What is The Schengen Visa
The Schengen visa is a short-stay residence permit that offers free entry to European countries within the Schengen member states.
This short-stay visa can be issued to citizens of non-European Union countries and non-Schengen countries without a visa waiver agreement for the Schengen area.
Any Schengen state can issue this to enable holders to the European Economic Area and remain in Schengen member countries for only 90 days within a 180 day period.
With a Schengen visa, foreign citizens can travel freely to a Schengen country or move through a Schengen port on the way to their main destination within a specific period.
For more information on the Schengen visa or assistance with getting a visa application, contact our immigration lawyers. Call 0191 303 8965 or contact us online.
What is the difference between the EU and Schengen?
The European Union (EU) is an international economic union comprising 27 countries in Europe. It governs common activities such as the states’ economic, security, and social policies within the area.
The EU also facilitates borderless movement of people, commodities and currencies within the member states in the region.
The countries in the European Union include Sweden, Spain, Poland, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, France, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Hungary, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Estonia and Germany.
The Schengen area is commonly referred to as the World’s largest visa-free zone. It comprises 26 different countries in the European region that have signed the Schengen agreement to ensure free border controls into their respective internal borders. It covers the major EU member states except for the United Kingdom, Ireland and Cyprus.
Twenty-six countries in Europe are Schengen countries. These countries include Austria, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Portugal, Poland, Norway, Netherlands, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Italy, Iceland, Hungary, Iceland, Greece, Germany, France, Finland, The Czech Republic and Estonia.
Types of the Schengen Visa
There are different Schengen visas depending on your purpose. They include:
- Airport transit visa
- Business purposes in a Schengen country
- Visitor visa (to visit friends and family in a Schengen member country)
- To facilitate cultural and sport events
- Official visits
- Medical treatment
- Short-term study and research
Restrictions of the Schengen Visas
The Schengen visas differ depending on your reason of visit and eligibility. Here are the four major types you may choose from.
Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)
The Uniform Schengen visas enable you to visit any state within the Schengen Area for 90 days within six months consecutively. This short stay Schengen visa is further classified into three:
- Single entry Visa:
This Uniform Schengen visa enables its holders to visit any one country within the Schengen area once. When you leave, you will have to get another Schengen visa to enter the Schengen zone.
- Double-entry visa:
With this visa, you can visit the Schengen area countries twice within the speculated time of the visa validity. With this visa, you can leave the Schengen zone and come back one more time.
After that, you won’t be allowed into the Schengen zone for the third time. Nevertheless, applying for the double-entry visa multiple times qualifies you for the multiple entry visa.
- Multiple entry visa:
This short stay Schengen visa allows you to travel multiple times to any of the member states within the Schengen area till the date of the visa validity. This visa remains active as long as its holder does not exceed the 90/180 rule. Most times, this type of Schengen visa is issued depending on how frequently you visit any of the Schengen countries.
Limited Territorial Validity Visa (LTV)
This short stay Schengen visa applies to people who do not have a valid travel document and urgently need to travel to any member state.
The LTV Schengen visa is restricted to the Schengen country that issued the visa. This means, if Finland issues this visa, you are only permitted to visit and stay in Finland. The holders have entry restrictions from visiting other Schengen countries.
The national visa is granted to individuals working, studying, or permanent citizens of any European country. Most times, the visa comes simultaneously with a USV that allows multiple entries to visit any of the Schengen countries without additional visa application.
What are the requirements for the Schengen Visas
The criteria for eligibility differ depending on your purpose of stay in any of the member states in the Schengen territory.
- A complete Schengen visa application form
- Travel insurance document that covers a minimum of €30,000 for accidents, illness, and repatriation if needed.
- Proof of accommodation in any of the chosen Schengen member states
- Evidence of your financial capability. A bank statement attested by your financial institution will suffice.
- Your flight tickets indicating the date of arrival and exit.
- Two passport photographs that are not less than three months old. The passport must follow these given requirements.
- A valid passport not less than ten years from the date of issuance. Your passport must also have a minimum of two blank pages.
- Proof of payment for the short stay visa application fee.
Also, you may need to provide other application and entry requirements depending on your purpose in the Schengen states. For example, if you need a visa to get a business Schengen visa, you must provide a letter from your employer.
If you are a British citizen, you do not need a visa to travel freely within the Schengen area because the UK has a visa-exempt agreement with Europe and the Schengen zone.
If you are not a British citizen, you must meet the requirements and go through the visa application process to get a valid Schengen visa.
How much does it cost to get a Schengen Visa?
The Schengen visa attracts a compulsory non-refundable fee of €80 for adults. If you have children within the age of 6-12 years, the fee is €40.
You can pay the fee at the accepted Schengen embassies or consulates in your home country.
The visa application is waived for the following category of applicants:
- Children of 6 years old or younger
- A family member of the EU/EEA national
- School students on a field trip
- Scientific researchers
- Attendees of Non-profit organisation seminars aged 25 or younger
- Individuals with official, service or diplomatic passports visiting for official reasons
If you have any questions about the costs, requirements, or how to apply, reach out to us. Our friendly team is available through phone calls at 0191 303 8965. You can also reach out via live chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application for a Schengen Visa
Before proceeding to apply for a Schengen Visa, you need to ensure you need one. This is because there are over 60 countries that can visit Europe for 90 days without the need of acquiring a valid visa.
You need to decide on the embassy, visa application centre (VAC) or external service provider you will make an application through. That depends on the particular Schengen country you plan to visit and if it’s more than one country.
If it’s one, apply to that country. If you will spend an equal time in two countries, apply to the first that you will visit. If you are to spend unequal time in more countries, apply to the country you will spend more days.
In addition, you must do the following:
- Figure out the type that matches the intent of your visit.
- Prepare to start your application at least three weeks before your trip.
- Compile the relevant documents needed for your application.
- Download the recent application form and fill every section appropriately.
- Proceed to book an appointment with a Schengen consulate or embassy in your home country.
- Finally, prepare to attend the interview.
How can Newcastle Immigration Lawyers help?
Our goal at Newcastle Immigration Lawyers is to help smoothen you enter Europe legally and at ease with a Schengen visa. We can provide assistance through the process that includes:
- Assessing your eligibility
- Providing advice to you on your options
- Helping you procure travel insurance
- Assisting with gathering the documents
- Assist you with an application
- Liaise with the embassy/consulate/VAC on your behalf
For more information on our services or immediate assistance and support with your application, please contact us on 0191 303 8965.
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These questions vary depending on your purpose of visit. However, the common questions that are asked during the interview may be around:
- The country you intend to visit
- The intent of your visit
- Your marital status and duration of the marriage
- Your educational qualifications
- Your employability status in your home country
- Your accommodation status in any of the Schengen countries
- The duration of your visit
- The assets you own in your home country
It typically takes 15 days to process a valid Schengen visa. However, this isn’t unique to every applicant and may take longer in your case. So, it’s advisable that you submit your application at least 15 working days before your visit.
The easiest country to get a Schengen visa is Lithuania. Other countries in decreasing order include:
- The Czech Republic
The maximum duration you can stay at any Schengen country is 90 days, within any 180 day period. Usually, this is indicated on your visa sticker under the column “Duration of Visit”. That starts to count from your entry date. Depending on the restriction, you may be able to enter more than one country or return multiple times.
Yes, your visa can be extended, but you must tender solid reasons for needing an extension. According to the rules, you can only get an extension if you have not exceeded 90 days within a 180 day period, and for a few acceptable reasons. Also, a visa extension is generally hard to get.