Schengen Visa: Everything You Need to Know

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If you’re planning a trip to Europe, you’ve probably stumbled across the word “Schengen” at some point during your research.  But what is the Schengen Area, exactly? When do you need a Schengen visa to visit Europe and how do you apply? And what, for that matter, is valid Schengen visa insurance?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. From an overview of Schengen travel regulations to the Schengen visa application process, here’s everything you need to know to navigate this tricky European zone.

Jump Ahead:

  1. Schengen Countries
  2. What is a Schengen Visa and How Does it Work?
  3. Who Needs a Schengen Visa?
  4. How to Apply for a Schengen Visa
  5. Schengen Visa Application Requirements
  6. Schengen Visa Insurance Requirements
  7. Types of Schengen Visas
  8. Types of Schengen Visa Entry

I.
Schengen Countries

Twenty-two EU Schengen countries and four non-EU Schengen countries currently make up the Schengen Area, for a grand total of 26 Schengen states.

EU Schengen countries include:

Non-EU Schengen countries include:

There are only 6 EU countries which are not part of the Schengen Area: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and United Kingdom. Citizens of these countries do not need a Schengen visa in order to visit the Schengen Area for up to 90 total days in a 180-day period.

II.
What is a Schengen Visa and How Does it Work?

A Schengen visa allows eligible individuals to travel freely within the 26 participating Schengen Area countries. This means travelers will not be subject to border checks at internal Schengen borders.

Border checks remain in place for travelers crossing external borders, however. These are the borders between Schengen and non-Schengen states.

The following individuals are eligible for unrestricted travel in the Schengen Area:

Additional facts to keep in mind:

  • While you may not need a visa, you will need a valid passport to enter any and all Schengen countries.
  • If you reside in a non-EU country, you will be required to obtain a stamp on your passport no matter what country you are entering. If you don’t have the stamps in your passport when you try to leave the Schengen Area, you may be required to prove how long you’ve been in Europe.

III.
Who Needs a Schengen Visa?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is whether or not you need a Schengen visa in order to travel freely throughout the Schengen Area. Schengen visa requirements are primarily based on citizenship and/or residency.

Schengen Visa Required Countries

Citizens of the following countries are *currently required to hold a Schengen visa in order to cross external Schengen borders:  

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burma/Myanmar
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Cote D'ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Democratic Republic Of Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome And Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

*As of the European Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs directorate on 11/21/17.

Citizens of the above countries are permitted to travel the Schengen Area for up to 90 total days within a 180-day period if they fulfill the following entry requirements:

Check out this short-stay visa calculator.

Schengen Visa Exempt Countries

Citizens of the following countries are currently* exempt from the Schengen visa requirement:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • El Salvador
  • Georgia
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Holy See (Vatican City State)
  • Honduras
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Macedonia (FYROM)
  • Malaysia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Seychelles
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Solomon islands
  • South Korea
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Timor-Leste
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela

*As of the European Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs directorate on 11/21/17.

Other exemptions: 

  • Hong Kong: Holders of a “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” passport
  • Macao: Holders of a “Região Administrativa Especial de Macau” passport
  • UK: British overseas nationals only

Citizens of the above visa-exempt countries are permitted to travel the Schengen Area for up to 90 total days within a 180-day period if they fulfill the following entry requirements:

Citizens and residents of the Schengen Area/EU/EEA:

  • You do need a visa for up to 90 days in the Schengen Area if you are: An individual with a residence permit issued by a non-Schengen EU state.
  • You do not need a visa for up to 90 days in the Schengen Area if you are: A Schengen-country citizen, EU/EEA citizen, or individual with a residence permit issued by a Schengen country.

Diplomatic, official, or service passport holders:

Check with the embassy or consulate serving your main Schengen destination to determine whether or not you are required to hold a short-stay Schengen visa.

PRO TIP: When crossing internal borders within the Schengen Area, carry your passport and ID on you in case you’re asked to prove your identity. While you will not undergo border checks at internal borders, security checks may be carried out at ports and airports and police checks may occur on the basis of security threats or suspicion of crime.

IV.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa

When to Apply

You must submit your Schengen visa application at least 15 days prior to the start date of your trip, according to the European Commission.

However, the consulate may request additional documentation or need more time to examine your application. That’s why you should plan to apply 30-60 days before the start of your trip.

You cannot submit your application any earlier than 3 months prior to the date you intend to start your trip.

