Frequently Asked Questions About Schengen Visa

What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is a document allowing you temporary access to the Schengen area; all 26 member states.

Who needs a Schengen visa?

If you are planning on travelling to the Schengen area, and you are from one of the 103 countries on this list, you will need a Schengen visa in order to enter the Schengen area.

1. AFGHANISTAN

53. LAOS

2. ALGERIA

54. LEBANON

3. ANGOLA

55. LESOTHO

4. ARMENIA

56. LIBERIA

5. AZERBAIJAN

57. LIBYA

6. BAHRAIN

58. MADAGASCAR

7. BANGLADESH

59. MALAWI

8. BELARUS

60. MALDIVES

9. BELIZE

61. MALI

10. BENIN

62. MAURITANIA

11. BHUTAN

63. MONGOLIA

12. BOLIVIA

64. MOROCCO

13. BOTSWANA

65. MOZAMBIQUE

14. BURKINA FASO

66. NAMIBIA

15. BURMA/MYANMAR

67. NAURU

16. BURUNDI

68. NEPAL

17. CAMBODIA

69. NIGER

18. CAMEROON

70. NIGERIA

19. CAPE VERDE

71. NORTH KOREA

20. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

72. OMAN

21. CHAD

73. PAKISTAN

22. CHINA

74. PAPUA NEW GUINEA

23. COMOROS

75. PHILIPPINES

24. CONGO

76. QATAR

25. COTE D'IVOIRE

77. RUSSIA

26. CUBA

78. RWANDA

27. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

79. SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

28. DJIBOUTI

80. SAUDI ARABIA

29. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

81. SENEGAL

30. ECUADOR

82. SIERRA LEONE

31. EGYPT

83. SOMALIA

32. EQUATORIAL GUINEA

84. SOUTH AFRICA

33. ERITREA

85. SOUTH SUDAN

34. ETHIOPIA

86. SRI LANKA

35. FIJI

87. SUDAN

36. GABON

88. SURINAME

37. GAMBIA

89. SWAZILAND

38. GHANA

90. SYRIA

39. GUINEA

91. TAJIKISTAN

40. GUINEA-BISSAU

92. TANZANIA

41. GUYANA

93. THAILAND

42. HAITI

94. TOGO

43. INDIA

95. TUNISIA

44. INDONESIA

96. TURKEY

45. IRAN

97. TURKMENISTAN

46. IRAQ

98. UGANDA

47. JAMAICA

99. UZBEKISTAN

48. JORDAN

100. VIETNAM

49. KAZAKHSTAN

101. YEMEN

50. KENYA

102. ZAMBIA

51. KUWAIT

103. ZIMBABWE

52. KYRGYZSTAN

Third party nationals from the following entities/territories are also required to apply for a Schengen visa: KOSOVO and the PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY.

What is the Schengen area?

The Schengen area refers collectively to the 26 European countries united by a landmark multilateral agreement allowing free travel within and across its member states. The countries within the Schengen area have removed border control for travelers crossing between their borders. All the Schengen countries are located in mainland Europe, with the exception of Iceland and Malta.

The following countries are Schengen Agreement Member States collectively comprising the Schengen Area (listed alphabetically):

1.      Austria

14.   Liechtenstein

2.      Belgium

15.   Lithuania

3.      Czech Republic

16.   Luxembourg

4.      Denmark

17.   Malta

5.      Estonia

18.   Netherlands

6.      Finland

19.   Norway

7.      France

20.   Poland

8.      Germany

21.   Portugal

9.      Greece 

22.   Slovakia

10.   Hungary

23.   Slovenia

11.   Iceland

24.   Spain

12.   Italy 

25.   Sweden

13.   Latvia 

26.   Switzerland

How long is a Schengen visa valid for?

Schengen visas are valid for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This means that you can stay in the Schengen area for a total of 90 days with a Schengen visa. However, validity is different from duration of stay. Schengen visas are generally valid for a period longer than duration of stay (i.e. 90; the number of days you are legally allowed to stay in the Schengen area). For example, say you receive a visa that is valid from January 1st 2021 until December 31st, 2021. This means that your Schengen visa is valid for entry to the Schengen area any time throughout that almost 1-year period. However, once you enter the Schengen area, your stay is limited to 90 days.

