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Schengen Visas

- Updated: 24/11/2009
Schengen Visas

What is the Schengen Visa Scheme?

This is a scheme which allows people wishing to visit certain countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) to travel using only one visa. At the moment 24 countries within the EEA have signed up to the Schengen Agreement. They are:

Austria, Finland, Iceland, Malta, Slovakia, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Spain, Denmark, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Estonia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Portugal, Switzerland

Please note : The UK and Ireland have NOT joined the Schengen Visa Scheme .

Who needs to apply for a Schengen Visa?

Nationals of most countries outside the EEA will probably require a visa to enter the Schengen space. However, it is wise to check this with the embassy of the country you wish to visit before making travel arrangements.

Different Types of Schengen Visa :

Airport Transit Visa: Allows you to transit through the international transit area of an airport of the Schengen member state, but not to exit this area before flying on to your next destination.

Transit Visa: Allows you to pass through the territory of one or more Schengen member states on your way to another country outside the Schengen space.

Short Stay or Travel Visa: Allows you to visit the Schengen space for up to 3 months in any 6 month period. This is the visa that mst students wanting to travel within the Schengen space will need.

How & Where to apply

If you plan to visit only one country in the Schengen space, you should apply to the embassy of that particular country. However, If you will be visiting several countries in the Schengen space, you should apply to the embassy of the country you plan to spend most time in as this will be seen as your main destination.

If you plan to visit several countries within the Schengen space without having a main destination, then you should apply to the embassy or consulate of the country you will visit first.

Each of the Schengen member states have slightly different application procedures, they may also ask for a variety of documents and have different visa fees. More information is available from the relevant embassy web sites.

What documents will you need to provide?

As mentioned above, each member state may ask for a variety of documents. However, the following list includes the main documents you are likely to need to provide:

- A completed application form

- Passport photographs

- Original passport or travel document

- Proof of purpose of visit e.g. invitation letter from your host or hotel reservation

- Evidence of sufficient funds to complete your trip

- Evidence of student status

- Medical insurance to cover the duration of your trip

Please note

Most Schengen states require that you have a number of months remaining on your visa beyond the end of your trip. The length of time required varies, but can be as long as 6 months. Visa fees can usually be paid in cash or by postal order. Cheques or credit cards are not usually accepted. The fee will not be refunded even if your application is unsuccessful.

How long will the application take?

You should plan any trips to the Schengen states well in advance. Most embassies say that applications should take approximately 3 weeks, but for certain nationals and depending on demand it could take up to 8 weeks. Most embassies do not issue Schengen visas on the same day.

Comment on this Article

Ronica : Although the UK is in the EU it is classed as a "Non-EU Schengen State" - this basically means that the Eu still takes responsibility for it's own borders etc... and you should therefore apply for a UK Visitors Visa AND a Schengen visa to be issues by your Main destination in the EU other than the UK. This will also then cover you for visiting other Schengen area countries.
Tumbit - Admin - Fri 21st Feb 2014
Hi, I am residence of HK and planning to visit my family in UK. We wish to travel the nearby countries of UK however we are holding indian passport. In this case, what should i do? I was actually thinking to get one whole visa whick includes UK and all EE countires... but.. thats not possible. Please advice
Ronica K - Fri 21st Feb 2014
Dara, it depends on your wife's nationality and where "here" is...
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 26th Dec 2011
Hi, I'm living in UK - I'm a British Citizen and my wife has indefnate but I need to drive all the way from here to turky do I need to get a shengen visa for may wife ? ... Thanks
Dara - Fri 23rd Dec 2011
Hi! I am a Filipino,a student here in UK right now with a dependant(my husband) under Tier-4 visa of UK which will gonna expire this coming September 2011. Is it possible for us to apply a tourist visa for Spain considering the validity of our Tier-4 visa? Because we have a host family/close family friend to sponsor us in going to Spain as a tourists. Anyone, who got an idea or answer regarding this query? Thank you! Wingky
Wingky - Thu 31st Mar 2011

Esther - the Schengen visa will only allow your daughter to stay in Spain for 90 days in any 180 day period. If she intends to remain here she must apply for Residency. As a non-EU citizen she should speak to the Spanish Embassy in her own country to do this - AND this should be done before she comes to Spain to visit you.

Please click here if you wish to Apply for Residential status as a Non - EU Citizen.

