With Europe opening back up for travel, many are planning summer vacations to the continent. If you are from Nigeria, you will likely have to receive a Schengen visa from Nigeria in order to access any of the 26 countries that comprise the Schengen area. If you receive one, you will be able to spend a significant amount of time (up to 90 days!) exploring France, Germany, Italy, and the rest of the top travel destinations in the zone. Applying for a short-stay Schengen visa from Nigeria is easy, provided you meet the Schengen visa requirements for Nigeria citizens, follow the application instructions, and submit your documents on time. Today’s blog will therefore provide an overview of how apply for a Schengen visa from Nigeria. As you read, you will discover the answer to essential questions such as, “Where do you apply for a Schengen visa?”, and “How much does a Schengen visa cost?” Find out the answers to these questions—and more—below. 

How to apply for a Schengen visa from Nigeria

  • 1. Know when you need to apply 
    • Think about when you want to leave for your trip from Nigeria. While you don’t need to know your exact travel dates, you should try to develop a general idea of when you want to leave, so as to make sure that you have enough time to apply. 
    • In general, you should apply for a Schengen visa from Nigeria a minimum of three weeks before your flight (processing times for Schengen visas are usually three weeks). 
    • However, just as you should be careful not to apply too late, make sure that you don’t apply too early! Applicants who try to apply over six months before their trip are usually rejected. 
  • 2. Know what “type” of Schengen visa you need 
    • There are numerous Schengen visas and types for Nigeria passport holders. Schengen visa types traditionally reflect a person’s reason for travel. For example, if you are traveling for the purpose of receiving medical treatment, you should apply for a Medical Schengen visa. 
    • In addition to Medical, Schengen visas and types for Nigeria passport holders include Business, Tourism, Visiting Family and Friends, and Cultural. 
    • For a complete list of Schengen visa types, click here.
  • 3. Know what “entry category” of Schengen visa you need 
    • The Schengen visa for Nigeria citizens and residents is available in single, double, and multiple entry visa categories; the category you choose will reflect the number of times you need to enter, exit, and re-enter the Schengen area on your Schengen visa. 
    • If you are confident that you will not need to leave the Schengen area until your visa expires, then you should apply for a single-entry Schengen visa. For example, if you have a Medical Schengen visa and are traveling to Europe to undergo an operation and returning home immediately after, you might only require a single entry. If you receive this visa, you will not be able to re-enter the Schengen area, should you leave it for any reason throughout your visa validity period. 
    • If you think you might want to exit the Schengen area and return to it at least once throughout your trip, then you should apply for, at minimum, a double entry Schengen. If you receive a double entry, you will be able to enter, exit, and re-enter the Schengen area a second time on your original Schengen visa. 
    • Finally, if you want the flexibility of being able to enter, exit, and re-enter the Schengen area as many times as you want throughout your trip, then you should apply for a multiple-entry Schengen visa. For example, if you intend to travel back and forth between Nigeria and the Schengen area throughout the 90 days you are allowed in the zone, a multiple-entry Schengen is likely the best visa category for you. 
  • 4. Know what Schengen country to apply to 
    • If you are applying for a short-stay Schengen visa from Nigeria, you will submit your visa application through the Schengen country where you intend to spend the majority of time on your trip. 
    • For example, if you are traveling to both Germany and Spain, but you intend to spend 60 days in Germany versus only 30 in Spain, then you should apply for a German Schengen visa. 
    • However, say you are spending an equal amount of time in both Germany and Spain? In this scenario, you would apply for your Schengen visa from the country where you record your first official entry into the Schengen zone. Therefore, if you are flying direct from Abuja to Madrid (verses, say, flying directly from Abuja to Berlin), then you would apply for a Spanish Schengen visa. 
  • 5. Know where to apply in Nigeria 
    • Now that you know what country to apply to from Nigeria, you may still be wondering, “Where do you apply for Schengen visa in Nigeria?”
    • As a Nigerian citizen or resident, you will apply for your Schengen visa through the embassy, consulate, or visa application center linked to the Schengen country you are applying through. Most of these destinations will be in either the capital Abuja or in Lagos. 
    • For example, if you are applying for a German Schengen visa, you will lodge your application with the German consulate in Lagos. Alternatively, if you are applying for a Schengen visa to France, you will apply through a visa application center in Abuja. For detailed guidance on where (and how) to submit your application, contact us here.
  • 6. Assemble your required documents 
    • Schengen visa requirements for Nigeria citizens and residents involve the submission of the following basic required documents: 
      • Nigerian passport (or other valid passport)
      • Passport photos (2)
      • Proof of accommodation (proof of where you are staying)
      • Proof of finances (proof you can pay for your trip) 
      • Proof of travel medical insurance
      • Visa application form 
      • Fingerprints and photos (biometric information)
      • Schengen visa fee (80 Euros for most applicants)
    • Other documents you will have to submit will include those required by your specific Schengen visa type. For example, if you are applying for a Medical Schengen visa, you will need to submit supplemental documents related to the procedure you are intending to undergo in the Schengen area. 
    • Check what the language requirements for submitted documents are if you intend to submit materials in a language other than English or the official language(s) of the country you are applying to in the Schengen area. For example, if you are submitting documents in either Hausa, Igbo, or Yoruba, you will likely have to have those documents translated into either English or another European language in order for them to be accepted. 
    • For a full list of required documents, click here.
  • 7. Access you Schengen visa application 
    • Depending on where you are applying to in the Schengen area, you may be able to submit the basic Schengen visa form, accessible here.
    • Alternatively, you may be asked to apply through a country-specific portal. Nigerians who are applying for a German Schengen visa will almost certainly be asked to apply through the German website, available here). 
  • 8. Schedule your Schengen visa appointment 
    • Almost all Nigerians who apply for a Schengen visa will have to attend a Schengen visa appointment; this appointment must usually be scheduled in advance. 
    • You can usually schedule a Schengen visa appointment online (if you are applying online). 
    • Alternatively, you may have to contact the embassy/consulate you are applying through directly in order to make an appointment. 
  • 9. Attend your Schengen visa appointment 
    • At your Schengen visa appointment (which the vast majority of Nigerian applicants will have to attend in person), you will be asked to submit a paper copy of your Schengen visa application, pay your visa fee (if you have not already), submit your biometric information, and agree to a short interview. 
    • The biometric information component of the application involves having your fingerprints and photos taken and uploaded into the digital Schengen security system for security and identity purposes. 
    • “How much does a Schengen visa cost?” As mentioned above, Schengen visas usually cost 80 EUR. However, certain applicants, including children and students, may be able to pay less (or nothing at all!). If you require more info on Schengen visa fees, or would like to know whether you are exempt from paying, click here.
    • If you travel often from Nigeria to the Schengen area on a Schengen visa, your biometric information will likely still be in the system (so long as you submitted your biometrics within the past 5 years). If you traveled to the zone recently (and frequently), and you have already paid your application fees online, you may be able to avoid coming in for an interview. However, even those who make frequent trips to the Schengen area are often still required to attend a short interview, so do not be surprised if this is required of you. 
  • 10. Await your decision 
    • Don’t be alarmed if you don’t immediately receive a response on your visa application—the processing time for the Schengen visa for Nigeria citizens and residents can take up to three weeks (and even from 30-60 days, in rare cases). 
    • If you receive a visa, you may pick it up (along with your passport) and proceed with your trip. If you are rejected for a Nigerian visa to the Schengen area, you may wish to appeal, or re-apply. For information on appealing a rejected Schengen visa, click here.