How do I apply for a Schengen visa?

Apply by lodging an application at the consulate/embassy of the Schengen state you will be spending the most time in. Once you have located the consulate/embassy nearest to you, you can fill out an application for a Schengen visa, which consist of various documents and forms, pay the visa fee, and (if applicable) make an appointment to submit your visa and provide your fingerprints.

How much does a Schengen visa cost?

The standard cost for an adult Schengen visa is 80 EUR.

Click here for a full explanation: Schengen Visa Fees.

When should I apply for a Schengen visa?

You should apply for a Schengen Visa at least 15 days prior to the day you intend to travel, and no earlier than 6 months before you leave.

Where do I submit my Schengen visa application?

Applications for Schengen visas can be submitted via at the consulate/embassy of the Schengen state where you will be spending the most time during your stay. Most countries require you to apply at the country consulate located where you reside/have residency. For example, if you are an Egyptian residing in Cairo, you should apply at the Cairo consulate of the Schengen country you seek to enter. Alternatively, if you are an Egyptian residing informally in another country, you may have to travel back to Egypt or to your country of legal residence in order to apply for a Schengen visa.

I am travelling to several Schengen countries, which country should I apply through?

You should apply via the Schengen country where you intend to spend the most time on your trip. If you are spending an equal amount of time in two different countries, you should apply through the country you plan on visiting first.

How many times can I enter the Schengen area on a Schengen visa?

The number of times you can enter the Schengen area depends on the number of entries specified on your Schengen visa. Single-entry Schengen visas allow just one entry to the Schengen area; double entries allow two entries; and multiple entry allow a limitless amount.

How long does it take to get a Schengen visa? What is the processing time?

The general processing time for a Schengen visa ranges from 15-30 days. Some people receive a visa in under two weeks; in rare cases, the consulate can take up to 60 days.

What do I need to apply for a Schengen visa?

To apply for a Schengen visa, you must have a valid passport/travel document, as well as legal residency/citizenship in the country where the consulate you are applying through is located.

What documents are included in my Schengen visa application?

  • Different types of applicants must supply different kinds of documents. For a complete list of what to submit, click here.
  • Most applicants must submit the following Basic Required Documents in addition to a completed and signed Schengen visa application:
      1. Valid passport.
      2. Photos (2 copies, passport sized).
      3. Fingerprints (biometric information).
      4. Proof of travel medical insurance.
      5. Flight reservation out of the Schengen area.
      6. Proof of subsidence (bank statement, pay slip; proof you can financially afford your trip).
      7. Proof of accommodation (hotel reservation; proof you have a place to stay).
      8. Invitation letter (if applicable).

Do I need a purpose to travel to the Schengen area?

  • Yes. When you apply for a Schengen visa, you must indicate your reason for travelling, aka your purpose. The purpose you select will determine the supplemental documents you need to submit. You can choose from among the following 10 purposes:
      1. Airport transit
      2. Business
      3. Cultural
      4. Medical
      5. Official Visit
      6. Sports
      7. Study
      8. Tourism
      9. Visiting Family/Friends
      10. Other

I am travelling for a reason (purpose) that is not listed. What should I do?

If your purpose for travelling is not listed, you can select “Other” as your reason for travel. You can provide more information about your reasons for traveling in your visa application.

Can I apply for a Schengen visa online?

Depending on where you are applying from, you may be able to apply for a Schengen visa online. The general Schengen application form is available online, and some countries allow you submit an application online, through country-specific online visa portals. However, even if you apply on-line, you will almost certainly have to print out a paper copy of your online application and submit the application in person, at the consulate/embassy where you are applying.

Do I have to submit my Schengen visa in person?

Most consulates/embassies require you to submit your Schengen visa applications in person.

Do I need to schedule an appointment to submit my Schengen visa?