Where to Apply

You should apply for your Schengen visa in the country in which you permanently reside. To apply, schedule an application appointment at the consulate of your main Schengen destination country. You must go to the consulate whose jurisdiction covers your home address.

Example:

Let's say you are a citizen of India. You are currently living in London as a legal permanent resident of the United Kingdom. You would like to travel to Germany. You must apply for your Schengen visa at the German consulate in London.

Some consulates will accept an application if you are legally present but not legally residing in its jurisdiction. However, you must be able to justify why you cannot file your application at the consulate serving your place of residence. The consulate will then determine whether your justification is acceptable and your application should be approved.

IMPORTANT: Your country of citizenship, not your residence, will always determine whether you need a Schengen visa to travel in the Schengen Zone.

PRO TIP: To see a list of Schengen states’ consular representation within non-Schengen countries, visit the European Commission’s “Where and How to Apply” page. Click the link that says “list of consular presence and representation” to download the Excel sheet. Then open the document and click the “represent. and ESP in 3rd countries” tab at the bottom to view the list.

How to Determine Your Designated Consulate:


IF:

THEN:

You’re visiting one Schengen country You must apply at the consulate which represents the Schengen country you plan to visit.
You’re visiting multiple Schengen countries You must apply at the consulate of the Schengen country where you plan to spend the most days.
You’re spending the same amount of time in each Schengen country You must apply at the consulate serving the Schengen country you plan to enter first.
No consulate exists for your Schengen destination within your country of residence You must apply at the honorary consulate that represents it. An "honorary consulate" is a consulate authorized to issues visas on behalf of another country.

 

PRO TIP: View a list of honorary consulates authorized to collect Schengen visa applications on the European Commission’s “Where and How to Apply” page. Click the link that says “list of consular presence and representation” to download the Excel sheet. Then open the document and click the “honorary consuls” tab at the bottom to view the list. Contact the central authorities of your Schengen destination country with questions.


NOTE:
There is no general requirement that you must enter the Schengen Zone through the country that issued your visa. Your main destination may be different than your first destination. To prevent complications, however, you should stick to your itinerary as best you can.

Visit the Application Process page for a step-by-step walkthrough of the entire process!

V.
Schengen Visa Application Requirements

Schengen visa application requirements can vary slightly by issuing country. For information specific to your main Schengen destination, visit the website serving its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration or contact your designated consulate.

PRO TIP: Click here for a list of Schengen state authority websites. If you need to translate a site to your native language, follow these instructions to do so.

General Application Requirements

In the meantime, check out our step-by-step walkthrough of the application process or review this list of general Schengen visa application requirements:

Schengen Visa Photo Requirements

Before your photo is taken, make sure:

  • You’re in front of a plain background
  • You wear no head coverings except those for religious regions (your face must be visible)
  • Any glasses worn have thin frames that allow your eyes to be seen
  • You look directly at the camera with a neutral expression and closed mouth
  • You keep your eyes open

After your photo is taken, make sure it:

  • Clearly shows your eyes, with no red eye or flash reflection
  • Only includes the top of your shoulders and your head
  • Is 35-40mm wide
  • Is clear with high resolution
  • Is printed with natural color and brightness
  • Is printed on high quality paper
  • Is less than 6 months old
  1. Completed and signed visa application form (one for each person listed in your travel documents)

  2. Passport
    • must be valid for 3 months after the date you plan to leave the Schengen Area (for a multi-entry visa, must be valid for 3 months after the last day of your final visit)
    • must contain at least 2 empty pages
    • must be issued in the last 10 years
  3. Two recent, color photographs that meet ICAO requirements

  4. Fingerprints may be collected from applicants who are not already registered in Europe’s Visa Information System (VIS) or who were entered in the system over 59 months prior to the date of application

  5. Application and/or service fee payment. The visa application fee ranges from EUR 35-60 (keep proof of payment)

  6. Travel medical insurance that meets Schengen visa insurance requirements (consular office may request one-page document stating the dates and scope of coverage)

  7. Supporting documents which prove:
    • the purpose of your travel
    • that you have planned for accommodations
    • your intentions to return to your country of residence at the end of your trip
    • your means of subsistence

NOTE: Children under 18 will also need:

  • birth certificate
  • consent of parental authority (if traveling with only one parent)
  • notarized or certified parental consent (if traveling without parent or legal guardian)

Be sure to check out the Schengen Visa Application Guide infographic!

