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Get your Schengen Visa for the EU today!

Planning to check off Europe from your bucket list? This is your chance! This blog explains all you need to know about the Schengen Visa.

The Schengen Visa allows you to travel freely between Schengen member countries. That’s like having 27 visas in one! Rely on our services for professional guidance and a straightforward application.

This ultimate Schengen Visa guide will explain everything, including eligible countries, the application process, and how to prepare for the visa appointment. Let’s explore Europe and all it has to offer!

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What is the EU Schengen Visa?

The Schengen Visa is a short-stay visa that allows holders to enter any of the 27 countries in the Schengen Zone. It's the most popular visa for visiting Europe.

Check below the map indicating the 27 Schengen member states:

Some Schengen countries are not part of the European Union but are part of the Schengen Area. These countries are Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

Which Schengen Visa should you choose for your travel plans?

When getting a Schengen Visa, the following factors will decide which one to apply for:

  • The country where you’ll enter the Schengen Zone,

  • Or the country where you’ll spend most of your time during your European trip.

We offer a quick and easy process for the short-stay Schengen Visa. Count on our expert guidance to get any of the following Schengen Visas:

Other Schengen Visa types

While you can apply for a tourist visa online with us, there are other types of Schengen Visas available. Let’s take a quick look at each visa and their travel purposes:

  • Type A: This is the airport transit visa. It allows foreign travelers to make connecting flights in a Schengen country if applicable to their nationality. You can not leave the airport with this type of visa.

  • Type D: This is a long-stay visa for foreign nationals looking to reside long-term in any Schengen country and is mainly for students, workers, and non-tourism purposes.

What can and can’t I do with a Schengen Visa?

There are certain conditions for the Schengen Visa. The Schengen Visa is perfect if you visit one or more European countries for the following reasons:

  • Business purposes.

  • Visiting friends and family.

  • Tourism and holidays.

  • Cultural and sports events.

  • Airport transit and transit for seafarers.

  • Official visits.

  • Medical reasons.

  • Short-term study and research purposes.

You usually cannot:

  • Work or enter to find work in the EU or Schengen Area.

  • Establish a business.

  • Stay longer than the maximum duration as stated on your visa.

Who must apply for the EU Schengen Visa?

Most citizens from non-Schengen and non-EU countries need a Schengen Visa to enter the area. You can also use our Visa Checker Tool to determine if you require a visa and apply directly online.

Citizens from the following countries must apply for a Schengen Visa:

Afghanistan Ethiopia Niger
Algeria Fiji Nigeria
Angola Gabon North Korea
Armenia Gambia Oman
Azerbaijan Ghana Pakistan
Bahrain Guinea Papua New Guinea
Bangladesh Guinea-Bissau Philippines
Belarus Guyana Qatar
Belize Haiti Russia
Benin India Rwanda
Bhutan Indonesia Sao Tome and Principe
Bolivia Iran Saudi Arabia
Botswana Iraq Senegal
Burkina Faso Jamaica Sierra Leone
Burma/Myanmar Jordan Somalia
Burundi Kazakhstan South Africa
Cambodia Kenya South Sudan
Cameroon Kuwait Sri Lanka
Cape Verde Kyrgyzstan Sudan
Central African Republic Laos Suriname
Chad Lebanon Syria
China Lesotho Tajikistan
Comoros Liberia Tanzania
Congo Libya Thailand
Cote d'Ivoire Madagascar Togo
Cuba Malawi Tunisia
Democratic Republic of Congo Maldives Turkey
Djibouti Mali Turkmenistan
Dominican Republic Mauritania Uganda
Ecuador Mongolia Uzbekistan
Egypt Morocco Vanuatu
Equatorial Guinea Mozambique Vietnam
Eritrea Namibia Yemen
Eswatini Nauru Zambia
Nepal Zimbabwe​

Visa-free travelers to the Schengen Zone

If your country isn’t on the above list, and you aren’t a citizen of a Schengen country or the European Union, you don’t need a visa for the Schengen zone.

This includes visitors from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Arab Emirates.

However, remember that visa-exempt nationalities must apply for an ETIAS from 2025 onwards. Read more about the ETIAS here and how to apply with us.

