One of the best ways to experience the magic of Europe is to take advantage of the Schengen Visa Agreement. As a result of this agreement, 26 European countries allow travelers to move freely within the designated Schengen Area without needing a visa to enter each individual Schengen country.
Who Needs a Schengen Visa?
If you are a citizen of a Schengen country, the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, or a visa-exempt country, then you do not need a Schengen visa in order to travel throughout this zone.
However, citizens of certain countries are required to obtain a Schengen visa before entering the Schengen Area—see that list of countries here.
How Does the Schengen Visa Work?
With the most common type of Schengen visa, you will be allowed to travel the Schengen Area for tourist or business purposes for 90 or fewer days within a six-month period.
If you get a multiple-entry Schengen visa, you will be allowed to exit and re-enter the Schengen Area an unlimited number of times within a 180-day period. However, the total number of days you spend in the designated area cannot exceed 90 days.
Additional things to keep in mind:
- You will need a valid passport to enter any and all Schengen countries. The passport must be good for an additional 3 months after your stay is expected to end. For example, if you plan to travel the Schengen Area for one month, your passport must be valid for at least four months from your travel start date.
- If you are a non-EU traveler, you will be required to obtain a stamp on your passport no matter what country you are entering. If you do not have the stamp in your passport when you try to leave the Schengen Area, you may be questioned and required to prove how long you have been in Europe.
- If you are not traveling for business or tourism, you will need to apply for the visa appropriate to the nature of your trip. If you are unsure whether you qualify for a Schengen visa, contact the embassy or consulate of the Schengen country you will be entering.
How Do I Apply for a Schengen Visa?
To apply for your Schengen visa, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Map Out Your Travel Plans. This will help you determine which type of Schengen visa to apply for and which Schengen Area country will be your (first) destination.
- Complete and Submit Your Schengen Visa Application. You will submit your application to the nearest embassy or consulate of the first (or only) Schengen Area country you’ll be visiting.
- Purchase Travel Medical Insurance for Your Schengen Visa. For your visa application to be processed and approved, you will need to be able to prove that you have Schengen visa insurance to cover you in the event of an unexpected injury or illness abroad. If you purchase an Atlas Travel policy through WorldTrips, you can access a visa letter (through the Client Zone or by request) which specifies that your coverage meets Schengen visa requirements. It will also specify your medical benefit amounts and your insurance coverage period.
- Provide the Embassy with Documentation That Proves You Meet All Schengen Visa Requirements. This includes your valid passport (that will remain in effect for at least 3 months after your trip’s end date) as well as proof of Schengen visa insurance. You will also need to show proof of financial support for your trip.
What Are My Schengen Visa Insurance Options?
If you are applying for a Schengen visa, you will be required to obtain travel medical insurance that meets all Schengen visa insurance requirements. If you’re traveling to the Schengen Area from a visa-exempt country, it’s still recommended that you purchase a travel medical policy, as your domestic health plan may not cover you abroad.
For Schengen Area travelers, WorldTrips offers Atlas Travel medical insurance. Atlas Travel can provide you with flexible health coverage for unexpected injury or illness incurred as you travel outside of your home country. Atlas Travel meets Schengen visa insurance requirements and provides policyholders with a visa letter to serve as proof of insurance.
In addition to coverage for all eligible medical expenses, a worldwide provider network, and travel assistance services, Atlas Travel offers supplemental travel benefits such as Trip Interruption, Lost Checked Luggage, and Travel Delay.
For more Atlas Travel benefits, check out the Atlas Travel page. Or, see the chart below to learn how Atlas Travel meets Schengen visa requirements.
How Atlas Travel Meets Schengen Visa Insurance Requirements
Schengen Visa Insurance Requirement
Atlas Travel Benefit
Coverage for expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons
✔ Emergency Medical Evacuation to the nearest appropriate facility up to a $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
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 – see the Atlas Travel FAQ for details)
✔ Coverage available up to 364 days for all other travelers (Coverage not renewable)
Minimum coverage of 30,000 Euros (about USD $33,819)
✔ Up to $2,000,000 in maximum coverage for those under age 65
✔ Up to $100,000 in maximum coverage for those age 65 to 79
Valid in all Schengen Area countries
✔ Meets Schengen visa insurance requirements
WorldTrips international travel medical insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd's. WorldTrips is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. WorldTrips has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency, Ltd.