Depending on the location of the consulate/visa center you are applying through, you may have to schedule an appointment in order to submit your application. Alternatively, you may be able to drop off your application without prior arrangement, so long as you do so during normal operating hours. Contact your consulate/visa center directly to find out if you need to schedule an appointment in order to submit your application, and if you must do so in person.

Where can I download the Schengen visa application form?

  • Schengen Visa Application Form is a must requirement that needs to be fully filled and signed by each applicant irrespective of the age. Each Schengen country will have their own application form even though they are all requesting the same information from the applicants. Some of them will request you to register on their online system in order to fulfill your application form while most of them will require to download it only.
  • Click here to access the Schengen Visa Application Form per the country that you want to apply for.

What is a Uniform Visa?

A Uniform Visa (USV) allows you access to the entire Schengen area; to all 26 Member States. A uniform visa is therefore in contrast to a Limited Territorial Visa (LTV), which limits access to a specific Member State(s). USVs and LTVs are therefore the two categories of Schengen visas available, each describing your territorial access to the Schengen area. The category of Schengen visa you select will determine your degree of access to the Schengen area, i.e. whether you can travel to all, some, or one, of the 26 Schengen Member States.

What are the different types of Schengen visas?

  • There are 2 types of Schengen visas, each describing the length of your stay in the Schengen zone. Both are valid exclusively for Uniform Visas (USVs):
      1. Type A (Airport Transit): Valid exclusively for transiting through airports in the Schengen area-not valid for access to any area outside of the airport.
      2. Type C (Short Stay): A period of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
  • Whereas, Type D (Long Stay), a non-Schengen type of visa that can nevertheless provide access to Schengen countries. Type D is valid for National Visas only and can be valid for longer than 90 days.

What is a Schengen visa sticker?

A Schengen visa sticker is what you will receive if you are approved for a Schengen visa. Essentially your Schengen visa, its pasted onto one of the free pages of your passport, providing you access to enter the Schengen area.

What is biometric information and who has to submit it?

You may have noticed a requirement for you to submit biometric information when you submit your Schengen visa. Biometric information is another way of saying fingerprints, which you must supply in order to apply for a Schengen visas. You will likely be asked to submit your fingerprints when you submit your visa application. All applicants must submit fingerprints, with the exception of children under 12 and those who already submitted fingerprints within the last 59 months.

I am travelling through an airport located in the Schengen area. Do I need a visa?

Maybe. Nationals from certain countries who are changing planes in an airport within the Schengen zone may need to obtain a Schengen visa. If you are from one of these countries and you are changing planes in an airport located in the Schengen area and you exit the international transit area in order to change terminals, you will technically be entering the Schengen zone, and will need to obtain a Schengen Transit Visa (A) in order to transfer between an international airports within the Schengen area.

What do I do if my visa was rejected?

If your application for a Schengen visa is rejected you have the right to an appeal. The appeal process is different for every country, but generally involves submitting a letter to the consulate/embassy where you originally applied within 3 weeks of receiving a negative decision.

If I am rejected for a Schengen visa, do I get my money back?

No. If you apply for a visa and are rejected you do not get your money back.

I have a national visa for France (a Schengen country). Can I use it to travel around the Schengen area?

No. A national visa allows you to travel only to the country that issued it-not to the entire Schengen area.

Can I enter the Schengen Area in France if my visa was issued by Germany (by the Germany consulate)?

If you have a Uniform Schengen Visa from German, you can enter the Schengen area through France or any other Member State. An exception to this general rule would be if you have a Limited Territorial Visa for France, rather than a Uniform Visa. This would limit you to France and not allow you access to Germany or another Schengen state.

I am a family member of an E.U. citizen. Do I still need to apply for a Schengen visa?

Yes. Family members of E.U. citizens who are not themselves citizens of a Schengen state must apply for a Schengen visa. However, family members of E.U. citizens may not require an Airport Transit Visa if they are travelling through an airport located in a Schengen state.

How many blank pages do I need in my passport in order to get a Schengen visa?

You need a minimum of 2 blank pages in your passport in order to have room for a Schengen visa.

Do children have to pay for a Schengen visa?

