Types of Schengen Visas and Requirements
If a country is not part of the ETIAS eligible visa waiver nations, travelers from those countries may need a Schengen visa. Learn more about traveling to Europe with a Schengen visa.
About The Schengen Area
26 countries make up the Schengen Area, which allows for the free movement of all Schengen nationals. 22 of these countries are European Union members, while the other 4 are part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Besides the 26 member countries in the Schengen Zone, 3 microstates are also a part of this area. A Schengen visa also grants entry to the Vatican, Monaco and San Marino.
Is the UK Still Part of the Schengen Area?
Since the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union, the ETIAS visa waiver will not be valid to cross the border into the UK. The EU has also confirmed that UK citizens will need an ETIAS to visit the Schengen Area. Currently, third-country travelers should provide proof of one or more of the following at the border control check to determine eligibility to cross the British border:
- Bank statement or an official letter from the applicant’s employer, with proof of earnings, to prove the traveler’s financial situation and ability to support themselves while in the UK
- Proof of legal residence such a residential card or a bill with the traveler’s legal name and address clearly visible
- Proof of employment or ongoing studies
- Travelers who are under 18 years of age must provide a birth certificate, as well as a letter from their parents, explaining the reason for the trip, as well as living arrangements and financial situation, while in the UK. A copy of the parent’s passports may be required.
These are the general border crossing regulations for citizens of visa-exempt countries. A similar type of proof is asked of standard visa applicants for the UK. Visitors are advised to contact their local embassies or consulates for further information.
Non-Schengen European Union Members:
Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland is not part of the Schengen Area.
However, there are several countries where citizens can enter Ireland without applying for a visa. These countries include:
- United States
- South Korea
An ETIAS will be required to enter Bulgaria.
All Schengen visa holders may enter and exit Bulgaria freely. However, there are a few requirements:
- Eligible nationals must carry a valid Schengen visa
- The number of entries and time spent in Bulgaria must not exceed that of the Schengen visa
- Those who have exceeded the number of entries and/or days to remain within the Schengen Area will not be allowed in Bulgaria with that same visa
- A valid short-term national visa for Ireland, the U.K., Cyprus, Romania, or Croatia will not allow its holder to enter Bulgaria
Cyprus will require an ETIAS travel authorization for all visitors.
Romania is a member of the European Union, however, it is not yet part of the Schengen Area. Foreign nationals with a Schengen visa can enter Romania for a short-term stay, provided they have met the immigration requirements.
Once ETIAS is implemented, citizens from countries that currently do not require a visa to enter Romania will need to apply for an ETIAS.
Croatia is one of the few countries that does not require a visa from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and EU nationals. Since Croatia is part of the ETIAS agreement, citizens from visa waiver countries will need to apply for an ETIAS travel authorization.
Andorran nationals will not be required to obtain an ETIAS travel authorization to cross the Schengen border.
Types of Schengen Visa
A Schengen visa, issued by any of the Schengen member states, authorizes its holder to cross the borders of any Schengen Area country.
Third-country nationals are also granted visa-free entry to any EU member countries that are not a part of the Schengen Area, provided those nationals hold a valid Schengen visa, and their country of origin has a visa waiver agreement with the given non-Schengen European country that wants to be visited.
1. Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)
The Uniform Schengen Visa, issued by Schengen Area member countries, permits a maximum stay of 90 days in a 180-day period. The USV can also be used as a transit visa. There are 3 subcategories of the Uniform Schengen Visa:
Single-entry visa: This Uniform Schengen Visa allows its holder to enter a Schengen country once for a limited period of time. After the visitor exits the country, the visa automatically expires.
Double-entry visa: The regulations mentioned above also apply to the double-entry visa. The only difference is that a double-entry visa holder can enter a Schengen member state twice. After the second exit (second crossing of an external Schengen border), the visa automatically expires.
Multiple-entry visa: Holders of a multiple-entry visa can enter and exit Schengen member states multiple times while their visa is valid. However, their stay may not exceed 90 days every 6 months, starting from the date of entry.
2. Limited Territorial Validity Visa (LTV)
Holders of an LTV may only enter the Schengen member country that has issued the visa. They will not be able to enter any other Schengen countries unless authorized during the visa application process.
3. National Visa
National Visas are granted to individuals who will be studying, working, or permanently residing in any of the Schengen Area countries. The National Visa is primarily a single-entry visa for a limited period of time.
Certain circumstances allow travelers to apply for a multi-entry National Visa. Applicants must meet at least 1 of the following requirements:
- Be enrolled in an international educational program with a maximum length of 1 year, which must be demonstrated through an official document
- Pedagogical work at a research or education center
- A professional who is traveling to Europe due to their proficiency in sports, arts or any other profession related to sharing expertise
- An emergency prevents the applicant from returning to their home country, and they are required to remain in the Schengen Area for a specific period of time
Schengen Tourist Visa Application Process and Requirements
Individuals who require a Schengen visa must book an appointment to apply in person at an embassy or consulate of their destination country and be ready to answer some basic questions about their travel plans. If the traveler intends to visit more than one country in the Schengen Area, they should apply for their visa with the nation they will spend most of their time. If they plan to stay in multiple countries for the same amount of time, they should apply with the first country they will be visiting.
The individual must bring the following to the visa appointment:
- Completed application form (usually available online)
- Passport with photocopies of all previous Schengen visas (The passport must have at least 2 blank pages and be valid for a minimum of 3 months).
- 2 recent passport-style photos
- Travel insurance policy
- Travel itinerary with flight information clearly indicating the traveler’s entry and exit dates from the Schengen Area
- Accommodation bookings with reservation numbers
- Proof of sufficient financial means
- During the interview, applicants will be asked some basic questions about their travel plans. They must then pay the visa fee before submitting their Schengen visa application.
- Payment for visa fee
Whether or not you will need a full Schengen visa from a European embassy or simply an ETIAS travel authorization depends entirely on your nationality. See the full list of ETIAS-eligible countries.
Once a Schengen visa application has been approved, the applicant will receive a visa sticker on their passport. Approved applicants can find the Schengen visa number in the top right corner of the visa sticker. The sticker includes other important information, such as the visa type, validity period, and the number of permitted entries.