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Schengen visa

If you are not a European Economic Area (EEA) national and would like to travel in Europe, you may need to apply for a Schengen visa before you travel. With a Schengen visa, you may enter one European country and travel freely throughout the Schengen zone.

Countries constituting the Schengen area...
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You will be charged a non-refundable fee for issuing a visa. Schengen visas currently cost €60. Visas are typically stamped or attached into your passport.

Visas can be single-entry, which means the visa is cancelled as soon as you leave the country, or multiple-entry, permitting multiple entries into the country with the same visa. Please note you cannot apply for a new Schengen visa whilst another one is still valid.

A Schengen visa issued by an Embassy or Consulate of the listed Schengen countries allows the holder to travel freely in all of these countries. However, if you are travelling to more than one country, you may be required to hold a return ticket for some countries or other proof of onward travel –pleasecheck the requirements of the country you are applying to before you purchase your return travel ticket.

  • If you intend to visit only one Schengen country, you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of that country.
  • If you intend to visit several Schengen countries without having a main destination, you should apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the first country of entry.
  • If you intend to visit several Schengen countries, with one country being your main destination (i.e. you intend to stay in a particular country for more time than the others), then you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country in which your main destination is situated.

Your stay is limited to 90 days within any 6 month period.The Schengen Agreement applies only to those specific countries who signed to the Agreement within the EU and EEA – the Schengen Agreement is not specific to all European Member countries but only to those listed in the ‘Participatingcountries’section.

The general principles of the Schengen application are the same across all of the member countries of the Schengen area. However the steps you need to take (the application process to apply to each country) are not uniform and differ to varying degrees.

Please be very aware of the actual application process for the country or countries you wish to visit but you can use the below as a guide or checklist of the stages you will need to fulfill before your Schengen visa application can be issued with a decision.

1. Complete the Schengen visa application form

Some countries have the form available as a PDF file which you can download and complete. Some countries do not have the form available like this and you have to type your answers directly onto the Embassy website. When you have completed each screen your answers will then be populated into the formforassessment.

2. Book a visa appointment

When you have filled out the Schengen visa application form, you will need to book a meeting at the Embassy of the country you are visiting to have the application processed. Some of the Schengen countries use private companies to process your application (such as VFS or TLS) this is a popular methodandshouldnot cause you any concern. Alternatively some countries manage the processing of your visa application themselves. The contact details you need to use to book an appointment are mostly listed on the Embassy website of each country. Where some countries use their own step-by-step online applicationsystemtocomplete the application form, the method to book the appointments will be supplied during the application process.

3. Attend a visa Appointment

When you need to attend your visa application appointment, please be aware that you may need to travel to the Embassy of the Schengen country you wish to visit. All Schengen countries have offices in London but some have additional ones located elsewhere around the UK, for example in Manchester or Edinburgh.Youwillneed to attend an appointment in person to submit the application form, visa processing fee and supporting documents. Please be aware that the documents you need to submit differ depending on the country you are applying to, and the length and purpose of your visit. It is therefore advisableto collectandtake as many documents as you have for your Schengen visa appointment. If you are unsure of what the document requirements are, they will be stated on the website of the country you wish to visit or as part of the online application you have made for the Schengen visa. It is importantthat each applicantattendsin person, it is not acceptable for anyone other than yourself to attend the visa appointment on your behalf.

4. Next steps

The Embassies typically take 15 days to process your Schengen visa decision, but as with any other visa application this can vary considerably and you should not book travel tickets or accommodation based on this guideline. Certain variations in visa applications can take longer than the normal processingtimeframe so you should plan accordingly.

Please see the UKCISA webpage for additional information about the Schengen visa application process which you may find useful.

If you intend to visit countries which are not listed in the ‘Participating countries’ section, you will be required to apply to each individual country you wish to visit. You should also note that if you are planning a trip which includes one or more countries listed in the Schengen agreement and a country which is not listed, you will need to apply to one of the Schengen countries and also to the Embassy of other country/countries you will be visiting.

For example, if you were planning to visit France, Germany, Spain and Ireland you would have to apply for two visas as follows: A Schengen visa for France, Germany or Spain PLUS A tourist visa for Ireland.