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What is the Schengen Visa?

The Schengen visa is a certification to freely enter and enjoy the Schengen area. The Schengen zone consists of 27 European countries. By acquiring this short-stay certification, you can travel for a maximum of 90 days. Besides, it has to be within 180 days, that is, six months. 

This visa can only be requested for tourist or business purposes. Now, if you want a longer stay in a Schengen country, you must apply for a national visa or residency permit.

A historical fact is that the Schengen visa is the result of an agreement to eliminate borders between some countries. Specifically, the member countries of the European area. This pact has been present since 1985 in the city of Schengen, Luxembourg. This treaty resolves to facilitate the circulation of goods, services, and people in the countries of the European Union. Consequently, the countries reinforce police and judicial cooperation between the states involved.

What is a Schengen Visa?

A Schengen visa is a European permit of a short length. This way, the implicated countries will attract tourism during the Schengen visa validity. This category of visa is dispensed by one of the Schengen States for a length of 90 to 180 days.

The Schengen space is complete with 27 European territories. Therefore, if you are not a national citizen of these lands, you will inevitably have to request a Schengen visa. However, you may present numerous documents and encounter tedious procedures in this process.

Note that, some countries from the Schengen area may have a visa facilitation treaty with the EU independently of the Schengen visa agreement.

Which countries are part of the Schengen territory?

When making your Schengen visa application it is recommended to explore which countries are feasible in your request. This is the list of the 27 countries belonging to the Schengen Visa agreement:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Croatia
  4. Czech Republic
  5. Denmark
  6. Estonia
  7. Finland
  8. France
  9. Germany
  10. Greece
  11. Hungary
  12. Iceland
  13. Italy
  14. Latvia
  15. Liechtenstein
  16. Lithuania
  17. Luxembourg
  18. Malta
  19. Netherlands
  20. Norway
  21. Poland
  22. Portugal
  23. Slovakia
  24. Slovenia
  25. Spain
  26. Sweden
  27. Switzerland

Also, there is a list of non-Schengen visa countries that consent you to enter within the possession of a valid Schengen visa:

  1. Albania
  2. Antigua and Barbuda
  3. Belarus
  4. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  5. Bulgaria
  6. Colombia
  7. Cyprus
  8. Georgia
  9. Gibraltar
  10. Kosovo
  11. North Macedonia
  12. Montenegro
  13. Romania
  14. Sao Tome and Principe
  15. Serbia
  16. Turkey

How long does the Schengen visa take?

The Schengen visa processing time is regularly less than 15 days working days. However, this estimation may vary in certain cases. In some complicated circumstances, it may take up to 30 days for the consulate to process your visa.

Rarely, the process of your Schengen visa can be extended up to 60 days. Typically, this occurs when asked to submit plentiful supporting documents, since detailed verification happens manually by a governmental functionary.

Another example of an extended processing time happens in the case of multiple visas, group visas, or family visa applications. Therefore, multiplying the number of manual requests and steps required by competent authorities. 

For several reasons, the Schengen visa applications can be delayed. Therefore it is essential to follow up on your application status in case of any latest modification regarding the eligibility of your application.

How much does it cost the Schengen Visa?

The price of a Schengen visa is standard among countries. Previously, the cost was €60, but has recently increased to €80. The justification for the price increase is that the member countries can better cover the cost of applications. There is an agreement between member countries to update the price every three years.

Children between the ages of 6 to 12 benefit from a different price for the Schengen visa. Previously, the cost was 35 euros and 40 euros. The cost of the Schengen Visa application for children below 6 years old will be completely free.

It is another exception for young professionals who participate in conferences, sporting or cultural events, and take part in a trip on behalf of a nonprofit organization. In all these previous circumstances, the application for the Schengen Visa is also free.

The last exception is for Russian nationals, who will also pay only 40 euros to go through the Schengen visa application.

Remember that when a Schengen Visa gets rejected, there will be no reimbursement of the quantity already paid on behalf of the competent institutions without exception of any condition.

How long is the Schengen visa valid?

The Schengen visa is valid for short journeys only, meaning a validity of 90 days within 180 days. A strict ruling to keep in mind is that your stay in Europe cannot be extended beyond the Schengen visa validity.

Multiple entry visas are indeed valid for a much lengthier time. Generally, the Schengen multiple-entry visa validity can widely vary from six months to five years, with a maximum stay of 90 days on the same territory.

You can apply for a short-term or type C Schengen visa for two entry types. Also, the Schengen visa validity may depend on different criteria or factors:

  • Single entry visa: This visa does present the number 1 on the label. It authorizes the holder to enter and move freely within the area, only once and for a specific time. After leaving the area, the Schengen visa validity will expire and it is not possible to re-enter the territory with this visa.
  • Double entry visa: This second type of visa will display the number 2 on the Schengen visa validity label. With this visa, the beneficiary can enter the Schengen area twice as long as the visa allows.

What if I overstay in a Schengen Country?

If you overstay your Schengen visa you may face serious legal consequences. However, these penalties change depending on the country and how long you overstay. Examples of penalizations you may get are:

  • Fines.
  • Prohibition of entry to countries in the Schengen area.
  • A legal action that leads to the deportation or expulsion of the offender.
  • Negative repercussions on upcoming visa applications or any immigration records.

Alternatively, you can apply for a Schengen Visa extension but only under extraordinary circumstances. Therefore, you must have a very hardy reason for this request, such as

  • Force Majeure.
  • Humanitarian reasons
  • Valid personal reasons

Additionally, you must show proof that you really cannot leave the country before your visa expires. You must request the visa extension before it expires and pay the corresponding Schengen procedure fee.

How can I renew a Schengen visa?

If you are currently in a country of the Schengen area, with a Schengen Visa or a Work or Study permit, it is possible to proceed with a residence permit application. The difference between these two permits and the Schengen visas is that the second option allows you to stay for a short time.

The most common reasons for approving a residence permit are receiving a job offer, being enrolled in a study, and having a family reunion. In any case, to renew your visa everything will depend on the current legal status.

In principle, it is important to know that the Schengen visa is not renewed. If you want to stay longer in the area in question you have to start applying for another type of visa.

  • Self-employed visa
  • Work permits
  • Permanent residence card
  • Residence permits
  • Residence permits for family members

If you have one of their visas you should know that renewal must be wished at least two months before the cessation of your current visa.


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