Schengen basically means the EU passport-free zone that extends across most of the European countries. Currently, It’s the largest free travel area in the globe.
Thus, a Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that makes it possible for a person to travel freely to any member country of the Schengen Area, and stay up to 90 days for tourism or business purpose.
The Schengen visa is a commonly used visa for traveling across Europe. It allows its visa holders to travel freely, and exit the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen countries. You will not find border controls within the Schengen Zone.
However, if you intend to study, work, or live in any of the Schengen countries for more than 90 days, then you are expected to apply for a residence visa of that European country and not a Schengen Visa.
As of 2018, more than 14.2 million people used their Schengen visa to travel around Europe.
Who Requires a Visa to Enter Europe?
All citizens of third countries, whose countries have not yet achieved a visa-liberalization agreement with the Schengen member states, are expected to obtain a visa prior to their arrival in Europe.
What are Travel Documents and Entry Requirements for non-EU Nationals?
You will be expected to present a number of documents at the Schengen port of entry,for you to be allowed entry,regardless if you are a non-EU/Schengen country national, or visa-exempt or not.
The documents you require to provide when entering the Schengen Area are shown below:
- Valid Passport. This should be issued within the previous 10 years and must be valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to exit the EU.
- Schengen Visa. If you hail from one of the third world countries in need of a visa.
It is possible that EU/Schengen border officials may request for other information and documents to show you have sufficient funds, proof of accommodation, how long you hope to stay, round-trip airline ticket, purpose of your entry, travel insurance, invitation letter, etc.
Do well to ensure that the border officer gives you an entry stamp in your passport the moment you enter the Schengen area. Without a stamp, you may be fined or detained.
Which Countries issue Schengen Visas?
The Schengen zone includes the 26 countries that have signed the Schengen agreement, which allows citizens of member countries to travel within the zone freely, without passing through passport and border control.
Each member country of the Schengen zone can issue Schengen visas.
You’ll find an additional 19 other countries that are not member countries of the Schengen Zone, yet they allow foreign citizens of other non-Schengen countries to enter and stay in their countries, only by showing a valid multiple-entry Schengen Visa. You will not need a national visa issued from these other countries to either enter, transit or stay in their countries temporarily.
How Can I Apply for a Visa to Enter Europe?
Inorder to apply for a Schengen Visa to travel to Europe, you will have to first determine whether you need one or not based on the purpose of your travel and nationality. If you do, then you will be required to put together your travel plan, how many days you intend to be in the region, the countries you plan to visit (if more than one), the country where you are will enter, and the country where you’ll leave.
Once you have sorted this out, then you have to review all the Europe visa application requirements you need to fulfill and begin the process of setting up a visa appointment at one of the Schengen consulates in your home country.
How Much Does a European Visa Cost?
Note that the cost of a Schengen visa fee is €60 per adult. However, depending on the age of the applicant, nationality and some other factors, there are categories that will have to pay a lower fee or no fee at all.
Do well to go through the list of Schengen Visa fees, which concisely indicates the categories that benefit from the reduced visa costs or that are exempt from paying these fees.
What is a Proof of Accommodation for Visa application?
You will be required to submit a confirmed document that states where you will be accommodated for your entire trip in the Schengen Area.