After the signing of the Schengen Convention in Luxembourg in 1990, Schengen Area nowadays covers most of the European countries with an exception made for the United Kingdom and the countries that are soon to be part of this agreement as Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Ireland. Although not members of the European Union, the following countries like Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are also part of the Schengen zone enjoying the same freedom of movement policy as the others.
Schengen Visa Types
A Schengen visa obtained to visit any of the Schengen Area member countries* allows free movement to its holder within the whole Schengen Zone regarding the European Union Schengen members as well as the EFTA Schengen members, up to its validity and period limitations.
- *Schengen countries:
- Austria, Belgium, Czech republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein
According to the type of visa issued by the certain embassy/consulate of any Schengen country there are different restrictions that apply to the particular visa in accordance to the nature of travelling and other relevant circumstances.
Uniform Schengen Visas (USV)
The Uniform Schengen Visa stands for a permit of one of the Schengen Area Member Countries to transit or reside in the desired territory for a certain period of time up to the maximum of 90 days every six month period starting from the date of entry.
The countries one can travel to, once he/she holds a Uniform Schengen Visa include: AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, GREECE, HUNGARY, ICELAND, ITALY, LATVIA, LITHUANIA, LUXEMBOURG, MALTA, NETHERLANDS, NORWAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SPAIN, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND.
According to the purpose of traveling the Uniform Schengen Visa applies to all of the three categories, “A”, “B” and “C”.
- "A" category stands for the Airport Transit Visa which allows its holder to travel through the international zone of the Schengen Country Airport without entering the Schengen Country Area. Airport transit visa is mandatory for the citizens travelling from one non-Schengen state to another non-Schengen state through a change of flights in a Schengen Country airport.
- "B" category stands for the Transit Visa which allows its holder to transit within no more than 5 days through more than one Schengen country by car, coach or plane on the way to a non-Schengen country.
- "C" category stands for a Short-term visa which allows its holder to reside in a Schengen Country for a certain period of time depending on the visa validity. This particular category, according to the holder’s purpose of the travel can be obtained in a form of:
- Single-entry visa allows its holder to enter a Schengen country only once for the certain period of time. Once you leave the certain Schengen country you entered the visa validity expires even if the time period allowed to stay in the country is not over yet.
- Double-entry visa applies for the same policy as above mentioned however you are allowed to enter the Schengen country twice meaning that for the certain period of time permitted by your visa you can enter the Schengen country, leave and enter again without any problems. Once you are out of the country for the second time the visa expires.
- Multiple-entry visa allows its holder to go in and out of the Schengen country as pleased. However this visa allows its holder to stay in a Schengen Zone for maximum 90 days within half the year, starting from the day one crosses the border between a Schengen member country and the non-Schengen member country.
Limited territorial validity visas (LTV)
This type of visa obtained allows you to travel only in the Schengen State that has issued the visa or in some other cases, in the certain Schengen States specifically mentioned when applying for the visa. Apart from these Schengen countries, this specific visa is invalid to any other Schengen country not specified prior. The holder of this type of visa cannot enter or transit through any other Schengen country that is not the first and final destination target. This type of visa is issued in very peculiar cases such as a humanitarian reason or under international obligation as an exception to the common USV system. This type of visa may apply for individuals who don’t possess a valid travel document yet have to travel to a Schengen area on an emergency of any kind.
The national visa of “D” category is granted to the certain individuals who are to be studying, working or permanently residing in one of the Schengen countries. The national visa can be of a single entry, granted for the people who are in need of residing in the Schengen country for a certain period of time and for a sole purpose after which they shall return to their country. On the other hand a multi-entry national visa is also granted for certain individuals allowing its holder to travel in and out of this Schengen country as he/she pleases and also travel throughout the whole Schengen Area without additional visa requirements. In order to obtain a multi entry national visa, one must meet the certain criteria:
- An international student program will grant a visa for a period of not more than one year.
- An international student that is about to start a full course of studies in one of the Schengen countries. Again the visa is issued for a period of one year with the possibility of extending it.
- A pedagogical work at a higher institution or research center in any of the Schengen countries, regarding the person and its close family members.
- A professional who is traveling in any of the Schengen countries due to its expertise be it a sportsman, an artist or any other professional of its kind with the purpose of sharing its expertise.
- Emergency cases as a medical condition that prevents the individual to leave the Schengen Area at the designated time frame.
Documents for Schengen Visa
Every Schengen country shares more or less the same requirements into issuing a visa to the needy party. However there are slim differences here and there, depending on the consulate/embassy on the required documents additional to the main identification papers and your current economic status.
A unified exemplar of the requested documents with the additional information is meticulously described and listed below:
- The application form must be fully completed and signed in the corresponding blanks.
- One photo is to be attached; the photo must have a passport format, full-face capture, and a light background. The photo must be recently taken.
- The passport as well as all the copies of your previous visas, valid for at least 3 months prior to your departure is required. The passport must have at least two blank pages.
- One must have a copy of the reservation of the return ticket for the time intended to be travelling. It is not recommendable to buy the ticket before getting the visa, if not necessary.
- The travel medical insurance policy is to be secured, covering any medical emergency with hospital care and travel back to one’s native country due to medical motives. This health insurance policy has to cover expenses up to 30,000 euros, the sum depending on the residing days, and also it has to be valid in all Schengen countries. The health insurance policy must be purchased before picking up the visa and in your visa is refused you can cancel it!
- Alert, for a minor there are a few additional documents requested by the corresponding institution stated as following:
- The minor’s birth certificate
- The application form has to be signed by both parents
- In cases where one parent has full custody over the child, the family court order has to be attached.
- The notarized parental authorization signed by either parents or guardians is attached if the minor is to be travelling alone.
To find a list of the specific documents needed for each country, please make respective selection in the application process or contact our office.