Examples of Supporting Documents

According to the Visa Code Handbook of the European Union, supporting documents are assessed in relation to your individual application and to the other documents you submit. For this reason, there is no predetermined number of documents required in order to fulfill each of the categories laid out in requirement #7 above.

However, the more evidence you present, the less likely it is that the consulate will request additional documentation – which could in turn delay the approval process. Therefore, it would be wise to gather as many examples of the following as you can.

Documents which prove (a) the purpose of your travel:

For leisure:

  • Travel itinerary
  • Reservations, tickets, or purchase confirmations for activities
  • For transit visa: visas for non-Schengen destination countries you plan to visit and tickets for onward means of transportation

For business:

  • Invitation from a Schengen-based company to attend work-related meetings, conferences, or events
  • Contracts, payment of invoices, or other documents which show work-related communications
  • Annual report or other documents which demonstrate the business activities of the company
  • Contract, proof of social security contributions, or other documents which prove your current employment status in the company
  • Tickets for any work-related seminars you plan to attend

For students:

  • Certificate of enrollment at educational institution
  • Proof of enrollment in classes

Documents which prove (b) that you have planned for accommodations:

  • Confirmed hotel or lodging reservation (for tourism, leisure, etc.)
  • Invitation letter from host (for private visit)

NOTE: Travelers staying with a host may be required to submit a copy of the host’s passport or ID and proof of residence.

Documents which prove (c) your intentions to return to your country of residence at the end of your trip:

  • Round-trip reservation or flight itinerary with dates and flight numbers (may need itinerary when applying and original air-ticket when visa is collected)
  • Pay stubs, certificate of employment, or proof of social security contribution to prove employment in your country of residence
  • Title or deed to serve as proof of real estate property in your country of residence
  • Marriage certificate or other evidence of family ties in your country of residence

Learn how to get a flight itinerary without purchasing a flight ticket.

Documents which prove (d) your means of subsistence:

  • Bank statements for the past 3 months (check with consulate to determine whether minimum amount is required)
  • Credit cards and account statements
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Pay stubs and certificate of employment
  • Proof of sponsorship or private accommodations

During the processing time the consulate may, in individual cases, ask you to submit additional information or documents or you may be contacted for an interview.”

      – Migration and Home Affairs directorate of the European Commission

Visa Application Fee

Most Schengen visa applicants are required to pay a visa fee when they submit their application. In general, application fees for all types of transit and short-stay visas are as follows:

  • Individuals 13 Years and Older: EUR 60 (about USD $70.70)
  • Children 6-12 Years Old: EUR 35 (about USD $41.24)
  • Children 5 Years and Younger: No Fee

Special Circumstances

If you are a national of a country which has concluded Visa Facilitation Agreements with the EU, the application fee is EUR 35 (USD $41.24). These countries include:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Cape Verde
  • Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Georgia
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia
  • Russia
  • Ukraine

If you are applying for a national long-stay visa, contact the issuing consulate for visa fee information. Be sure to keep proof of payment.

Application Fee Exemptions

The application fee is waived for individuals who fall into these categories:

  • Students and teachers who are visiting the Schengen Area for the purpose of studying or partaking in educational training
  • Researchers from non-Schengen countries traveling to the Schengen Area to perform scientific research
  • Representatives of non-profit organizations who are 25 years old or younger and participating in events organized by non-profits
  • Family members of EU/EEA citizens who fall under Directive 2004/38

NOTE: Individual Schengen states may offer additional visa fee waivers, so check with the consulate where you plan to apply. Also note that visa fees for denied or withdrawn applications are non-refundable.

Learn more about the application process here!

VI.
Schengen Visa Insurance Requirements

Individuals applying for a Schengen visa must show evidence of valid travel medical insurance according to Regulation 810/2009 (the Visa Code).

You can do so by providing a one-page document which specifies your medical benefit amounts and your insurance coverage period.

While you are free to choose your own travel medical insurance, your plan must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum coverage of 30,000 Euros (about USD $33,819)
  • Coverage for expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons
  • Coverage for expenses which might arise in connection with urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment
  • Coverage for expenses which might arise as a result of the individual’s death
  • Coverage for the entire period of the individual’s intended stay or transit
  • Valid in all Schengen Area countries

Schengen Visa Insurance Options

Atlas Travel insurance is a budget-friendly option that meets Schengen visa health insurance requirements. Atlas Travel offers coverage for unexpected injuries and illnesses, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and even some supplemental travel benefits (for situations like the airline losing your checked luggage).

