Schengen Visa

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

I get asked a lot for best tips and processes on applying for Schengen visa. Based on my experience of applying for the schengen visa twice here's how it needs to be done. Everything mentioned in the article will be for tourist visa only.


Basic info


Schengen area is a zone of countries which have abolished their internal borders for movement between them.The area consists of countries which are part of the European Union + some non-members countries (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein)


Countries currently in Schengen area


Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland


Countries which can be visited with a valid Schengen visa


This is some good news. Right? Yes, there are approx 34 non-schengen countries you can visit with your valid Schengen visa. Have categorized them in zones.


Alert: Please check in detail the visa rules for each country against your country's passport before making any plans


- Europe Zone

Turkey, Albania, Andorra, Bosnia And Herzegovina,Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, San Marino, Macedonia


- Asia Zone

Taiwan, Philippines


- Africa Zone

Sao Tome, Principe


- UK Zone

Gibraltar


- North America Zone

Mexico


- South America Zone

Peru, Argentina, Colombia


- Central America Zone

Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua


- Caribbean Zone

Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Curaçao, Haiti, Jamaica, Sint Maarten


Now having said that you can visit so many countries with having a valid Schengen visa, the question arises do you get long term visa or how's it? Let's understand the visa types


Types of Schengen Visa


Uniform Schengen Visa


Most of the travellers get this visa.This type of visa is categorized in two divisions


A - Airport Transit Visa

C - Short term visa which allows the visitor to be in the Schengen area till the validity of the visa.


This is again categorized into sub categories

- Single entry visa

Enter the Schengen area and exit. You can roam around in all Schengen countries

- Double entry visa

Enter the Schengen area, exit and come back again once. You can roam around in all Schengen countries

- Multiple entry visa

Enter and exit Schengen area any number of times


If you're a frequent traveller to Schengen area, based on your travel history you can also apply for longer duration visa

1/3/5 years multiple entry Schengen visa


Alert: With these longer duration visa also you cannot remain longer than 90 days within a 180 day period within the Schengen Area


Here's a handy online calculator to help you calculate days spend, how many days you can stay for, when can your re-enter etc


http://www.schengen-calculator.com/visits


Understanding basic rules/processes


Passport


Check for the below


- 10 years validity (Not from the date of travel but overall)

- 3 months validity left for passport expiry from the date of departure

- Should not be a hand written passport

- 2 complete blank pages


Don't have a passport yet but you are reading this to make holiday plans. Don't worry, check my blog on applying for a new passport and taking your first international trip https://www.outofofficedaku.com/post/firsttrip


Travel plans


You should have your detailed travel itinerary ready before you set out to apply for a visa. This will be critical step in the whole process. Once you're ready, jot down the below pointers

  • Total number of days in each country

  • Total number of days in all Schengen countries

  • Entry/exit country

  • Visiting any non-schengen country during your stay

Keep it ready and read ahead


In case travelling multiple countries which countries visa to be applied


The thumb rule is you need to apply with the country where your stay is maximum number of days during your entire stay. If the stay is same for the country of entry and some of the other country/countries then need to apply with country of entry.


Figuring out visa type:


Transit visa

Tourist visa (Covered in this blog)

Visiting family & friends