What is a Schengen visa?
A Schengen visa is an authorization to enter one of the Schengen Agreement member states, which allows a short-term stay or temporary visit for a maximum of 90 days in any period of 180 days. A visa obtained in one of the Schengen countries allows you to travel freely throughout the Schengen area, but it must be requested from the consulate of the main host country. If you plan to visit several countries, none of which is the main purpose of your trip (i.e. the length of stay in each country is the same), you should apply for a visa at the consulate of the country you plan to initially enter.
When you are granted a visa, the length of your stay in the Schengen area depends on the type of visa issued by the particular embassy/consulate of any country party to the Schengen agreement. Depending on the purpose of travel and other relevant circumstances, there are different restrictions applicable to each particular visa. Nevertheless, the most common type of visa issued to travelers allows a maximum stay of 90 days in the Schengen area in each six-month period starting from the date of entry.
What is the difference between a Schengen visa and a regular visa?
The national visa differs from the Schengen visa in appearance in that it does not say "Schengen countries" in the territory of validity, but only one country (the one that issued the visa).
What is the Schengen zone?
The issuance of a visa requires the holder to leave the Schengen area before the expiry of the visa. In addition, the applicant must have sufficient financial means to cover the costs associated with the stay in the Schengen area, as well as provide relevant documents confirming the purpose of the trip. A Schengen visa can also be issued upon invitation from the host country.
Nowadays, there are countries whose citizens also require a transit visa to transfer to an airplane at a Schengen airport. Below is a list of countries whose citizens require a Schengen transit visa:
However, there are exceptions for certain persons regarding the need to obtain a transit visa. In the following cases, nationals of the above-mentioned countries are not required to obtain an airport transit visa:
- If the person has a residence permit in a Schengen Agreement Member State and a valid Schengen visa for a short or long term stay.
- If the person has a residence permit in countries such as Andorra, Canada, Japan, San Marino or the United States.
- If the person has a valid Schengen visa or a visa to enter one of the EFTA countries, as well as Canada, Japan or the USA, even if you have already returned from these countries.
- If the person is a close relative of an EU citizen.
- If the person has a diplomatic passport.
Learn more about country visas
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