Atlas Travel utilizes a worldwide provider network. As you travel the Schengen Area, you can find eligible doctors and hospitals in all Schengen countries.

To aid your Schengen visa application, Atlas Travel also provides access to a visa letter which can serve as proof of valid health insurance.

Atlas Travel Highlights Ideal for Schengen Travelers Include:

  • Up to $2,000,000 for unexpected injury or illness
  • Up to $1,000,000 for Emergency Medical Evacuation
  • AD&D and Repatriation benefits
  • Deductibles ranging from $0 to $2,500
  • Access to a visa letter which specifies your medical benefit amounts, insurance coverage period, and that your coverage meets Schengen visa health insurance requirements

 

See more Atlas Travel benefits.

Discover How Atlas Travel Meets Schengen Visa Insurance Requirements

SCHENGEN VISA INSURANCE REQUIREMENT

ATLAS TRAVEL BENEFIT

Minimum coverage of 30,000 Euros (about USD $33,819)

✔ Up to $2,000,000 in maximum coverage for those under age 70

✔ Up to $100,000 in maximum coverage for those age 70 to 79

Coverage for expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons

✔ Emergency Medical Evacuation to the nearest appropriate facility up to $1,000,000 lifetime maximum. Costs for air or ground transportation ticket home are also provided.

Coverage for expenses which might arise in connection with urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment

✔Hospital Room and Board

✔Local Ambulance

✔Emergency Room Co-Payment

✔Intensive Care Unit

✔Physical Therapy & Chiropractic Care

✔Terrorism

Coverage for expenses which might arise as a result of the individual’s death

✔Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)

✔Repatriation of Remains

✔Local Burial or Cremation

✔Common Carrier Accidental Death

Coverage for the entire period of the individual’s intended stay or transit

✔Coverage available up to 365 days for non-U.S. citizens or residents whose travel does not include the U.S. (Coverage may be renewed for up to 2 additional coverage periods)

✔Coverage available up to 364 days for all other travelers (Coverage not renewable)

Valid in all Schengen Area countries

✔ Meets Schengen visa insurance requirements

Get Atlas Travel

 

VII.
Types of Schengen Visas

To recap: Most individuals who travel on a Schengen visa are permitted to stay in the area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. But this duration only applies to “Type C” short-stay or travel visas. So what are the other types of Schengen visas, and under what circumstances do they apply?

3 Main Types of Short-Stay Visas:

1. Airport Transit Visa (Type A)

This visa allows you to await a connecting flight from one non-Schengen country to another in the international transit area of a Schengen-located airport. It does not allow you to leave the airport or enter Schengen territory for any reason (such as an overnight hotel stay).

According to the European Union, citizens of some countries must have an airport transit visa when traveling through an airport in any Schengen state while citizens of other countries must have an airport transit visa when traveling through airports in some Schengen states.

And still others are exempt from the airport transit visa requirement as a whole.

2. Transit Visa (Type B)

The transit visa allows you to pass through the territory of a Schengen state (or states) to get from one non-Schengen country to another via car or coach.

You may also need a transit visa for plane travel if your trip requires you to leave the airport’s international transit area to enter Schengen territory (say you’re continuing your journey via train or your next flight isn’t until morning and you plan to spend the night in a hotel).

You can acquire a transit visa for one, two, or multiple transits, as long as the time spent in the Schengen Area for each transit is no more than 5 days.

3. Short-Stay or Travel Visa (Type C)

This is the visa travelers typically have in mind when they reference a “Schengen visa.” Issued for purposes such as tourism, sporting events, cultural events, and visits with relatives, this visa allows individuals to visit one or more Schengen countries for up to 90 days in any 6-month period. You may obtain a visa for single entry, double entry, or multiple entries.

Other Short-Stay Visas:

4. Limited Territorial Validity (LTV)

The LTV visa is issued only in special cases, such as for humanitarian reasons. It can be applied as a transit or short-stay visa – its duration may vary.

5. Group Visa

This visa is issued to groups of 5 to 30 people who fulfill certain requirements (such as a trip length of 30 or fewer days). It may be applied as an airport, transit, or short-stay visa.

Airport Transit Visas

Citizens of the following countries are currently* required to hold an airport transit visa when traveling through an airport in any Schengen state:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka

*As of the European Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs directorate on 11/21/17.

