Were you looking for information about your trip, have you found something about the Schengen Area, a visa and you don’t know what it is? Here we want to clarify what is the Schengen visa, which countries require it, how should you request it, how much does it cost and everything you should know about this document.
So we advise you to read this information before starting your trip.
What is the Schengen Visa, how to know if you need it for your trip and what to do to obtain it
We will try to resolve these doubts in the clearest way possible 😉
What is the Schengen visa?
The first thing you should know is that the Schengen Agreement is an international treaty approved in 1995, in which most European countries abolished border controls.
That is, a common space called Schengen area or Schengen territory, which is intended to facilitate the free movement of people, whether you have entered regularly through an external border, or if you already reside in one of the countries that apply the agreement.
Therefore, if you come from a country that is not included in this space, it is most likely that you will have to acquire the Schengen Visa to enter, but once you have it, it will be valid for all the countries included.
What are the countries of the Schengen Area?
The Schengen Area covers the Member States of the European Union, except some of them (United Kingdom, Ireland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia and Romania). And on the other hand, it includes some third countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
Therefore, in total the countries that make up the Schengen Area There are 26: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland.
Therefore, if you travel between these countries and come from one of them, they will only require your ID or passport. But if, on the contrary, your nationality is from another country other than these, you will have to apply for the Schengen visa.
In this sense, the Schengen visa is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting visas to have, since it allows the traveler the possibility of accessing 26 countries.
However, there are exceptions, since the Schengen Area has established agreements so that some countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Peru or Venezuela do not have to apply for a visa.
How to apply for the Schengen visa? All the steps.
Below we will see the steps to apply for the Schengen visa, take note!
- The first thing you have to do is download the Schengen visa application form. You can find it in this link. You should try not to leave any columns blank. If there are columns that do not correspond to you, indicate as answer «NA».
- Then make an appointment at the embassy / consulate of the country you are going to travel to, or at least where you will spend most of your stay. Here they will conduct a short interview about your trip, with personal questions about your whereabouts, the planned trip … Make sure you answer honestly! In the event that you are going to visit several Schengen countries without having a main destination, apply for a visa to the first country you will visit. If the embassy you need is not located in your country of residence, go to the embassy of the country that represents your interests. (For example, in Ecuador there is no embassy of Greece, but that of Spain is the representative of Greece here).
- To this appointment you must bring both your completed form and the documents that we will mention in the following points. Starting February 2020, forms can be filled out and submitted electronically.
- Prepare your passport. This must have sufficient free pages, a minimum of 6 months old and be valid for at least 90 days after the departure date and 6 months valid after your return.
- Prepare a passport photograph of each passenger. This must be current, have the appropriate brightness and contrast, and you must show yourself with your face in full and looking at the camera.
- Make a copy of the reservation of a round trip flight, as they will want to confirm that you intend to return to your country. The ideal is not to risk buying the flight before having the visa, but to make a reservation that has the option of cancellation.
- Get proof of your travel motive: if it is for business, tourism, studies, visits to family and friends, medical causes or any other activity.
- You must also demonstrate that you have the financial means to support yourself during your stay in the Schengen Area (with a labor certificate, payroll, bank certificate, income statement, NIF …).
- Book travel insurance. This is mandatory to obtain the Schengen visa and must meet specific conditions: minimum coverage of at least € 30,000, cover all member states of the Schengen Area and cover any expenses that may arise in relation to repatriation for medical reasons, the care of urgent health and hospital emergency treatment or death. One of them is the Standard Insurance of Iati Seguros, with sufficient medical assistance to obtain an international visa. Keep in mind that you must hire it before starting the trip. You will need it, for example, in the case of requiring the Schengen visa from Ecuador, Cuba …
- Sometimes, the embassy may also request additional documents depending on your case. For example, in the event that a family member or relative is waiting for you within the Schengen Area, they can request a formal invitation from the Schengen Area, their address, copy of the passport, residence permit or even a formal document that proves that they can cover your expenses. Travel. They may also ask for a medical history if you have a pre-existing condition.
- Another requirement to keep in mind is the language in which you are asked to attach the documentation, depending on the country you are traveling to. Find out if you need a certified translator.
- And finally, right there you must make the payment of the Schengen visa fees and collect your receipt.
What are the requirements to apply for the Schengen visa?
So how do you guarantee that your visa will be accepted?
Once you have gone to the corresponding embassy, carrying all the documentation that we have previously discussed and having honestly and completely filled out the application form, you will have to wait for an answer.
You can apply for the Schengen visa from 90 days to 15 calendar days before the date of your departure. Please note that it can take several weeks to process the visa application.
On the other hand, in addition to the Schengen visa, some countries also require a transit visa for some airports. This allows you to stop and stay in the international zone of the airport, whether or not you are going to enter the countries of the territory.
Some of these countries that also need to apply for this Schengen airport transit visa are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia or Sri Lanka.
How much does the Schengen visa cost?
As we mentioned, these expenses are paid at the same embassy / consulate where it is requested and the bad news is that if you are denied, you will not have any refund.
And what is the cost of the Schengen visa? The expenses of the Schengen visa They vary depending on the type of visa and the age of the applicant:
- Airport transit visa: € 80 (if for example you are stopping in one of the countries of the Schengen Area but you are not going to reside there) It is the Schengen type A visa and you can see more information about this here.
- Short stay Schengen visa: € 80 (if you are going to stay less than 90 days in any country in the Schengen territory) It is the Schengen type C visa.
- Long-stay visa: € 90 (if you are going to stay more than 90 days in any country in the Schengen territory). It is the Schengen type D visa. For this type you will be asked for specific documents.
- Children between 6 and 12 years old: € 40.
- Citizens of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia: € 35.
- Children under 6 years: free of charge.
- Students, students, postgraduates and accompanying teachers who travel for the purpose of study or educational training: free of charge.
- Researchers from third world countries traveling for scientific research purposes: free of charge.
- Representatives of non-profit organizations under the age of 25 who participate in seminars, conferences, sports, cultural or educational events organized by non-profit organizations: free of charge.
How long does the Schengen visa last?
Obtaining the Schengen visa has the advantage of being able to travel to any country in the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days (3 months) in a period of 180 (6 months).
If you run out of this time, you must leave the Schengen Area, but you can re-enter it 3 months later.
In the event that you want to enter and exit the Schengen Area more than once during the validity of your visa, you must apply for a multiple-entry Schengen visa.
We hope we have clearly resolved all your doubts about what is the Schengen visa, how much does it cost, how to request it, where to request it and what requirements are requested.
Keep in mind that if your travel destination requires it, you will be asked for this visa when you go through customs at the airport, where you will see the indications for the boarding gates that direct flights to Schengen countries.
Time to pack your travel bag and pack!
Do you have any other questions or do you want to leave us your experience or any suggestion or advice? Do not hesitate to leave us a comment below 😉