Tumbit - Admin - Sat 15th Jan 2011
Thanks very much ! In case we should want the children to remain with us, what will be the content of the invitation letter, should it be one containing both or each letter for each one?. please i need your adevice in order to aviod mistakes. Kind reguard
Esther - Fri 14th Jan 2011

Ruan, there are 2 seperate issues here :

- Firstly, as an SA Citizen coming to Spain you will need to apply for a Visa from the closest Spanish Embassy to you in SA, which will allow you to stay in Spain for a period of no more than 90 days.

- Secondly, IF your intention is to look for work while you are here in Spain you should apply for a 'Visado de Residencia' - and then apply for a 'Tarjeta de Residencia' from a Police Station witha Foreigners dept here in Spain, within 30 days of your arrival.

- If you make sure that the letter of invitation from your host explains that your living costs will be covered by them it should allow for a smaller amount to be in your bank account.

Tumbit - Admin - Thu 13th Jan 2011
Hi - I am a South African citizen, currently in SA & I am thinking of going over to Palma later this year. What visa will I need - a Schengen? - If I go over on a tourist visa , and find work over there can I apply for a working permit whilst being there or do I have to come back to my home country ?? - Also, If I want to get medical insurance for my trip how do I go about that ? I have very close family friends Palma - If i can prove that I will be staying with them and that they will be supplying my food ect... does that mean I still have to have alot of money in my bank account? how much money do I need in my account to proof I have sufficient funds to complete my trip? I will realy apreciate it If someone could answer these q's thank you so much !!! Ruan
Ruan Swart - Thu 13th Jan 2011
Esther, the Spanish Embassy in Nigeria is located at : 1, bamidele crescent, ori-okuta abuja, Abuja. If you or your daughter contact them they will be able to assist you with this matter.
Tumbit - Admin - Fri 17th Dec 2010
My Daughter is in Nigeria and she can stay with us just for 3 mouths only, becuase she has to go back to school. How should I apply ?
Esther Idemudia Visa - Fri 17th Dec 2010
I am a student in uk.I came here 5 months ago and now i want to visit Spain ,my visa is valid to September how can i get visa,what documents are required,can i go there?
Bakar - Fri 8th Oct 2010
Well, in case you traveled many times over European countries, or in and out, and can proove that. The Spanish consulate will not give any problem to issue the Visa for you. You can even ask for a transit visa, if you dont want to stay long in Spain this time. They might ask for a complete ticket back to your country.(with Stop up to one month in Spain. DONT mention your business intentions. therefore you would need a differen visa, which takes even MORE formalities and takes more time to get it.
Francis - Wed 30th Jun 2010
I have a problem now i am a nigeria citizens and i travel a lot to EU countries due to my business because i own a business in my country i stay in my country i only supply goods product to customers in EU. But now i am in Argentina which i came from Spain my plans was to pick up my son who is argentine citizens and i am married to argentina man but i do not have the Residency or Dni. Now i want to go back to spain because i have my goods for the shop there and my cloths but now they can not give me visa because i do not have the residency here in argentina,how are my sure i will have the visa if i present my residency to the consul? Do i need to return back to my country? How long do i need to wait for the visa? hope this is safe i am worried so please could you tell what to do
Chichi - Tue 29th Jun 2010
Migle, I would suggest that you e mailed the Lithuanian Embassy to Egypt for specific advice - their e mail address is -
Tumbit - Admin - Fri 18th Jun 2010
Hello, what documents need egyptian citizen,traveling to Lithuania? What is the cost of insurance health? thk in advance
Migle - Fri 18th Jun 2010
There are no real borders anymore between most of the Western and Northern European countries. (The last country included was Switzerland) The problem is, some countries, like Germany make this Visa a problematic and bureaucratic process that can take months to be processed - they often just refuse, without stating a reason (the forms are so complicated even agents don't understand parts of it, and make mistakes in filling them out) The main problem is: A refusal by ONE country now blocks a visa aplication for ALL countries in the schengen zone. The former normal Tourist-Visa does not exist anymore for some of those countries. Many Consular people of several countries have been exploiting this situation and charging an illegal fee to process those visas. If an applicant refuses to pay a refusal of the visa follows. My niece was asked for 25'000 US Dollars, and when she refused to pay that she was denied the visa. What a corruption !
Francis - Wed 5th May 2010