However, citizens of the above countries may be exempt from the airport transit visa requirement if they:

  • Hold a valid visa issued by a Schengen state, EU or EEA member state, Canada, Japan, or the United States
  • Hold a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen state, EU or EEA member state, the Principality of Andorra, Canada, Japan, Republic of San Marino, or the United States
  • Hold a diplomatic passport
  • Are a family member of an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen
  • Are a flight crew member national of a contracting party to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation

Citizens of the following countries are currently* required to hold an airport transit visa when traveling through airports in some Schengen states:

  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Congo (Brazzaville)
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Egypt
  • Gambia
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Jordan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Togo
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Yemen
  • Palestinians

 *As of the European Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs directorate on 11/21/17.

If you are a citizen of one of the above countries, check out this chart from the European Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs website to see which Schengen states require you to hold an airport transit visa when passing through their international airports.

A NOTE ON LONG-STAY VISAS: 

You will need a long-stay visa or residence permit if you plan to visit a Schengen country for more than 90 days.

Long-stay visas are granted by each individual Schengen country. Some countries will require you to obtain a long-stay visa before you travel and a residence permit once you arrive. Other countries do not offer long-stay visas at all.

To learn whether you will need a long-stay visa, visit the EU Immigration Portal. There you can find long-stay visa information for a specific country by selecting your destination on the map – or use the search tool to input your migration profile and destination country.

Once you hit “find information,” click the “conditions” tab for eligibility requirements, the “procedures” tab for instructions on where/how to apply, or the “links” tab for links to the relevant authorities.

VIII.
Types of Schengen Visa Entry

You can apply for single, double, or multiple entries into the Schengen Area. You will find your number of permitted entries on your visa sticker.

3 Types of Entry:

1. Single Entry – A single-entry Schengen visa allows you to cross an external Schengen border to enter the Schengen Area only once in the 180-day period in which your visa is valid.

Single entry will be indicated on your visa sticker like this: “Number of Entries 1."

2. Double Entry – A double-entry Schengen visa allows you to cross an external Schengen border to enter the Schengen Area up to two times in the 180-day period in which your visa is valid.

Double entry will be indicated on your visa sticker like this: “Number of Entries 2.”

3. Multi-Entry – A multi-entry Schengen visa allows you to cross an external Schengen border to enter the Schengen Area multiple times in the period in which your visa is valid.

Multiple entries will be indicated on your visa sticker like this: “Number of Entries MULT.”

More on Multi-Entry Schengen Visas

General Requirements

According to Article 21(5) of Regulation 810/2009 (Visa Code), you may be eligible for a multi-entry Schengen visa if you prove:

  • “the need or justify the intention to travel frequently and/or regularly,”
  • “your integrity and reliability, in particular the lawful use of previous uniform visas or visas with limited territorial validity,”
  • “your economic situation in the country of origin,” and
  • “your genuine intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa for which you have applied.”

If you are deemed eligible for a multi-entry Schengen visa, you can expect your Schengen visa to be valid for a period between 6 months and 5 years. The validity period depends on the issuing state’s regulations and your qualifications.

Multi-Entry Visa Duration and Eligibility

APPLICANT STATUS

MULTI-ENTRY VISA (MEV) ELIGIBILITY

First-Time Applicant – Not Registered in Europe’s Visa Information System (VIS)

MEV may be issued if applicant meets all entry conditions and is deemed reliable by consulate.

VIS-Registered Applicant

180-day MEV may be issued if applicant meets all entry conditions.

3-year MEV may be issued if applicant has lawfully used two previously-obtained visas.

5-year MEV may be issued if applicant has lawfully used 3-year MEV and has applied for 5-year MEV at least one year before current 3-year MEV expires.

 

NOTE: Some Schengen states have more rigid or relaxed rules on multiple entries and the duration of the multi-entry visa.

History of the Schengen Area

If you’re not at all familiar with the Schengen Area (or the Schengen Zone, as it’s sometimes called), here’s what you need to know:

In 1985, five European Union (EU) countries pledged to eliminate internal border controls. Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands signed the Schengen Agreement, and the Schengen Area was born.

Five years later, these countries signed again to officially implement the agreement, and in 1995 border controls between the nations were effectively abolished.

Named after the village in Luxembourg where its borders meet those of Germany and France, the Schengen Agreement cemented the rights of Schengen-country nationals and EU citizens to travel freely within the participating area countries.

Today, 26 Schengen countries (Schengen states) make up the Schengen Area, which sees about 1.25 billion visits each year from Europeans alone.

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