If you are wishing to travel to Europe, you have probably come across the word “Schengen” at a point during your inquiry. But what is the Schengen zone, exactly? When is a Schengen visa needed to visit Europe and how do you apply for a Schengen visa?
Schengen refers to the European Union passport-exempt area that covers most of the European states. It is the largest free travel zone on earth.
A Schengen visa, on the other hand, is a short-stay visa that permits a passenger to travel to any members of the Schengen zone, per stays up to ninety days for business or tourism purposes. The Schengen visa permits its holder to travel freely within the Schengen area from any of the Schengen member states. Within the European Schengen area, there is no border check.
The Schengen Visa is given to any foreign national whose citizenship requires a Schengen Visa. This helps the passport holder to travel freely into any of the 25 member states without having a separate visa for each state. This only applies to people who are looking to travel to one or more Schengen states either as a student, tourist or a visitor on business, for a duration no longer than 3 months.
Although, if you are wishing to work, study, or reside in one of the states for more than ninety days, then you should apply for a national visa of that European state and not a Schengen visa.
Schengen visa application
When to Apply:
You must present your Schengen visa application at least fifteen days before the start date of your journey, following the European Union. However, the ministry may demand further documentation to evaluate your application. That is why you must plan to apply 30-60 days before the start of your journey.
You cannot present your application earlier than three months before the date you plan to start your journey.
Where to Apply:
You must apply for your Schengen visa in the State in which you live. Schedule an appointment to apply at the ministry of your main Schengen destination state. You must go to the ministry whose administration covers your home address. Some ministries will accept a Schengen visa application if you are legitimately present.
Although, can explain why you ain”t available to submit your Schengen visa application at the ministry serving your place of residence. The ministry will then decide whether your reason is acceptable and your application should be accepted.
Schengen Visa Application Fee
The majority of Schengen visa candidates are required to pay a visa fee when they present their application form. In general, Schengen application fees for all types of travel and short duration visas are as follows:
- People 13 Years and Older: 60 euro
- Children 6-12 Years Old: 35 euro
- Children 5 Years and Younger: No Fee
Types of Schengen Visas
There are three major types of Schengen visas. They are:
Airport Transit Visa (Type A)
This visa permits you to wait for a connecting flight from one non-Schengen state to another in the international travel zone of a Schengen-located airport. It does not permit you to leave the airport or travel to the Schengen zone for any reason.
Transit Visa (Type B)
The travel visa allows you to pass through the territory of a Schengen country (or countries) to get from one non-Schengen state to another through a car or train.
Short-Stay or Travel Visa (Type C)
This is the visa visitors usually have in mind when they hint at a Schengen visa. Authorized for purposes such as sporting events, tourism, and cultural events, this visa allows persons to travel to one or more Schengen states for up to ninety days in any 6-month duration. You may collect a visa for single entry, double-entry, or multiple entries.
ETIAS versus Schengen Visa
Citizens of the 60 countries who do not require a visa visit Europe will need a permit to visit when ETIAS is applied in 2021. That permit will either be an ETIAS or a Schengen Visa.
Put simply, travelers to Schengen who have ETIAS do not need a Schengen Visa. Those who are ineligible for, or do not have, ETIAS must have a Schengen Visa.