What Is Schengen Visa: A Beginner’s Guide
Are you planning a short trip to Europe? Are you a student planning to do interrail? Or do you want to go on a weekend gateway to Europe?
Thanks to the Schengen visa, which appeals to people from all walks of life, you can enter Schengen Zone countries and travel freely between the countries within the Schengen Area. It’s essentially a Europe visa that allows you to travel without being stuck with customs controls of Schengen territory.
Thus, the Schengen visa represents the broadest range of free travel in the world. It allows you to see many European countries. In this article, you will learn what the Schengen visa means, its scope, and its opportunities.
This guide will cover the following:
- What is Schengen visa
- How to apply for a Schengen visa
- What are the Schengen countries
- Schengen visa types
…and a lot more! A European journey full of adventures awaits you!
What Is Schengen Visa?
The Schengen visa is a Europe visa that allows a person to stay for business or tourism purposes in countries covering the Schengen area for up to 90 days. It is the most comprehensive visa to visit European countries.
There is no border control between the Schengen area countries, so it is open to free circulation. A Schengen visa holder can enter the Schengen area from anywhere and leave within 90 days.
Twenty-six states that are included in the Schengen area give certain authorization to the Schengen visa. Within the scope of this authorization, there is a maximum planned stay of 90 days within 180 days and the right of international transit from the states connected to the Schengen Area airports. So, we can say that it authorizes short-term and airport transit visas.
There are other Schengen visa types, but the most popular one is the short-stay visa. It allows for a maximum of 90 days of travel or residence over a six-month period beginning with the arrival date specified on the visa.
Applying for a Tourist Schengen Visa
To apply for a Schengen visa, you must first contact the consulate of the country you will visit in the Schengen area. Some countries authorize external service providers for visa applications. Companies such as TLS or VFS Global are some of the authorized companies that receive application files.
Another critical issue you should pay attention to when applying for a visa is which country you will use. To apply for a visa, you must apply to the embassy of the country where you will be staying the longest. If you are going to stay in more than one place for the same time, you should apply to the country you will visit first.
Note: If you have a flexible travel plan, you can choose countries with less demand for visa applications. For example, Estonia and Lithuania can handle your transactions in a shorter time as they receive fewer applications.
Required Documents for Europe Visa
If you are applying for a Schengen visa for the first time, the process and documents can confuse you. To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of mandatory documents you must submit before applying to the authorities.
You must submit the documents in the list below in full as an application file:
- Schengen visa application form — duly filled and signed
- Two recent and same passport-sized photographs
- Passport with validity of at least three more months after the expiry of the validity period of the visa (two pages must be blank to be able to put the visa)
- A letter explaining the purpose of the travel
- Evidence of the travel program and dates of entry and exit from the Schengen area
- Confirmed reservation of round-trip tickets
- Confirmation of accommodation plan — hotel reservations or accommodation document addressed to the relevant authority by the person that will host you
- Bank statements — cannot be older than three months, and the amount required in the bank varies by country, so the relevant consulate must confirm it,
- Sponsorship Letter — if your trip will be financially supported by a third party
- Travel medical insurance — must cover medical expenses up to €30,000
- Invitation letter from a person to be visited in the destination country — if applicable
Apart from these documents, the consulates require additional documents for the applications of students, employees, retired, or children under 18. These documents vary according to the country of application and the applicant’s title. You should get information by contacting the consulate of the Schengen country you are applying to. Note that you might also be asked to give an interview at the related consulate.
The completeness of your information helps speed up the process when obtaining a tourist Schengen visa.
Twenty-six countries are included in the Schengen Area. These countries have abolished border controls between each other. Most of these countries are members of the European Union (EU). However, although Romania and Bulgaria are EU members, they are not yet included in the Schengen Area. In addition, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland are included in the Schengen Area, although they are not members of the EU.
The twenty-six countries within the Schengen Area are as follows:
Schengen Visa Types
Type A Schengen Visa
Type A visa, also known as the Airport Transit Visa, allows citizens of countries not in the Schengen area to make a transit transfer. They can wait for their connecting flight at an airport in Schengen or make a stopover in the international area.
A type-A visa is mandatory for non-Schengen countries citizens who transfer from a country within the Schengen Area while traveling between non-Schengen countries. In addition, it is not allowed to enter the Schengen country with a type A visa.
Type B Schengen Visa
It is the type of visa to be taken for trips shorter than five days. This visa permits you to transit through multiple Schengen countries en route to a non-Schengen country.
Type C Schengen Visa
A visa allows you to stay and travel freely in the Schengen Area for less than 90 days in 180 days. It is the most widely used type of Schengen visa. Type C visas, according to the purpose of the visit to the Schengen Area can be divided into three categories:
- Single entry
- Double entry
- Multiple entries
Type D Schengen Visa
The type D Schengen visa must be obtained for stays lasting more than 90 days, also known as a national visa. It is a compulsory visa for foreigners for business, education, or travel that will last more than three months.
What is Schengen visa?
A Schengen visa is a type of visa that allows you to travel to a Schengen country and between them. It’s usually issued for up to 90 days within 180 days.
What are Schengen visa types?
There are Schengen visa types for tourist visits and airport transit.
How can I fill in a Schengen visa form?
You can print off the Schengen Visa application form and complete it by hand after filling it out on your computer.
When should I make my visa application?
It is advised to begin the visa application procedure six weeks before your trip.
What is the cost of a Schengen visa?
As of 2022, a Schengen visa costs €80 for adults. For children aged 6 and 12, it’s €40. The application is free for those under 6 years old.