Children under 6 years old do not need to pay a fee to get a Schengen visa. Children between 6-12 years old pay a reduced fee of 40 EUR (half of what an adult pays).

Do I need to submit a photo ID with my application for a Schengen visa?

The travel document you submit with your application (either a passport or an official/valid equivalent) will contain your photo. In addition, you must also submit two passport sized photos. For photo requirements, click here.

Do I need to apply for travel medical insurance in order to get a Schengen visa?

Yes. All applicants, even children, must obtain travel medical insurance and submit proof of coverage with their application in order to apply for a Schengen visa. This insurance is meant to provide you with coverage in the event that you experience a medical event requiring hospitalization while you are in the Schengen area on a Schengen visa. Note, you do not need insurance if you have an Airport Transport Visa (i.e. not a Uniform Visa type - C).

Do I need to make a flight reservation in order to apply for a Schengen visa?

It does not have to be a flight reservation, but you will need to establish your intent to leave the Schengen area within your visa validity period. Flight reservations are one of the most common ways of establishing “proof of return”, although any valid transportation method that shows you leaving the Schengen area will do.

How do I prove that I can financially afford to pay for my Schengen trip?

Applicants seeking to show “proof of subsistence” (i.e. that you can pay for your trip) can submit bank statements, payslips, or other personal financial records with their application.

Do I need a Schengen visa if I am a minor?

Yes. All people from the following countries need a Schengen visa to travel to the Schengen area, regardless of their age.

1.     AFGHANISTAN

53.   LAOS

2.     ALGERIA

54.   LEBANON

3.     ANGOLA

55.   LESOTHO

4.     ARMENIA

56.   LIBERIA

5.     AZERBAIJAN

57.   LIBYA

6.     BAHRAIN

58.   MADAGASCAR

7.     BANGLADESH

59.   MALAWI

8.     BELARUS

60.   MALDIVES

9.     BELIZE

61.   MALI

10.   BENIN

62.   MAURITANIA

11.   BHUTAN

63.   MONGOLIA

12.   BOLIVIA

64.   MOROCCO

13.   BOTSWANA

65.   MOZAMBIQUE

14.   BURKINA FASO

66.   NAMIBIA

15.   BURMA/MYANMAR

67.   NAURU

16.   BURUNDI

68.   NEPAL

17.   CAMBODIA

69.   NIGER

18.   CAMEROON

70.   NIGERIA

19.   CAPE VERDE

71.   NORTH KOREA

20.   CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

72.   OMAN

21.   CHAD

73.   PAKISTAN

22.   CHINA

74.   PAPUA NEW GUINEA

23.   COMOROS

75.   PHILIPPINES

24.   CONGO

76.   QATAR

25.   COTE D'IVOIRE

77.   RUSSIA

26.   CUBA

78.   RWANDA

27.   DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

79.   SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

28.   DJIBOUTI

80.   SAUDI ARABIA

29.   DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

81.   SENEGAL

30.   ECUADOR

82.   SIERRA LEONE

31.   EGYPT

83.   SOMALIA

32.   EQUATORIAL GUINEA

84.   SOUTH AFRICA

33.   ERITREA

85.   SOUTH SUDAN

34.   ETHIOPIA

86.   SRI LANKA

35.   FIJI

87.   SUDAN

36.   GABON

88.   SURINAME

37.   GAMBIA

89.   SWAZILAND

38.   GHANA

90.   SYRIA

39.   GUINEA

91.   TAJIKISTAN

40.   GUINEA-BISSAU

92.   TANZANIA

41.   GUYANA

93.   THAILAND

42.   HAITI

94.   TOGO

43.   INDIA

95.   TUNISIA

44.   INDONESIA

96.   TURKEY

45.   IRAN

97.   TURKMENISTAN

46.   IRAQ

98.   UGANDA

47.   JAMAICA

99.   UZBEKISTAN

48.   JORDAN

100.VIETNAM

49.   KAZAKHSTAN

101.YEMEN

50.   KENYA

102.ZAMBIA

51.   KUWAIT

103.ZIMBABWE

52.   KYRGYZSTAN

Third party nationals from the following entities/territories are also required to apply for a Schengen visa: KOSOVO and the PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY.

