If you are planning a trip to any European country, you have probably heard of the ‘Schengen Visa,’ which is the most common type of visa in Europe. The Schengen visa permits its holder to enter, freely travel within, and exit the Schengen zone from any Schengen member country.
This article discusses the Schengen Visa type, how to apply, Visa Fees, countries you can visit with a Schengen Visa, and everything else you need to know about before applying for the Schengen Visa.
1. What is a Schengen Visa?
A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any member of the Schengen country for tourism or business for stays of up to 90 days.
However, If you intend to study, work, or live in a Schengen country for more than 90 days, you must apply for a national visa of that European country rather than a Schengen Visa.
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2. Countries you can travel to with Schengen Visa
The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) without border controls between them. Below is a complete list of Schengen countries:
- the Czech Republic
- the Netherlands
- Sweden and
Non-Schengen countries you can visit with a Schengen Visa
The Schengen visa also allows Non-EU travellers to enter any European Union country with a single entry permit.
However, in addition to the countries that signed the Schengen agreement, holders of a Schengen visa can visit several other countries that aren’t part of the European Union or the Schengen zone if they have a valid multiple entry visa for tourist or business purposes.
Below is the complete list of such non-Schengen countries you can visit with a Schengen Visa;
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Northern Cyprus
- North Macedonia
- Sao Tome and Principe
3. Types of Schengen Visa
Schengen visas are classified into four types: A, B, C, and D. The most common is the Uniform Schengen Visa, which includes types A, B, and C.
It provides airport transit, allows you to commute through a Schengen country, and also allows you to stay in a Schengen country for up to 90 days within six months. If you are planning a short trip to Europe, you will need to apply for the Uniform Schengen Visa.
The Type A Schengen Visa is a transit visa for airports. If you are travelling from one non-Schengen country to another and you’ll be connecting through a Schengen country. A Type A Schengen visa is required to spend time at the airport. However, you will be unable to leave the airport and enter the relevant Schengen country with this visa.
The Type B Schengen Visa allows you to travel from one Schengen country to another. The transit period is limited to five days.
The Type C visa is a short-term visa that allows you to stay in a Schengen country for a fixed period of time. This type of Schengen visa is further subdivided into Single Entry, Double Entry, and Multiple Entry visas.
- Single Entry Visa: With this type, you can enter any Schengen country within the time period specified on your visa. It expires the moment you leave the country.
- Double Entry Visa: It is similar to the Single Entry Visa in that it allows you to enter and leave a Schengen country twice within the specified time frame.
- Multiple Entry Visa: This type of visa allows you to enter and exit the Schengen area as many times as you want. This, however, is only valid for 90 days every six months.
Limited Territorial Validity Visa (LTV) and National Visa are two other types. The LTV visa allows you to travel only within the Schengen area. The national visa is for people who want to study, work, or live in any Schengen country.
4. How to apply for a Schengen Visa?
You must first determine whether you require a Schengen Visa before applying for one in order to travel to Europe, depending on your nationality and travel objective.
If so, you must plan your route, the number of days you intend to spend in the zone, the countries you intend to visit (if more than one), the nation from which you will depart, and the country into which you will enter.
According to VFS Global, you have six months before your planned departure date to submit an application for a Schengen visa, It is advised to submit your application at least four to five weeks before your trip.
If you plan to visit well-known nations like France and Germany, which receive applications from all over the world, it is advisable to apply much earlier. The processing time may increase by a few weeks during busy times.
To apply, complete an application form and schedule an appointment at a consulate, embassy, or visa application centre. The shortest processing time is about 15 days.
5. Documents Required For Schengen Visa
If you are a non-EU/Schengen country national, you will be required to present several documents at the Schengen port of entry, regardless of whether you are visa-exempt or not.
We have prepared a full list of documents which you required to apply for a Schengen Visa;
- Passport valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU
- Signed visa application form.
- Two recent passport-size photographs.
- sufficient funds in the bank account.
- Proof of application fee payment.
- Proof of travel and medical insurance.
- Trip itinerary, including dates, round-trip flight bookings, hotel bookings or accommodation proof
- Other documents such as invitation letters, etc.
6. Schengen Visa Application Fee
To apply for a Schengen visa, you must pay a non-refundable visa fee. The application fee depends on your age and the type of visa you are seeking.
You can pay the Schengen visa application fees in cash, debit card, or credit card at the designated embassy or consulate.
The fees for various types of visa applicants are listed below;
- Adult: EUR 80 ($96 or ₹ 6,605 approx)
- Children between 6-12 years of age: EUR 40 ($48 or ₹ 3,302 approx.)
Children under the age of six, holders of diplomatic, official, or service passports travelling for official purposes, pupils, students, and accompanying teachers on a school trip, researchers travelling to conduct scientific research, and family members of an EU or EEA national are exempt from paying the application fee for Schengen Visa.
7. Track Your Schengen Visa Application
Obtaining a Schengen Visa is currently taking longer than usual, and the best way to check the status of your application is to contact the relevant embassy via their website or by phone. You can also go to the website of the outsourced visa application centre where you submitted your visa application.
VFS Global in India processes visa applications for Schengen countries. You must submit your application, deposit your documents, and provide your biometrics at VFS Global. Your Schengen Visa application can be tracked on below link. It is advisable to keep a record of your reference number.