Have you already thought where to go on your next vacation? If you have chosen Europe as your travel destination, then you may need to apply for a tourist Schengen visa. It is nothing more than a short stay visa that will allow you to travel within the Schengen area for maximum 90 in any 180 days period in a year. Read the next few lines if you want to know more about the application procedure and if you need it or not.
What is the Schengen area?
Just to be clearer, the Schengen area is not equivalent to Europe. Many European countries decided to sign the Schengen agreement, a treaty which led to the creation of Europe’s Schengen Area, in which internal border controls have been widely abolished. 26 countries, signed the agreement but not all European countries. For example, Ireland, United Kingdom, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus are members of the European Union, but did not sign the Schengen agreement. For this reason, these six countries have their own rules for issuing tourist visas. On the other hand, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are not members of the EU, but they signed the Schengen agreement and if you want to visit them, you will probably need a tourist Schengen visa.
Do you need a tourist Schengen visa or not?
The answer to this question is: it depends. Citizens of some countries are allowed to travel within the Schengen territory for 90 days without a visa, whether others must be in possession of it. Here you can find a list of the visa-free countries and the countries that require a visa to enter the Schengen area.
If your country is on the list, then you should read below, if not, you can relax and organize your travel without any worry.
Where and how to apply
Where to apply for a visa if not in the embassy or consulate of the country you are going to visit? Check out here the website and the address of the consular office closer to you. If you intend to travel in many Schengen countries during the same trip, then you have to choose the consular office of the country in which you are going to spend most of your stay. Once you find the embassy or consulate, we suggest you visit their website and look for the requested documents for a tourist Schengen visa application. Here are some of the documents that are generally requested:
• Your passport; it must be valid for at least three months after the end of your stay. In addition to that it must have at least two free pages, in order to allow the attachment of the visa;
• At least two ID photos in the passport format, with a white background;
• A Schengen visa insurance that will cover medical emergency, hospitalization and repatriation. The insurance must cover at least 30.000 EUR and it must be valid in the whole Schengen area throughout the extent of your stay;
• A Schengen Visa application form;
• It is possible that the consular office will ask you for proofs of subsistence, travel tickets and other documents relating to the purpose of your stay;
We suggest you apply for your visa three months before the actual date of your departure. Usually it takes 15 days to issue a tourist Schengen visa, but in exceptional circumstances the entire procedure can last up to 60 days. That’s because sometimes the consular offices ask for additional documents if something is not clear enough. But if you do everything in advance, you don’t have to worry, you will have enough time.