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What visa do I need to travel to Europe?

The Eurozone has an alliance with all countries plus some extra countries to create a border-free zone, called ‘Schengen’. That means that within the Schengen zone you can travel free with no border checks and you only need to apply for a visa once to visit multiple countries.

A Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe.
It enables you to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries.

There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone

You enter the Schengen zone ones, and after that, you are free to travel on the same visa through all the countries in the alliance.

If you are planning to study, work, or live in one of the Schengen countries then you must apply for a national visa in the country of your choice. Any stay beyond 90 days is also approved by the country you are in at that moment. So a Schengen visa has a validity of 90 days only.

Who Needs a Visa to Enter Europe?
Not everybody needs a visa to enter Europe. But in general, all nationals of so-called third-world countries or countries that have yet not reached a visa-liberalization agreement with the Schengen member states, need to apply for a visa prior to their arrival in Europe.

If you are a passport holder from any of these countries (CLICK) you must apply for a Schengen Visa before travelling to Europe

Entry Requirements for non-EU Nationals

Everybody travelling to Europe, the Eurozone or a Schengen country will need to provide a valid passport, issued within the previous 10 years and valid for at least 3 months after the day you intend to LEAVE the EU and depending on your nationality a Schengen visa obtained from a Schengen Consulate in your home country.

On top of that, Schengen border officials may also ask for other information and documents such as:

  • sufficient funds,
  • proof of accommodation,
  • how long you intend to stay,
  • round-trip airline ticket,
  • purpose of your entry,
  • travel insurance,
  • invitation letter, etc.

Please, make sure that the border officer gives you an entry stamp in your passport when you enter the Schengen area. Without a stamp, you could be fined or even detained.

There are special requirements for US Citizens, you can find them here (CLICK)

Extended Schengen Zone

There are another 19 other countries that are not part of the Schengen Zone (CLICK) that will allow foreign citizens of other non-Schengen countries to enter and stay in their territories on a Schengen visa, but in those countries, you need a valid multiple-entry Schengen Visa.  So if you have a valid multiple entry Schengen visa you do not need a national visa to enter, transit or stay in those countries temporarily.

Different types of Schengen Visa

Your stay to one or multiple Schengen countries needs to fit into a category that needs to be specified on your visa, so for every kind of stay there is a different visa application:

  • Business
  • Family visit
  • Tourism
  • Events (Cultural or sports)
  • Transit between airports or seafarers
  • Official visits
  • Medical reasons
  • Study and research (to be finished within 90 days)

There is

  • a single entry visa
  • double entry visa
  • multiple entry visa

depending on the purpose of your stay the Schengen Consulate will issue you a visa that will fit your stay best.

For frequent travellers, there is a 5 years valid Schengen Visa, but you cannot stay longer in the Schengen zone for 90 days in 180 days period.

How do you apply for a Schengen Visa?

If you need a visa, depending on your nationality and purpose of your stay, you have to document your travel plan:

  • How many days
  • Which countries will you visit
  • Where will you enter the Schengen zone
  • Where will you exit the Schengen zone

After that, you need to make sure you have all the requirements and documents you need and set up an appointment with the Schengen Consulate in your country.

More detailed information you find here (CLICK) 

How much does a Schengen visa for 90 days cost?

The Schengen visa fee is 60 euros per adult.
But depending on your age, nationality and some other factors you might pay a lower fee or none at all.


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