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How long is the EU Schengen Visa valid and what are the rules for extending it?

The Schengen Visa is a short-term visa that allows you to stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days per entry within a 180-day period for tourist or business purposes. You can apply for a multiple-entry visa via our website. However, the immigration authorities ultimately decide the validity of your visa and the number of entries allowed.

What is the 90/180 rule?

It’s important to remember the 90/180 Schengen Visa rule. It means that you can stay in the Schengen Area - no matter which country - for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. After that, you must leave the Schengen Zone, or you’ll be overstaying.

Example: Even when you leave the Schengen Zone after 60 days and plan to enter again five days later, you’ll only have 25 days left to travel.

If you find this all confusing, here’s a handy calculator to help you find out how many travel days you have left on your current Schengen Visa and help plan your trip.

Can I extend the Schengen Visa?

Want to stay longer in the Schengen Zone? It's possible. However, strict conditions apply to extending a Schengen Visa.

For example, you’re allowed to extend your visa if you’re too ill to travel back to your home country. You must:

  • Prove why you cannot leave the Schengen Area by providing supporting documentation.

  • Show that you have the financial means to support yourself for the intended extra time in the Schengen Area.

  • Have travel and health insurance.

  • There must be no intent for you to stay longer other than the reason you’ve submitted (for example, to find work in the Schengen Zone).

  • Your passport must be valid for at least another six months.

  • Pay an extra fee to extend the visa.

The extension process differs per country. Check the government website of the initial Schengen Visa you applied for to find out more about extensions.

What are the consequences of overstaying a Schengen Visa?

It’s never a good idea to overstay a visa, as it’s considered a serious offense. The penalties for overstaying your Schengen Visa vary per country. For example, Germany is known to be very strict on banning travelers, while Greece gives high fines.

Here’s what could happen if you overstay your visa:

  • Deportation: If you’re caught overstaying, you risk deportation to your home country within hours.

  • Jail time: If you work illegally while overstaying your Schengen Visa, you can be charged as a criminal.

  • Fine: A fine is the typical penalty for overstaying a visa. It mostly depends on the country and how long you’ve overstayed, often adding up to thousands of euros.

  • Travel ban: You’ll most likely get a travel ban from the Schengen Zone, ranging from 1 to 3 years. Additionally, getting a Schengen Visa in the future will be more difficult, and sometimes even visas for other countries.

Required documents to apply for a Schengen Visa

By applying with us, you’ll receive a complete list of documents you’ll need, depending on your situation and travel purpose.

The required documents include:

  • Schengen Visa application form - This must be filled out and signed.

  • Valid passport - Issued within the last ten years with a validity of at least six months beyond the date of departure from the Schengen area.

  • Digital photo - The photo size must be 35x40 mm, clear, and in color. It must have been taken within the last six months.

  • Itinerary of your trip - Return flight tickets with the reservation code specifying the flight routes within Europe and confirmations for accommodation and activities.

  • Travel insurance policy - Document proving that you have medical insurance covering the Schengen Zone, with a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros for medical emergencies.

  • Proof of financial means - Proof that you have sufficient funds for your entire stay in the Schengen area, such as bank statements or a sponsorship letter.

Minimum bank balance for Schengen Visa

It's essential to demonstrate that you have adequate financial resources for your travel expenses. This can be shown by providing your last three months' bank statements, duly stamped, as evidence of sufficient funds for your stay. In cases where your trip is financed by a third party, such as a company or an individual, you should include their recent three-month bank statements and a copy of their identification or Tax ID.

The amount needed in your bank account to obtain a Schengen visa varies, as each Schengen member sets its own minimum bank balance requirements. This happens because living costs differ from one Schengen country to another. For example, staying in the Czech Republic might be less expensive compared to France. We advise verifying the exact financial criteria for the Schengen country you plan to visit.

How do I apply for the EU Schengen Visa with us?

We understand that Schengen Visa applications can be complicated and confusing. That’s why we have simplified the application process for you to increase your chances of approval!

With us, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps:

  • Step 1: Provide your contact details and travel information on our online visa form or through our user-friendly mobile app. Double-check that all information is accurate.

