A Schengen visa is the document issued by the competent authorities to the interested party to visit or circulate within and outside the Schengen Area. The Schengen area is made up of the following countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Sweden and Switzerland. It is an area of Europe that works for practical purposes as a single country thanks to its common visa policy, and is made up of the majority of the members of the European Union, with the exception of five: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Ireland.
The Schengen Area encompasses most European countries, with the exception of the United Kingdom and countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Ireland, which will soon be part of the agreement. However, there are countries that are not part of the EU, such as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, although they belong to the Schengen Area and share the policy of free movement.
A Schengen visa obtained by any of the member countries of the Schengen Area allows its holder free movement within the entire Schengen Area with respect to the members of the Schengen Area of the European Union, as well as to the members of the EFTA Schengen until their validity and during the term.
Who needs a Schengen visa to go to Europe?
Citizens of countries with which there is no agreement will have to process the visa.
To deal with this matter in a schematic way we can say that there are 3 different cases:
- Intra-community citizens who do not need a visa to move around the Schengen area (it is enough that they carry their national document with them).
- Citizens of countries that do not have an agreement with the Schengen authorities and therefore need a Schengen visa. This is the case of countries like China, Russia, Ecuador or Bolivia among many others.
- Those who do not need a Schengen visa to go to Europe. Countries like Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, and United States.
How long can I reside in the Schengen Area?
Depending on the type of visa issued by the embassy/consulate of any country in the Schengen Area, there are different restrictions that apply to the particular visa according to the nature of the trips and other relevant circumstances. However, the most common type of visa issued to travelers can be up to 90 days in each 180-day period from the date of entry.
What type of Schengen visa do I need?
Depending on the purpose/nature of your trip, there are three main types of Schengen visas issued by the designated embassy/consulate.
- The uniform Schengen visa represents a permit from one of the member countries of the Schengen Area for transit or residence in the desired territory for a specified period of time, up to a maximum of 90 days, every six months, from the date of entry.
- This type of visa allows you to travel only in the Schengen state that issued the visa or, in some cases, in certain Schengen states specifically mentioned when applying for the visa.
- The national visa is granted to certain people who must study, work or reside permanently in one of the countries of the Schengen Area.
Schengen visa application requirements
When applying for a visa, you must take into account that you will have to personally deliver the required documents once you have made an appointment at the embassy/consulate. It is always advisable to make an appointment at least 15 days before your departure, since it is the estimated time necessary for the bureaucratic process that takes place in the corresponding institution.
The application form must be filled in and signed in the corresponding Blank Spaces.
- A photograph must be attached on a light background. The photo must have been taken recently.
- The passport is necessary, as well as all the copies of your previous visas, valid for at least 3 months before your departure. The passport must have at least two blank pages.
- Reservation of the itinerary with dates and flight numbers that specify the entry and exit of the Schengen Area. You can use visa consultation services. The staff can handle most of your visa requirements, such as flight itineraries and hotel reservations, all through a free email consultation.
- A travel medical insurance policy must be guaranteed, covering any medical emergency with hospital care and travel back to your home country for medical reasons. This medical insurance policy must cover expenses up to 30,000 euros, depending on the days of residence and must also be valid in all the countries of the Schengen Area. The health insurance policy must be taken out before collecting the visa and, if it is not granted, you can cancel it.
- Proof of accommodation during the entire planned stay in the Schengen Area.
- Proof of sufficient means of subsistence during the planned stay in the Schengen Area. There are notable differences between countries.
If you need more information our staff is at your disposal to assist you and guide through the process, do not hesitate in contacting us.