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


- North America Zone


- 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

Understanding basic rules/processes


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

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