The Schengen Visa allows the travel of people across countries that are within and around the Schengen area bearing only one visa. The UK and the Republic of Ireland are not signatories to the Schengen agreement.
The citizens of these countries are therefore considered non-European Union (EU) citizens; these citizens would need a Schengen visa if they wish to travel to Schengen area countries which include 25 countries:
Slovenia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Austria, Malta, Poland, Spain, Iceland, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Slovakia, Estonia, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania, Finland, Portugal, Greece, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Hungary.
Types of Schengen Visa
Short stay/travel visa: this visa’s validity is for three months in any given period of six months. A student needs to get this type of visa in order to study in a Schengen area country as a tourist. This visa is also commonly applied for by those engaged in business and for individuals who need to attend conferences, seminars, and conventions.
Transit visa: the validity of this visa is only five days since its only purpose is to enable a traveler to enter one or more members of the Schengen area to go to another country that is a non-member of the Schengen area.
Transit visa for air travel: this enables a traveler to enter an international airport in a Schengen area member country but not to exit prior to flying to the next destination.
Multiple entry visa: this visa allows the traveler to enter the countries that are Schengen area members several times, albeit not all embassies will issue visas of this type.
Where to Apply for the Visa
If your trip is only to one Schengen area member country, you need to apply for a Schengen visa at that country’s consulate or embassy.
For two or three countries that you plan to visit, apply for a visa at the Schengen area member country’s consulate or embassy which is your main destination.
If you have no main destination, apply for the visa at the consulate or embassy of the Schengen area member country which you will enter first.
Since procedures for a Schengen visa application vary from one country to another, it is best to first check out information regarding such procedures in the website of a consulate or embassy of the destinations you want or need to go to.
You would need to know everything regarding the processes involved in the application such as criteria for eligibility, required documents for submission, and visa fees. Some of these general requirements include:
- Completing an application form.
- Submission of the applicant’s original passport and/or travel document.
- Recently-taken photographs.
- Proof of visit’s purpose such as hotel reservations or invitations from conference organizers or friends.
- Proof of sufficiency of funds such as credit card or bank statements.
- If a student, proof of such status such as a certification from the school or educational institution where the student is from.
- Medical insurance cover of the trip in its entirety.
Visa Fees and Visa Approval
Check to find out the most current visa fees and the acceptable terms for payment of such fees before submitting a completed application form. Visa fees may be paid by postal order or cash. Take note that credit cards and checks may not be acceptable as payment forms and visa fees that are paid will not be refundable should the application be disapproved.
Relevant to this, check if you will be required to take out travel insurance for non-EU residents. Assuming that all of the applicant’s visa requirements are in order, the processing of the visa is usually three weeks but could extend to eight weeks in some cases. You may want to get travel insurance for non-EU citizens after your Schengen visa has been approved in addition to the medical insurance mentioned earlier.