In the wake of Brexit, it can be difficult to know which visa you need to apply for in order to travel for business or leisure. Well, the good news is that if you’re looking to spend a little time in the Schengen area, there’s a simple tourist visa you can use to do that.
If you haven’t heard of it, the Schengen area is an area that covers 26 European countries, including both EU and Non-EU states. The Schengen visa allows you to travel freely through those 26 countries without needing to apply for individual visas, which makes a long and winding tour a much simpler prospect.
If you find you need a Schengen visa, then the first step in applying would be to submit your application to the Consulate or Embassy of the country you’re visiting. While the Schengen Visa does offer flexibility in the places you can visit with it, you should submit your application through the Embassy of the country you’re visiting first, or plan to spend the most time visiting.
Although the minimum time in which to make your application is 15 days before you intend to start your journey, there is no guarantee that your visa will be accepted in time. It is possible that if you are required to submit more information to the embassy a decision could take as much as 60 days. The maximum time you can submit an application is 3 months before you intend to travel, as such, it’s recommended that you submit your application as early as possible to ensure that you receive a decision in time. Part of the application process will involve an interview at the Embassy or Consulate, so you’ll need to factor in the time it will take you to attend
Dependent on your needs, there are several different types of Schengen Visa available. A single entry visa will allow you to enter a Schengen country once, while the visa remains valid. If you’re planning entry to multiple countries within the Schengen zone and you have a single entry visa, you’ll need to plan your route so that you don’t enter the same country twice. If this is unavoidable, then you should consider applying for either a double entry visa, which will allow you to enter each country twice or multiple entry visas. The multiple entry option allows the most flexibility as they let you enter a Schengen zone country as many times as you need to while the visa is valid. These visas are available for 1, 3 or 5-year periods and allow you to stay within a country for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
If you’re travelling a route that means changing flights and therefore spending time in the airports of Schengen countries, then depending on where you’re flying from there could be a visa for that too. If you’re travelling from one of the following countries then you’ll need to apply for an Airport Transit visa.
- The Democratic Republic of Congo
- Sri Lanka
To apply for these visas you’ll need a valid passport with at least two blank pages, and most importantly, it must be valid for 3 months after you plan to depart from the Schengen zone. You will also need to secure travel insurance of at least €30,000 which covers the period you will be travelling.
So to recap, there are multiple types of Schengen zone visa available to travellers and which one you use will depend on where and how long you plan to travel. You’ll need to leave plenty of time to ensure that your application can be processed and there are several documents you’ll need in order to complete the application process. Applying for any visa can be a complex problem, and it can be useful to seek the advice of a specialist immigration lawyer to make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible.