One of the most popular types of Schengen visas, the Tourist visa is available to eligible applicants looking to travel to the Schengen area for the purpose of sightseeing. Today’s blog will answer some of the most-commonly-asked questions about this popular visa category, including, “How long is a Schengen tourist visa valid for?” and, “Where should the Schengen visa be requested?” The answers to these questions, and many more, are found below.
What kind of visa do I need to apply for?
- While the Schengen tourist visa is available to those looking to travel for touristic purposes, you may have already encountered a number of additional Schengen visa types, causing you to wonder, “What kind of visa do I need to apply for?”
- There are a number of different kinds or “types” of Schengen visas; Business, Medical, and Tourism are some of the most popular options for travelers.
- For a full list of Schengen visa types, click here.
How long is a Schengen tourist visa valid for?
- One of the first questions you likely have about the Tourist Schengen is “how long is the visa valid for?” The Schengen visa is valid for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 day period.
- This means that, if you obtain a Schengen visa, you will be able to spend a total of 90 days in the zone before you have to exit.
- How long is the visa valid for when it comes to other types of Schengen visa categories? The answer for all Schengen visa types—including tourism—is 90 days.
What are the rules for a Schengen visa?
- Perhaps the most important question for those looking to travel to the Schengen area is “What are the rules for the Schengen visa?”
- Prior to applying for a Schengen visa, you should make sure that you understand its specific terms and conditions, so that you do not accidentally violate them and jeopardize your present or future stay in the zone.
- The main rule for the Schengen visa is that you do not overstay it—i.e. you do not spend more time in the Schengen area than you are allowed to via the visa’s terms.
- Schengen visas are valid for up to 90 days in the Schengen area—the main rule, therefore, is that you do not exceed 90 days in the zone, and that you leave well before your visa is set to expire.
- Another essential Schengen visa rule is that you do not commit any crimes while you are in the zone, or do anything that would be considered a threat to the general security of the Schengen area. Criminality is grounds for expulsion from the zone, where threats to general Schengen security are taken incredibly seriously. If you are found to have committed a security offense against the Schengen area while you are there on a Schengen visa, you will almost certainly be deported from the zone, and ultimately be barred from applying for another Schengen visa.
Who needs a Tourist Schengen Visa?
- Wondering who needs a Tourist Schengen Visa? You will likely need one if you intend to visit the Schengen area for the purpose of tourism, and you are not from a country that currently enjoys visa-free access to the Schengen area.
Where should the Schengen visa be requested?
- You probably know already that Schengen visa applications are submitted via the Member State of the Schengen country you intend to visit in the zone.
- However, even if you are aware of this general fact, you may still be confused as to where to submit the Tourist Schengen visa application.
- Specifically, you should request your Schengen visa from the embassy, consulate, or visa application center affiliated with the Schengen state you are applying to (located nearest to you).
- For example, if you are applying for a Schengen visa to France, you will likely apply via the French Consulate or Embassy in the capital city of your country of residence.
- Confused about where to apply? Contact us here.
How to apply for Schengen tourist visa?
Wondering how to apply for Schengen tourist visa? Follow these general steps below:
- 1. Decide when you want to travel
- Make sure you apply well in advance of your trip—gathering your documents and fulfilling the Schengen visa requirements can take time, and the decision process itself can take up to three weeks. Therefore, if you are applying for a Schengen tourist visa, make sure that you submit your application a minimum of three weeks prior to traveling to the zone.
- 2. Decide what Schengen country you will be spending the most time in
- The country in the Schengen area where you will be spending the most time on your trip is the country through which you will apply for your Schengen visa.
- For example, if you intend to travel to both France and Spain for touristic purposes, but you think you will spend the majority of your trip in Madrid, then you should apply for a Spanish Schengen visa.
- 3. Select your Schengen visa entry category:
- As a tourist to the Schengen area, you will need to determine whether (or how many times) you intend to exit the zone after entering it. This will determine the entry category of the Schengen visa you need: single, double, or multiple.
- If you plan on entering the Schengen area and staying there until you are done traveling, then you should apply for a single-entry Schengen visa.
