Travel Team | Oct 16, 2023
If you’re visiting multiple countries in Europe, you may need a Schengen visa. Keep reading to learn more about the Schengen Area and if a Schengen visa is required for your travel.
A Schengen visa is a temporary stay visa that allows you to travel to any member of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.
The Schengen Area is a group of 27 European countries that have abolished passports and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area is named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement.
There are no border controls between member states, and free movement of people is allowed. This makes traveling within the Schengen Area very convenient, as you do not need to present your passport or go through customs when traveling from one Schengen country to another.
The Schengen Area currently consists of 27 member states: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
There are four types of Schengen visas: Type A, Type B, Type C, and Type D.
Type A Schengen visas are intended for airport transit only. This means you cannot leave the airport's international zone with this visa.
Type B Schengen visas are intended for short stays in the Schengen Area of up to 90 days.
Type C Schengen visas are intended for extended stays in the Schengen Area of more than 90 days.
Type D Schengen visas are intended for multiple entries into the Schengen Area over a period of time.
For types B, C, and D, you can travel freely within the Schengen Area for business, tourism, or family visits.
There are a few requirements that you must meet to be eligible for a Schengen visa:
Whether you need a Schengen visa depends more on your country of residence than your destination.
Even if you do not need a Schengen visa, your passport must be valid for at least three months past your date of departure if you are planning on entering one of the 27 European countries in the Schengen Area. Starting in 2024, you may also need travel authorization through ETIAS — the European Travel Information and Authorisation System — which aims to improve security throughout Europe. The ETIAS visa waiver is mandatory for residents of the United States, among other countries.
Most countries assume all travelers will stay for three months for visa-free visitors. It is recommended that U.S. citizens traveling to these countries:
Schengen visas are generally valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. However, some Schengen countries may issue visas for less than 90 days.
Make sure to check the validity of your Schengen visa before traveling. If your visa is valid for less than 90 days, you may be able to extend it once you are in a Schengen country.
Check with the local authorities to see if this is possible. Schengen countries may also issue visas valid for multiple entries, meaning you can enter and exit the Schengen zone multiple times during the validity of your visa.
Schengen visa fees vary depending on a few factors, such as your country of citizenship and the purpose of your travel. Generally speaking, however, most people can expect to pay around 60 EUR for a Schengen visa.
Citizens of certain countries (including the United States) may be required to pay an additional “reciprocity fee” on top of the standard Schengen visa fee. This fee is intended to match the cost of a Schengen visa for citizens of that country who wish to travel to Europe.
The Schengen visa fees are as follows:
Please note that these are only the standard Schengen visa fees as of August 2023. You may be required to pay additional fees if you submit additional documentation or attend an in-person interview.
Schengen visa fees are non-refundable, so it is essential to ensure that you meet all the requirements before submitting your application.
You must apply for a Schengen visa at the appropriate embassy or consulate of the country you intend to visit. If you plan to visit more than one country in the Schengen Zone, apply at the consulate of the country where you will spend the most time.
Additionally, various Schengen visas can be issued, such as a Uniform Schengen visa, limited territorial validity visas, and national visas. You can read more information here about the different Schengen Visa Types.
To apply for a Schengen visa, you must have a valid passport, a recent photograph, a completed and signed visa application form, and additional documents related to your stay such as evidence of accommodation. Make sure you have everything you need by contacting the embassy or consulate or reviewing this list of required documents and fees for a Schengen visa.
There are a few reasons why Schengen visa applications can be denied. Your application will be denied if you don't have the required travel documents, sufficient money to support yourself during your stay, or medical insurance.
Additionally, if you have a criminal record or have been denied a Schengen visa in the past, your application may be denied.
Finally, your application will be denied if you are considered a security risk to any Schengen country.
Anyone required to obtain a Schengen visa must have travel insurance in one of the Schengen member countries.
Confirm with the embassy or consulate through which you apply for your visa about specific travel insurance requirements.
To learn more about travel insurance for your international trip, check with your travel insurance agent or contact our sales team.
Did you enjoy this blog? Get more articles like it before anyone else when you subscribe to our monthly newsletter, The Wayfinder.Sign me up