Can I leave and come back to the Schengen area on a single-entry Schengen visa?

No. Single entry Schengen visas are good for just one entry to the Schengen area. This means that if you leave the Schengen area on a single-entry Schengen visa, you cannot return with the same visa. In order to re-enter the Schengen area, you would therefore need to re-apply for a brand-new Schengen visa.

How many times can I enter and leave the Schengen area on a multiple entry Schengen visa?

You can enter and leave the Schengen area an unlimited number of times on a multiple entry Schengen visa, so long as you do not exceed the 90/180 rule.

Do certain countries charge more to process an application?

No. The processing fee for a Schengen visa is the same, regardless of where you apply. However, external service providers may charge an additional processing fee, separate from the cost of the Schengen visa application.

Are certain types of Schengen visas more expensive than others? Are multiple entry visas more expensive than single entry?

No. All Schengen visas cost the same; no purpose or type is more expensive than another. Single entry visas are the same price as multiple entry.

Is a national visa a Schengen visa?

No. National visas are not Schengen visas. There is no such thing as a “National Schengen visa”. National visas and Schengen visas are separate visa categories with totally separate applications and application procedures.

Should I apply for a Schengen visa or a national visa?

If you are looking to travel to more than one country in Europe (with some exceptions) and stay in the Schengen area for 90 days or less, you should apply for a Schengen visa. Alternatively, if you are only looking to travel and reside in a single European country, and you want to stay over 90 days, you should probably apply for a national visa to that specific country.

I applied for a Uniform Schengen visa and received a Limited Territorial Visa instead. What does this mean?

If you received a Limited Territorial Visa, this means you will only be able to travel to the country or countries the visa is valid for, rather than the entire Schengen area (which would be accessible to you if you got a Uniform Visa).

Do I need a passport to enter the Schengen area if I have Schengen visa?

Yes. A Schengen visa on its own is not enough to enter the Schengen area-you also need some form of internationally accepted travel document (generally a passport). Visas are not passports; please do not confuse the two distinct documents.

What’s the difference between consulates and embassies?

Consulates handle the consular (i.e. visa) issues of citizens abroad and potential visitors. Embassies are located in capital cities and exist to represent the foreign interests of a country abroad, and generally do not handle consular duties (although they may have consular sections). There is one embassy per country, whereas consulates are often found in non-capital but important cities throughout a single country.

What is ETIAS and do I need to get one?

The travel authorization known as ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) does not launch until the end of 2022, so you do not yet need to get one yet. ETIAS is an IT system meant to identify unique threats posed by visa-exempt travelers to the Schengen area and is only valid for those from visa-exempt countries to the Schengen area.

My passport is expiring two weeks after I want to travel. Can I still apply for a Schengen visa?

Your passport must be valid for the entire length of your Schengen visa period. If it is set to expire at anytime during your stay in the Schengen area, you will not be approved for a Schengen visa. In this case it is advisable that you renew your passport before you apply for a Schengen visa.

What happens if I overstay my visa?

  • Please note, the penalties for overstaying your Schengen visa are significant. If you do not leave the Schengen area in time, you may be subject to one, some, or all of the following:
    • Monetary fine.
    • Instant deportation.
    • Multi-year ban from the Schengen area.
  • Additionally, you will likely be denied a Schengen visa the next time you try to apply for one. In determining whether or not to grant you a Schengen visa, your consulate will look at your past history to determine if you have ever overstayed your Schengen visa. All information pertaining to your Schengen visa history is stored in the Schengen Information System (SIS). Therefore, overstaying a Schengen visa will almost certainly negatively affect any future Schengen visas you apply for.

What is a Schengen visa calculator?

The Schengen visa calculator is a tool allowing you to find out how much time is left on your visa and determine if you are in compliance with the '90 days/180-day' rule.

Is it easy to get a Schengen visa?

Although the process may appear challenging, the application process can be simple and stress free if you follow the steps and apply within the appropriate time frame.