- If you plan on touring around the Schengen area but then ultimately exiting the zone (for example, to go back to your home country), before trying to re-enter the bloc, then you should apply for, at minimum, a double entry Schengen visa.
- Please note that only the multiple-entry Schengen visa allows you an unlimited number of entries, exits, and re-entries to the Schengen area throughout your visa validity period. If you attempt to re-enter the zone after exiting it on a single entry Tourist visa (or after having exited it twice on a double-entry visa, then you will not be allowed back into the zone).
- 4. Determine the embassy, consulate, or visa application center near you responsible for processing Schengen visa applications
- While you will apply for your Schengen visa via the Schengen country you will be spending the most time in on your trip, you will apply directly through the embassy, consulate, or visa application center affiliated with that country. Therefore, a key component of your application is to find out the specific entity from which you should apply for your Schengen visa.
- If you are having trouble figuring out where to apply for your tourist visa, contact us here.
- 5. Gather your required and supplemental documents and materials
- Basic required documents include passports, photos, proof of accommodation, and other documents (for a full list, click here:
- In addition to the basic required documents, you will be asked to submit additional documents relating to the nature of your trip (tourism).
- For a complete list of required documents for the tourist visa, click here.
- 6. Access your Schengen visa application:
- Click here to access the generic Schengen visa form.
- While most Schengen countries will accept the above form, some will prefer that you apply through a country-specific visa application portal. Check with your application destination to see which method they prefer.
- Whichever form you use, you will indicate “tourism” as your reason for traveling.
- 7. Schedule your Schengen visa appointment:
- You will almost certainly have to schedule an appointment in order to submit your tourist visa application; in addition, you will likely have to schedule that appointment in advance (as opposed to simply showing up at the embassy/consulate/center to submit your application.
- 8. Attend your Schengen visa appointment
- This is where you will submit your application, pay your visa fee, have your fingerprints and photos (biometrics) collected, and attend a visa interview.
- 9. Await your decision
- Most applicants receive a decision on their visa 15 days after applying (or earlier).
- Depending on the nature of your application, you may not receive a response until 30 days have passed (or 60, in extreme cases).
- If you receive your Tourist visa, congratulations; you may proceed with your trip. If you are rejected for a Schengen visa click here to appeal.
Is there an interview for the Schengen tourist visa?
- If you have read through all of the requirements for the Schengen visa, you may still be wondering, “Is there an interview for Schengen tourist visa?”
- The answer to this questions is: yes—usually. While interviewing is not a mandatory component of the Schengen visa application, the vast majority of applicants are asked to attend an interview. If you receive a request to attend a Schengen visa interview, you will be required to attend.
- If you travel frequently on a Schengen visa and have a history of applying for a visa to the zone from the same country consulate, you may be exempt from the in-person interview requirement.
- First time Schengen visa applicants, however, are almost always asked to attend an interview.
- Ultimately, even those who travel frequently to the Schengen area can be asked to interview, so don’t be surprised if you are contacted to do so—even if this is not your first time traveling to the zone.
Where to submit the Tourist Schengen visa application?
- You will submit your Tourist Schengen visa application in-person at the embassy, consulate, or visa application center affiliated with the Schengen country that you are applying through.
- Depending on how you are applying, you may be able to submit your application online, through a Schengen visa portal. However, even if you are able to apply online, you will still likely have to submit a paper copy of your application in-person, at your Schengen visa appointment.
How long does it take to receive the visa?
- If you are considering applying for the Schengen visa, you are likely wondering, “How long does it take to receive the visa?”
- The majority of Schengen visa applicants receive their visa (or not) within three weeks. However, some applicants (typically those who submit incomplete applications or who encounter problems with their background check) can take from 30-60 days to receive their visa (or rejection).
How to extend a Tourist Schengen visa?
- Wondering how to extend a Tourist Schengen Visa? The short answer is: you cant.
- Unlike other visas, Schengen visas cannot typically be extended in any cases whatsoever. This means that, if you end up in the Schengen area on a Schengen visa, and you need to stay longer in the zone, you will not be able to stay longer by extending your Schengen visa.
- Because Schengen visas cannot generally be extended, applicants who need more time in the zone will generally need to exit it and re-apply for another type of visa (such as a national visa-D, in order to stay longer in Europe).