If you are the husband or wife of a European Union citizen, you may be wondering, “Does an EU spouse need Schengen visa in order to visit the Schengen area?” Today’s blog will therefore answer this question, in the context of EU-citizen’s spouse travel to the Schengen area. In addition, it will cover several frequently asked questions, including, “Is a marriage certificate required for a Schengen tourist visa?”, and “Can I stay without holding a visa in the Schengen area?” And finally, “Will I need to apply for ETIAS visa waiver when launched?” Read on for the answers to these questions, in addition to other FAQs.

As a spouse to EU citizen, do I need a Schengen visa?

  • An extremely fundamental question; if you are the husband or wife of an EU citizen, you need to know whether you enjoy visa-free access to the Schengen area. 
  • The answer to this question depends on whether you have residency in the EU. If you are the husband or wife of an EU citizen, and you possess an EU residency ID card (i.e. you have residency in one of the 27 states of the EU, either in the same country as your spouse, or from a different EU country), then you do not need a Schengen visa in order to visit the Schengen area. 
  • However, if you are the wife or husband of an EU citizen and you do not yet possess a residency card from an EU country, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa in order to enter and travel throughout the zone. 

How do I apply for a visa?

If you do end up needing a visa to the Schengen area, you should follow the below steps to apply:

  • 1. Determine when you want to apply 
    • Processing times for Schengen visas tend to be three weeks, which means you should apply a minimum of three weeks prior to when you intend to travel to the Schengen area.
  • 2. Determine what type of Schengen visa you require 
    • As a family member of an EU national, you should apply for the “Visiting Friends and Family” Schengen visa type. 
  • 3. Determine the number of entry visas you need 
    • Schengen visas are available in single, double, or multiple entry categories. The category you select will determine the number of times you can enter, exit, and re-enter the Schengen area. 
    • If you only wish to enter the Schengen area a single time, then you should apply for a single-entry Schengen visa. If you intend to exit the Schengen area but ultimately return to it during your visa validity period, you should apply for, at minimum, a double entry Schengen visa. 
    • If you want to be unrestricted in the number of times you can enter, exit, and re-enter the Schengen area, then you should apply for a multiple-entry Schengen visa. 
  • 4. Determine what country you want to apply to 
    • You should apply for your Visiting Family and Friends visa from the Schengen country you intend to spend the most time in on your trip. 
    • If you intend to travel to multiple countries in the Schengen area, then you should apply to the one that stands as your first entry to the zone. 
  • 5. Determine the embassy, consulate, or application center you will apply from 
    • Schengen visa applications are lodged at the embassy, consulate, or visa application center affiliated with the Schengen country you are applying to. 
    • For example, if you are applying for a Schengen visa from France, you will likely apply through the French Embassy or Consulate located in the capital city of the country you are applying from. 
  • 6. Gather your required documents
    • As the spouse of someone with EU nationality who is seeking a “Visiting Family and Friends” Schengen visa, you only have to provide the following documents and materials for your Schengen application: 
      • Passport. 
      • Marriage certificate (as evidence of your relationship to your EU spouse). 
      • Evidence that your spouse lives in the EU country you are planning to visit. 
      • Evidence that you will make your journey with your EU spouse (if you are in fact, making the journey as a couple). 
  • 7. Access your Schengen visa form
    • You will likely be able to apply through the basic Schengen visa application, available here
    • If you are applying through certain countries, you may have to apply through a country specific visa application portal (as is the case for most applicants for French and German Schengen visas). 
  • 8. Schedule your Schengen visa appointment
    • Most applicants will need to schedule their Schengen visa appointment in advance of attending. You can do this either by contacting the embassy/consulate directly, or, if you are applying through a country portal, making an appointment online.   
  • 9. Show up for your Schengen visa appointment
    • Your Schengen visa appointment is where you will fulfill the following requirements:
      • Officially hand in your visa application
      • Pay your visa fee (80 EUR for most applicants) 
      • Have your biometric data collected (biometric data include fingerprints and photos for identity and security purposes) 
      • Have an interview regarding your trip 
  • 10. Await your decision 
    • Most applicants receive a decision in under three weeks
    • If your Visiting Family or Friends visa is denied, you may appeal. 
    • For more information on appealing a rejected Schengen visa, contact us.

Is marriage certificate required for Schengen tourist visa?

  • If you are applying for a Visiting Family and Friends visa as the spouse of an EU citizen, you will have to provide your marriage certificate. If you are applying for a tourist visa, you will likely not be required to submit your marriage certificate, although you may want to, for identity purposes. 

For how long can an EU citizen and his/her accompanied non-EU Spouse stay in Schengen?

  • If you are wondering how long can an EU citizen stay in Schengen area, the answer is—indefinitely.
  • Spouses of EU citizens who lack residency typically are limited to 90-day stays in the Schengen area. 

Where do I apply for a Schengen visa?

  • If you are the husband or wife of an EU citizen, you may be wondering, “Where do you apply for a Schengen visa?” 
  • There answer to this question is two part:
    • All applicants for Schengen visas, regardless of Schengen visa “type” or “category’ should apply for their visa through the embassy, consulate, or visa application center relevant to the Schengen country they are spending the most time in on their trip. 
    • For example, if you are applying for a French Schengen visa, you will submit your application through the French Embassy, Consulate, or visa application center in the country that you are applying from (which is usually found in the capital city (or largest city) in your country of residence). 

Can I stay without holding a visa in the Schengen area?

  • As the husband or wife of an EU citizen, you cannot legally stay in the Schengen area without applying for a visa, unless you have some form of residency in the zone. 

As a non-EU spouse of EU citizen, will I need to apply for EU’s upcoming ETIAS visa waiver?

  • The upcoming ETIAS—European Travel Information Authorization System—(i.e. the visa waiver) will apply to all of the 26 Schengen states. However, because the visa waiver is only required from citizens of countries that currently enjoy visa-free access to the Schengen area, as the non-EU spouse of an EU citizen, you will only need an ETIAS if you are a national of one of those countries.
  • If you are the national of a country who has visa-free access to the Schengen area, and you are also the non-resident spouse of an EU national, then you will ultimately need to apply for an ETIAS, rather than a Schengen visa, in order to travel to the zone. 

What are the visa photo requirements for the Schengen visa?

  • If you are pursuing a visa to the Schengen area as the spouse of an EU citizen, you may have heard about the photo requirements for applicants, in which case you are likely wondering, “What are the visa photo requirements for spouses of EU citizen?”
  • All Schengen visa applicants—be they spouses or non-spouses of EU citizens, must submit two passport size photos as part of their requirements for the Schengen visa. 

How can I collect my passport?

  • When you submit your Schengen visa application, you will also submit your passport as part of your required application documents. 
  • After you have submitted all of your documents and officially lodged your Schengen visa application, you may be wondering, “How can I collect my passport after submitting it as part of my application?”
  • Applicants can collect their passports after receiving a decision on their application. After you receive a decision on your Schengen visa, you will receive instructions on how to proceed. If your visa application has been accepted, you will receive a visa, which will be pasted within your passport. As a successful applicant, you should receive a notification from the embassy or consulate you applied through, informing you of the process through which you can collect your passport (and visa). 
  • If you are rejected for a Schengen visa, you will receive an email informing you of how to pick up your passport—sans visa.