What is a Schengen visa sticker?
- If you are approved for a Schengen visa, you will receive a Schengen visa sticker. Technically described as the “format” for a Schengen visa, this document is essentially your Schengen visa.
- Your Schengen visa is called a “visa sticker” because it is stuck to (pasted) onto one of the free pages of your passport/travel document. This visa sticker is the “document” allowing you to enter the Schengen area.
- Your Schengen visa sticker will contain your photo, name and passport number, as well as information describing the type, duration, and validity of your specific visa.
- You will receive your visa sticker when you collect (i.e. when you pickup/receive your passport/travel document) from the issuing authority (embassy/consulate/visa center) where you applied for your Schengen visa.
How do I read my Schengen visa?
In addition to your name, your Schengen visa sticker will contain the following information describing the type, duration, and validity of your specific Schengen visa. This information is conveyed using the following terms, which are typed on your visa, and described for you below.
- VALID FOR
- This is the area your visa is valid for, i.e. the territory you can access with it.
- If you have a Uniform Schengen Visa, your visa is valid for entry to the entire Schengen area, and your visa sticker will therefore read: Schengen states.
- If you have a Limited Territorial Visa, your visa is valid for entry to a specific Schengen state or states, rather than the entire Schengen area, and your visa sticker will therefore be printed with one or multiple abbreviated names of the state(s) for which your visa is valid. The following are the abbreviations for the Schengen states:
- The date which follows the word “FROM” is the date your visa becomes valid for entry into the Schengen area/Schengen state. The date following the word “UNTIL” is the date you must leave the Schengen territory/Schengen area by.
- For example, if your visa reads (valid) “FROM” 01-01-20 “UNTIL” 09-04-20, your visa is valid from January 1st, 2020, to April 9th, 2020. In order not to overstay your visa, you must therefore leave the Schengen area/territory by midnight on April 9th.
- Please note, you do not necessarily have to enter the Schengen area on the exact “From” date on your visa sticker (you can enter the Schengen in the days following that date, but not before it). However, if you enter the Schengen area on a date following the “From” date, you must be mindful of the date you truly entered the zone, which becomes your true date of entry, and your reference point for determining how many days you have stayed in the area (and how many days you have left on your visa).
- TYPE OF VISA
- There are three types of visa on the sticker: Type “C” [Short-stay Visa], Type “A” [Airport Transit Visa], and Type “D” [Long-stay Visa].
- In your visa sticker, these visa types are presented as the following:
- Short-stay Visa: denoted by the capital letter “C”
- Airport Transit Visa: denoted by the capital letter “A”
- Long-stay Visa: denoted by the capital letter “D”
- Uniform Schengen Visas allow you access to the entire Schengen Area.
- Airport Transit Visas allow you to transit through the airport(s) located within a Schengen state.
- Long-stay Visas allow you to stay in the Schengen area longer than the traditional period of 90 days.
- NUMBER OF ENTRIES
- This is the number of entries you have for the Schengen area, i.e. the number of times you can leave and return to the area after entering it for the first time. Schengen visas can be obtained for single entry, double entry, or multiple entry (to the Schengen area). On your visa, these terms are abbreviated using “01”, “02”, and “MULT”, respectively.
- A single-entry visa allows you just one entry to the Schengen area; you cannot re-enter the Schengen area once you leave it. If you do, your visa becomes invalid, and you will be unable to return to the Schengen area until you get a new one.
- A double entry allows you two entries to the Schengen area; upon entering the area, you are allowed to leave it and return to it one time throughout the duration of your validity period.
- A multiple entry allows you an unlimited number of entries to the Schengen area; you can enter the Schengen area, leave it, and re-enter it as many times as needed.
- Please note, your visa will become invalid when the total number of times you exit the Schengen area is equal to the number of authorized entries you are granted, even if you have not yet used up the number of days authorized by your visa.
- DURATION OF STAY…DAYS
- This is the total number of days your visa is valid for, i.e. the number of days you can stay in the Schengen area with your visa. This number will be the total number of days between (and including) the date of your arrival and departure.
- For Schengen visas, the duration of stay cannot exceed 90 days.
- Please note, the period of time between “FROM…UNTIL” often exceeds the number of days following the “DURATION OF STAY”. This is intended to allow you to better plan your dates of arrival and departure to/from the Schengen area/territory.
- If your time in the Schengen area is longer than the number of days between “DURATION OF STAY…DAYS”, you will have violated the terms of your visa.
- You must leave the Schengen area by the date preceding “UNTIL”, even if you have stayed in the Schengen area for less than the number of days under “DURATION OF STAY…DAYS”.
- The nature of your visa stay may be continuous (i.e. all in a row) or non-continuous (note: non-continuous stays are only valid for double or multiple entry visas; not for single entry).
- ISSUED IN
- This is the place (city) where your visa was issued.
- For example, if you applied for a Schengen visa in Cairo, Egypt and it was issued by authorities based there, such as the Cairo consulate for a particular Schengen state, your visa will read ISSUED IN: Cairo.
- ISSUED ON
- This is the date on which your visa was issued.
- NUMBER OF PASSPORT
- This is the number of your passport/ travel document containing your visa sticker.
- This number may also reflect that of the parental authority, legal guardian, or spouse of the person who was issued the visa, in the event he or she is included in the passport of one of those persons.
- This section is completed at the discretion of the Member State who issued your visa, and contains any relevant remarks relating to its national provisions. Please note, these remarks will be in the language of the respective issuing state.
- Please note, your visa sticker is not inclusive of your biometric information, i.e. your fingerprints. This information is contained within a digital database known as the Visa Information System (VIS).
- If a Member State does not recognize your travel document, i.e. your passport, they may adhere your visa to a separate sheet of paper, rather than to the document in question.
- If you receive a visa extension, it will also be in the form of a visa sticker.
- In the case that your visa is annulled or revoked, your sticker will be stamped either with the word “ANNULLED” or “REVOKED”, respectively.