The Schengen Area, or Schengen Countries Zone, is a group of 26 European nations that have abolished border controls between each other. These include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Poland, and Scandinavian nations, but not the U.K. and Ireland. Most European Union (EU) countries are signatories to the Schengen Agreement, although some non-Schengen countries, like Bulgaria and Romania, are signed up but not yet active members.
Here is the list of 26 countries members of the Schengen zone:
What is Schengen Visa?
A Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area. The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) without border controls between them. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
A Schengen visa is an authorisation issued by a Schengen State with a view to:
- an intended stay in the territory of the Schengen States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180 days period (“short stay visa”),
- a transit through the international transit areas of airports of the Schengen States (“airport transit visa”).
Types of Schengen visa:
|Type A Schengen visa – Airport Transit Visa||Type B Schengen visa||Type C Schengen visa||Type D Schengen visa|
|It allows citizens of non-Schengen states to transit through or wait for their connecting flight in the international zone of an airport located in a Schengen country||Relates to journeys lasting fewer than five days has been replaced by type “C” with the condition “transit”||The short stay Schengen visa is the most common one. It is issued by the visa services of a country belonging to the Schengen area. It allows the holder to stay or travel freely in the Schengen area for less than 90 days over a 180 day period||It is mandatory for any foreigner wishing to study, work or live in a Schengen country for longer than 90 days (up to 1 year)|
Purposes to get Schengen visa:
- To transit through the airport of a country in the Schengen zone in order to take the plane to your Schengen destination country.
- Tourism visits and sightseeing.
- Business visits
- Visiting family members and friends
- Travel as part of cultural exchange program, sports or research
- Medical visits
- Short term study courses.
- Official visits
Procedure to apply for Schengen visa:
- Fill the Schengen Visa Application form.
- Make an appointment.
- Complete the documents file.
- Show up at the appointment.
- Provide biometrics.
- Verify the documents.
- Pay the visa fees.
To apply for a Schengen visa, you will need to contact the consular authorities of the Schengen country you wish to visit. If the country you plan to visit does not have an embassy or consulate, you will have to address your application file to the local representatives of this country. Visa applications are sometimes processed by external service providers (such as VFS Global or TLS) which are authorized to receive application files
Documents required for Schengen visa:
• A duly completed and signed visa application form
• Two identical and recent id photos
• A copy of your passport and your passport (issued less than 10 years ago and valid for at least 3 months beyond the expiration date of the requested visa)
• A letter explaining the reasons of your trip
• The reservation confirmation of your return ticket
• Proof of your accommodation plans
• Proof of your means of subsistence
• A mandatory travel insurance certificate
Cost of Schengen visa:
The cost of a Schengen visa application for adults is 80€. Whereas the visa fee for children from the age of 6 years to the age of 12 years is 45€.
After you pay the fees, you will be issued a receipt which you have to keep in order to collect your processed application. In the case of visa application rejection, the fee will not get reimbursed. If you apply again for a visa, you will have to pay the fees again
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