  • Step 2: Pay our service fee using a debit card, credit card, or PayPal. The government fee is usually paid during your appointment at the consulate, embassy, or visa application center (VAC).

  • Step 3: Complete the remaining sections of our simplified application form and upload a scanned copy of your passport and a photo before submitting the information for expert review.

You'll receive a step-by-step manual providing instructions on filling out all details on the application form.

Once our team checks your application form and documents, we’ll send you the completed form to sign and a list of documents to bring to the mandatory visa interview. We will book the interview appointment on your behalf.

  • Step 4: Attend the interview. Remember to bring all the required documents, including the completed and signed application form.

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What are the costs of the Schengen Visa?

The visa cost is split into two parts:

  1. Our service fee, which varies depending on the Schengen Visa and your nationality.

  2. The government visa fee, approximately USD $87.00 (though it may vary by nationality), must be paid during your visa appointment. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 are eligible to pay half the visa fee, while kids under 6 are exempt from paying any visa fee.

You won’t need to pay a government fee if you are:

  • A child or a spouse of an EU citizen or family member of a citizen of a Schengen country.

  • A student, pupil, or postgraduate student with educational or vocational purposes traveling with teachers.

  • A scientist who will carry out research or participate in scientific events.

  • Twenty-five years or younger and a representative of a non-profit organization wishing to participate in seminars, conferences, sports, cultural, or educational events hosted by non-profit organizations.

The processing times for Schengen visas are split into two parts:

  1. iVisa standard processing: This may take up to 30 days to complete. During our standard processing, you receive full support from our experts, and we'll provide you with a step-by-step manual to assist you in completing the application form and preparing for your interview.

  2. Government processing: The government processes visa applications, which may take up to 45 days or longer, depending on the situation and country where you are applying.

For a smooth application process, apply for a Schengen Visa at least two months before your intended travel dates.

How to prepare for the Schengen Visa appointment

It’s time to prepare for your Schengen visa interview appointment! The hard part is done! All you need to do now is be ready for your Schengen Visa interview.

Read our complete Schengen Visa interview guide with all the tips and tricks for a successful appointment.

It includes the best tips from our visa experts, examples of the most common and difficult questions, and dos and don'ts.

Common reasons for and how to avoid a Schengen Visa rejection

Whenever a Schengen visa (or any visa) isn’t approved, it means that there is something about your application that makes them question your travel purpose.

Here are some of the most common reasons why a Schengen Visa is rejected:

  • Past or current criminal record: A refusal might occur because the applicant is considered a threat to the public, such as terrorism, drug abuse, child abuse, addiction, or other serious crimes.

  • Providing false documents: If you fail to provide an official passport or have been caught with falsified bank statements or other documents, this could lead to an immediate rejection.

  • Insufficient proof and/or financial means for your travel purpose: You’ve failed to provide documents to prove your travel purpose, for example, hotel confirmations, financial means to travel around, bank statements, or responsibilities at home (work or study).

  • Damaged or invalid passport: Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity from the intended travel date, is not damaged, and has at least two blank pages.

  • Incomplete application: Always provide all required documents in the correct format; failure to do so will result in rejection.

With us, you’ll receive a complete PDF guide with step-by-step instructions, a full document checklist, tips for a successful interview, and a careful review of your application by a visa expert before submitting. We’ll do all the hard work for you!

The difference between the EU and the Schengen Area

There are two main differences between the European Union and the Schengen Area:

  • The European Union is a political and economic union that includes 27 European countries. These nations have common economic, security, migration, health, and environmental policies.

  • The Schengen Area offers the freedom of movement between people of countries that are a part of this agreement, with a uniform Schengen Visa policy. This means that tourists who obtain a visa for one Schengen country may also visit all other countries in the Schengen Area.

COVID-19 requirements or restrictions in Europe

COVID-19 testing, vaccination, or quarantine aren’t required to enter the Schengen Zone.

Where can I contact you?

If you have questions about getting your EU Schengen visa, contact our highly qualified customer service team or email at [email protected]. They’re always available to answer any questions about the Schengen Visa requirements and the application process.

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