times. This means that you can use your visa once your visa is still valid.
Limited Territorial Validity Visa (LTV)
The LTV visa is a type of Schengen visa that allows non-Schengen citizens to visit a Schengen zone that issues the visa. In other words, the holder is limited to using the visa to enter the country that has issued the visa. For example, if you get a Schengen visa from Belgium, you can use it to enter Belgium if it is a Limited territorial validity visa. The LTV is issued on special occasions for an international obligation or other humanitarian reasons.
Eligibility for Schengen visas
For a Schengen visa, you will need some of the documents listed below. They include:
- A visa application form
- Two recent passport photographs
- A valid passport
- Round trip reservation
- ravel insurance policy
- Proof of accommodations
- Proof of financial means
- Your paid visa fee
Application process for Schengen visa
The first thing to do when you plan to visit a Schengen nation is to consider the type of visa you may need. Your intention for visiting Europe will determine the type of visa you will need. So, once you have discovered your reasons then, you will follow the steps below to apply for a visa. They include:
Step 1: Obtain a Schengen visa form and fill them
Definitely, you must need an application form before you can apply for a Schengen visa. This application must be filled out online and printed twice. After printing your form, you must make sure that you sign them properly. While filling out the online form, you must answer the questions correctly. Some of the details you need to provide include your name, date of birth, country of birth, passport number, and nationality.
In addition, you will answer questions indicating your intention and duration of your trip.
Step 2: Book an appointment
The second step is to book an appointment for your interview with the appropriate authorities. You can do this using the consulate or embassy of the country you intend to visit. This is done using the official website of the embassy in your country.
Step 3: Gather all your documents
You must make two copies of all the required documents. You must keep them handy to avoid haste in your interview. However, your passport must remain with the embassy of the country you intend to visit. Meanwhile, in case you withdraw your application before it is granted, your application will be cancelled.
Step 4: Provide your biometrics
All applicants must provide their fingerprints to obtain a Schengen visa. However, if you have applied before, you may need to provide them again. You will provide these in the consulate of the country in your home country.
Step 5: Confirm and verify your details
You will need to confirm and verify the details you have provided in your application form. Once this is done, your information will be entered online. Make sure that you collect a printed copy of your form.
If you are underage, you will need the assistance of a parent or guardian.
Step 6: Pay your fees
After the whole process, you must pay an application fee of 80 Euros for adults and 45 Euros for children between 6 and 12 years old. Once you pay your application, you will receive a receipt as evidence of payment. You must provide it in order to collect your visa. If your application is rejected, your fee will not be returned to you. Thus, you must pay if you plan to apply for another one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I work with Schengen Visa?
No, you cannot work with a Schengen visa. However, you can only work in these nations for long periods if you have a National D-type Work visa, which is issued by the country you are planning to work in – and will not entitle you to work in another state.
How do I get a 5 year Schengen Visa?
Before you obtain a 5-year Schengen visa, you must have a clean history. Moreover, you must have never overstayed your visa or worked unlawfully in the area.
Is Schengen a UK visa?
The UK is not a part of the Schengen as well as the EU. As a result, they have an independent visa regime. If you want to enter the UK, you will need a UK visa. If you plan on visiting the UK from a Schengen country, you will need both of these visas.
Can I enter Switzerland with Schengen Visa?
Yes, you can enter Switzerland with a Schengen visa because it belongs to the Schengen Area. If you have a visa issued by a Schengen member state, you generally do not require an additional tourist visa to enter Switzerland or any other Schengen country. Your stay must not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period.
In conclusion, you can enter any of the 26 Schengen areas with a Schengen visa. However, if you have an LTV visa, you will only use it to enter a particular country that issued the visa. Finally, there are other non-Schengen countries that you can enter with a Schengen visa.