1. What is the Schengen Visa?
One visa for many European countries. Schengen is the name of a small town in Luxembourg, where a treaty on visa cooperation was signed. Currently 25 European countries – the “Schengen countries” – share a common visa policy. 22 of them are member states of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Three other countries are also member of the Schengen agreement but not EU member states: Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.
No border controls. Within the Schengen area, there are no checks at the borders between Schengen countries. A person with a Schengen Visa may travel freely to all of the 25 participating countries without the need for acquiring individual visas.
2. Three types of Schengen Visas
- Short-stay visa (Type "C"): issued for one, two or several visits. Its period of validity varies. It allows stays which do not exceed three months over a six-month period.
- Transit visa (Type "B"): issued to persons who must transit through the territory of one or more Schengen States before continuing their journey to a third country. This visa may be issued for one, two or, in exceptional circumstances, several transits. The duration of each transit must not exceed five days.
- Airport transit visas (Type "A"): required for nationals of certain third countries who are flying to another third country but need to make a transfer in an airport of a Schengen State.
Non-EU member states use the same categories of visas.
3. Where can I get a Schengen Visa?
You can apply at any participating member state embassy in your region.
If you plan visiting more than one country in Europe, you should contact the embassy of the country where you will spend most of the time. In case of doubt, you should apply for the Schengen Visa at the embassy of the country you will travel to first.
4. How do I apply for a Schengen Visa?
The minimum requirements are:
- Complete and sign the visa application form. It is available for download and free.
- Submit a valid passport with an expiration date that is later than your intended stay.
- Specify the purpose of your trip.
- Provide evidence of sufficient means for the time of stay.
- Provide proof of travelers' insurance for the amount of at least 30.000 EUR.
5. How much does it cost?
A typical short stay visa fee is 60 EUR. There are however circumstances where this fee can be reduced or waived. No fees can be charged for third country nationals who are family members of an EU citizen who exercise their right of free movement. Fees are waived for children under six years of age, school pupils, post graduate students and accompanying teachers who undertake trips for the purpose of study or educational training, and for researchers carrying out specifically defined scientific research (Recommendation 2005/761/EC). More detailed information is available at the embassy of the destination of your choice. For a listing of EU member state embassies in the region follow the "Embassies" link on the navigation bar.