Schengen visa for citizens of Eritrea in 2022
Published on: 27 September 2021

The majority of Eritrean citizens and residents who are looking to travel to Europe will need a visa in order to visit France, Italy, Germany, and the rest of the 26 countries that make up the Schengen area. After researching their options, most Eritreans ultimately decide to apply for a Schengen visa, which allows them to spend up to 90 days in the zone and grants holders unrestricted travel throughout it. Today’s blog will teach you how to apply for a Schengen visa for citizens of Eritrea in 2021. If you are planning a trip to Europe, keep reading for a step-by-step guide to the Schengen visa application process. Learn where to apply in the country, how to fulfill the various visa requirements, and the Schengen visa fees for Eritrean citizens and residents—among other essential information. 

How to apply for a Schengen visa for citizens of Eritrea in 2022

  • 1. Decide when you want to travel (and when to apply for your visa)
    • The first thing you need to do when you apply for a Schengen visa for Eritrea citizens and residents is think about when you want to travel. 
    • While you do not have to know exactly when you want to travel, you should try to schedule your trip to coincide with the two-week (average) processing period for Schengen visa applications. If you apply too late, you may not receive your visa in time for your trip (if you don’t have the physical visa in your possession, you won’t be able to enter the Schengen area). 
    • Finally, make sure not to apply too early—applications lodged earlier than three months before a trip are typically not accepted by Schengen visa authorities.  
  • 2. Decide what “type” of Schengen visa you need
    • Perhaps the most important part of the Schengen visa application process is determining what “type” of Schengen visa you need. Popular Schengen visa types include Medical, Tourism, Visiting Family and Friends, and Business; the type you select should reflect your reason for visiting the Schengen area.
    • Some applicants have more than one reason for traveling, and therefore may be confused about which visa type to apply for. For example, if you are traveling to the Schengen area to visit your cousin who lives in France, but you also plan on exploring Paris while you are there, you may be wondering whether you should apply for a “Visiting Family and Friends” or a “Tourist” visa. 
    • If you find yourself unable to choose between two different Schengen visa types, think about which reason for traveling is emblematic of your trip. To continue the above example, if you were invited to France by your cousin with the express purpose of visiting and staying with him (and you plan on staying with him throughout your time there) you should likely apply for a Visiting Family and Friends visa rather than a Tourist visa (even if you will also be doing touristic activities). 
    • For more insight into the various Schengen visa types available to Eritreans, you can browse the complete list of Schengen visa types here.
  • 3. Decide what kind of “entry category” of Schengen visa you need
    • The Schengen visa for citizens of Eritrea in 2021 has three different entry categories: single, double, and multiple. The kind you choose will determine how many times (if at all) you can re-enter the Schengen area after exiting it the first time. 
    • If you choose a single-entry Schengen visa, you will not be able to return to the zone if you exit it. For this reason, single-entry Schengen visas are the least flexible kind of entry category. However, for certain applicants, a single entry might be sufficient for their trip. For example, if you are getting a Schengen visa in order to conduct two weeks of business n France, and you know you will not need to return to the zone after it’s over, a single-entry might be the correct entry category for you. 
    • If you have a double-entry Schengen, you will be able to re-enter the zone a single time (after exiting it the first time). A double entry, while providing more flexibility than the single entry, still limits the number of times you can return to the zone. A double entry visa would be convenient for someone who has planned out their trip carefully and anticipates their need to return home for a specific reason during their Schengen visa validity period. 
    • Finally, a multiple-entry Schengen visa will allow you to travel back and forth between Eritrea and the Schengen area as many times as you want. A multiple entry Schengen is good for applicants who are planning on staying the full 90 days in the zone, and who therefore may need to return to Eritrea at some point during that time, for whatever reason. 
  • 4. Decide what Schengen country to apply to
    • Where to apply for an Eritrea visa is determined by what country in the Schengen area you are traveling to. You will apply for your Schengen visa from Eritrea through the Schengen country that is your primary destination in the Schengen area. 
    • If you are only traveling to a single country in the zone, that country will naturally be your primary destination. However, if you are visiting more than one country, your primary destination will be the one in which you are staying the longest.
