If you are travelling primarily for cultural purposes, i.e. to participate in cultural events, you should apply for a Schengen Cultural Visa.

What is a Schengen Cultural Visa?

  • A kind of short stay (Type-C) visa allowing you access to the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period for cultural purposes.

Required Documents for Schengen Cultural Visa

  • In addition to the Basic of Schengen Visa Application Requirements, you will need to supply documents conveying information about your reason for travel, including information about your stay as a member of a cultural program/organization/artist in the Schengen area, including the following:
    • Letter from your resident country’s relevant local cultural association, including their name, complete address, contact information, which also states your position within the organization (artist, instructor, etc.), the date you joined the association/organization the nature/terms of your compensation (if any), and a guarantee that you will not seek employment during your stay in your destination country.

If you are an: ARTIST/Member of Cultural Association in your resident country travelling to a cultural event organized in cooperation with the cultural association of your destination country:

  1. Letter from your relevant resident country’s cultural association providing information on the event you will be participating in your destination country, including detailed information regarding the host/event organizer, including their complete address, event length and itinerary, stated purpose of the event, and description of how your expenses related to travel and accommodation will be paid (whether you will pay for your expenses out of pocket, or whether the event host/organization/someone else will cover your attendance related costs.
  2. Letter from your destination country’s local cultural association, including their complete address, stating cooperation partner, event length and itinerary.

Eligibility: Who Can Apply

  • Nationals of a third country excluded from visa-free access or visas on arrival to the Schengen area that have a legitimate, valid, and documented reason to travel to the Schengen area for cultural purposes are eligible to apply for a Cultural Schengen Visa.

How to Apply for Schengen Cultural Visa 

  1. Determine the Schengen country where you will be spending the most time on your trip. You will apply for the Cultural Schengen Visa through that country’s consulate.
  2. Select “Cultural” as reason for travelling.
  3. Determine how many “Entries” to the Schengen area you need.
  4. Gather your Basic Required Documents, as well as the documents required for a Cultural Visa.
  5. Fill out your application. Different Schengen countries provide different ways of accessing applications; you might have to use an online application portal or fill out a print-application by hand.
  6. Pay the application fee (standard fee for adults is 80 Euros). You will likely have to submit a service payment with your visa application. This is a separate cost from the visa fee, which you will likely pay in person, at your subsequent interview appointment at a Visa Application Center. Please note that these fees are non-refundable.
  7. Submit your application.
  8. Schedule an interview appointment. Interviews are conducted in person either at the embassy or the consulate of the country you are applying to, or at a Visa Application Center associated with the consulate of the country you are applying to.

When to Apply

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

Where to Apply

  • You should apply for the Cultural Schengen Visa through the embassy or the consulate of the country you are travelling to in the Schengen area, or through a Visa Application Center associated with the consulate of the country.
  • If you are travelling to multiple countries in the Schengen area, you should apply through the embassy, the consulate or the associated Visa Application Center for the country in which you will spend the most time. And in case you plan to spend equal period of time in those multiple countries, then you need to apply at the embassy, the consulate or the associated Visa Application Center of the country where you will arrive first.

Processing Time for Schengen Cultural Visa 

  • The processing time for a Cultural Schengen Visa is generally about two weeks (15 days). In rarer cases, consulates can take anywhere from 30-60 days to render a decision on an application.