Any visitor to the European Union (EU) should be familiar with the Schengen visa application form and how to obtain this important travel document. Originating from the name of a village in Luxembourg, the Schengen agreement went into effect in 1995 ending the controls and checkpoints between many of the countries in Europe. The Schengen visa was subsequently created to make traveling in the European Union easier.
The 15 countries which fall under the Schengen visa are Sweden, Austria, Belgium, France, Finland, Iceland, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Portugal. All of these except Iceland and Norway are members of the EU.
Establishment of the Schengen visa created a visa system which unified most of the policies all the participating countries. Rather than individual visas with their specific requirements, the Schengen visa allows a visitor to travel easily and freely within the Schengen area via entrance to any of the participating countries. There is no longer a need to stop at every border for documentation checks. This freedom applies to travel by road, train and in-country air transportation.
Applying for a Schengen visa can be a bit confusing, so plan your trip carefully, as your itinerary affects where to apply. If you'll only be visiting one of the countries within the Schengen zone, application must be made at the Consulate or Embassy of that country. Visitors to several countries must apply at the destination country Consulate or Embassy. If you aren't sure of your final destination, the port of entry is the place to submit your application.
Need a visa?
The application form itself is free and is available for download at many travel sites on the internet. A processing fee, however, is required and the cost varies depending on the country issuing the visa as well as the type of Schengen visa. For example, the starting fee for short stays is set by France is $86.00 whereas Austria charges $51.70.
The application form is relatively simple, asking for personal identification, passport information and details on your destination. You'll need to indicate how many entries you're requesting and how long you plan on staying. You'll need to show documents which show that you have the finances required to support yourself, what health insurance you carry and how you plan on traveling. Your current employer, their address and phone number are also required. Be sure your passport is current and does not expire within 3 months past the ending date of your visit. Have a confirmation of your hotel or tour reservation and don't forget to bring two current passport photographs.
Each country which issues a Schengen visa has slightly different rules so know where you'll be applying based on your travel plans, and research that particular country's requirements. Be prepared to pay all fees for the Schengen visa application form at the time it is submitted. Knowing the requirements for a Schengen visa and having everything in advance will ensure your visit to Europe goes smoothly.
Visit often to learn more information from our updated Schengen Visa Application Form.