    •  For example, if you are traveling to both Spain and France, and spending 30 days in Spain and 20 days in France, you will apply for a Spanish Schengen visa. However, say you are spending an equal amount of time in both Spain and France—how then do you determine your primary Schengen destination?
    • If you are spending the same number of days in two or more Schengen countries, your primary travel destination will be the place where you first entered the Schengen area. For example, if your trip to the Schengen area begins with you flying directly from Asmara to Paris, you will apply for a French Schengen visa, even if you then go on to spend an equal amount of time in Spain (or other countries in the zone). 
  • 5. Determine where in Ethiopia to apply
    • Now that you know how to select the Schengen country that you are applying to, you will still need to determine specifically where to apply for the Eritrea visa in Eritrea.  
    • Traditionally, applicants apply for their visas through the embassy, consulate, or visa application center of the Schengen country that is their primary destination in the zone. 
    • Somewhat uniquely, the Italian embassy in Asmara is responsible for processing all of the Schengen visas for citizens of Eritrea in 2021, including those to Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden. 
    • Therefore—for example—if you are applying for a Schengen visa to France, you will apply through the Italian embassy in Asmara (rather than through the French embassy there). 
  • 6. Gather your required documents
    • All applicants—regardless of the type or entry category of visa they are applying for, will need to submit the below basic documents as part of their Schengen visa requirements for Eritrea citizens and residents:
      • Eritrean passport
      • Passport photos (2) 
      • Schengen Visa application form
      • Proof of accommodation 
      • Proof of return 
      • Proof of subsistence (i.e. that you can afford your trip and all the costs associated with it) 
      • Proof of travel medical insurance
    • In addition to the above, you will also need to present various supplemental documents (depending on the type of visa you are seeking). For example, if you are applying for a Visiting Family or Friends visa, you will be asked to submit an invitation letter inviting you to the Schengen area (addressed from relative/friend you are visiting). 
    • Click here for a complete list of required documents.
    • Please be mindful of any language requirements for the documents that you are asked to submit. For example, if you have original documents written in Amharic, you will likely be asked to present an official translation (into either English or the language of the Schengen country you are applying to visit) in order for them to be accepted as part of your application. 
  • 7. Access your Schengen visa application
    • The universal Schengen Visa application form, which is available to all Eritrean applicants, can be found here.
    • Eritreans who apply via the above form should download, print out, and sign it, before ultimately submitting it with the rest of their application. 
    • Depending on where in the Schengen area you are applying, you may be asked not to use the above form, and to instead apply online, through your Schengen country’s visa-portal. For example, if you are applying for a French Schengen visa, you can access the French Schengen visa form via the official French government website here.
  • 8. Schedule your Schengen visa appointment
    • If you apply through an online portal like the one above, you will likely be granted the opportunity to schedule a visa appointment online. Attending a Schengen visa appointment is a main requirement of the application process, and most applicants must schedule their appointments in advance. If you don’t apply online, or you are not given an opportunity to do so, contact your application destination directly to see if you need to make one. 
  • 9. Attend your Schengen visa appointment
    • Your Schengen visa appointment is where you will fulfill your in-person visa requirements for Eritrea citizens and residents. These include formally submitting your application, paying your Schengen visa fees, having your biometric information (photos and fingerprints) collected, and attending a short-visa interview. 
    • Schengen visa fees for Eritrean citizens and residents are 80 EUR for most applicants. More information about what you can expect to pay is available here.
    • In extremely rare cases, certain applicants who travel frequently to the Schengen area from Eritrea may be able to avoid the in-person requirements for the Schengen visa application process (provided they have already submitted their application and paid their Schengen visa fees online and submitted their biometric information on a prior Schengen visa application). However, even if you travel frequently to the Schengen area, you will still likely be asked to come in for a visa interview.  
  • 10. Await your decision
    • Once you apply for a Schengen visa for Eritrea citizens and residents, the only thing left to do is wait to receive a decision on your application. If you receive one, pick up your passport (containing your new visa) and proceed with your trip. 
    • To appeal a rejected Eritrean Schengen visa, follow the general guidelines available here.
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