Everything you need to know about Schengen Agreement, Countries, Visa Types, Requirements, Insurance, Application Form, Guidelines and How to Apply?
What is Schengen?
Schengen refers to the EU passport-free zone that includes most of the European Countries. It is the largest free travel area in the world. The visa policy of the Schengen area is set by the European Union and applies to the Schengen area and also to other EU member states.
While the Schengen Visa is a short stay visa that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen area and up to 90 days of staying period for tourism or business purposes.
The Schengen Visa is the most common visa for the countries of Europe. To the holder of this visa, it enables them to enter the area, and once within travel freely and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen countries as well. There is no such concept as border controls within the Schengen Zone.
On the other hand, however, if you are planning to study, work or live in any of one of the Schengen countries for a period more than 90 days, then you must apply for the national visa of that European country and not a Schengen Visa.
The EU has also concluded with visa facilitation agreements that allow facilitated procedures for issuing visas for Indians with faster visa processing times, a reduced fee or fee-free visa application processing, reduced list of supporting documents, etc.
In 2017, over 14.6 million people used their Schengen Visa to travel to Europe.
Who will need a Visa to enter Europe?
All nationals (citizens) of the third world countries which haven't yet reached the Visa liberalization with the Schengen member states need the Visa prior arriving at the European country.
Schengen Visas can just be issued by any of the countries in the Schengen area. Travellers need to apply to the embassy or the consulate of the country which they intend to visit. In case a traveller has to visit multiple countries in the Schengen area, the traveller must apply to the main country’s embassy or the consulate. In case the main destination cannot be determined, the traveller should then apply for their visa at that particular country’s embassy or consulate where they entered first.
Note that a LTV Visa (Limited Territorial Validity) is not a Schengen Visa.
Travel Documents and Entry Requirements for Non-EU Nationals :
You will have to procure several documents at the Schengen port of entry in order to get the permission to enter in case you are a non-EU/Schengen country national regardless you are a visa exempted or not.
The documents you need to provide when entering the Schengen Area are given below :
At the border :
In some exceptional cases, single entry Schengen visa valid for upto 15 days may be issued when arrived at the border. This is done only on very reasonable and critical grounds when the traveller has some kind of emergency and could not get his visa processed due to any unforeseeable situations.
The EU/Schengen border Officials may also ask for other documents like such as funds, accommodation proof, how long do you intend to stay, round-trip ticket, the purpose of your travel, etc.
Which EU Countries issue Schengen Visa?
The Schengen Area consists of the 22 EU(European Union) member states and four more non-EU countries who are members of EFTA, namely, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Apart from that, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are not yet part of the Schengen Area.
Depending on the reasons for your visit to the country and the frequency of your visits, the Consulate can also issue your single entry visa, double entry visa or multiple entry visas.
If you are a frequent traveller, you may apply for an EU visa valid up to 5 years but you cannot stay within the Schengen area for more than 90 days in a 180 day period of time even on the 5-year visa itself.
How To Apply for a Visa for entering Europe?
For getting a Schengen Visa for Indian citizens to enter Europe, you first need to figure out whether you need one or not depending on the purpose of your visit. If you do need one, make a travel plan, how many days will you be in, the countries you will be visiting(if more than one), the country you are going to enter first and etc.
Once you have figured all this out, review the Europe Visa application requirements you need to fulfil and later, begin with the process of setting up a visa appointment at one of your Schengen consulates in India.
How much does the Schengen Visa cost?
The cost of the Schengen Visa for Indian Passport holder has a fee tag of €60 per adults.