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European Visas - Schengen Visa

Origin of the Schengen Visa:

In June 1985, seven European Union countries signed a treaty to end internal border checkpoints and controls. More countries have joined the treaty over the past years. Now, there are 15 Schengen countries, all in Europe.

The 15 Schengen countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

All these countries except Norway and Iceland are European Union members.

Different types of Schengen visa:

  • Transit visa:

    This visa allows you to pass through one or more Schengen member states on your way to a country outside the Schengen space. This visa can be valid for up to 5 days.

    Validity: 1 to 5 days

    Number of entries authorized: 1 or 2

  • Airport transit visa:

    This visa allows you to transit through the international zone of a French airport with no access to the Schengen space, before flying on to your final destination.

  • Short stay Schengen visa:

    This visa allows you to travel freely within the Schengen Space, including France, and spend a maximum of 90 days over 6 months. It is issued for various purposes such as tourism, shopping, business or family visits.

    Validity: 1 to 90 days over 6 months

    Number of entries authorized: 1 or multiple

  • "Circulation" Schengen visa:

    This visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen Space, over 1 to 3 years. It can be granted to people who can prove their frequent trips for family or business purposes.

    Validity: 1 to 90 days (over 6 months) over 1 to 3 years.

    Numbers of entries authorized: multiple

Where do you apply for your Schengen Visa?

If you need to travel to only one Schengen country, you must apply at the Embassy or Consulate of that particular country. You apply at the Embassy or Consulate responsible for the state where you live.

If you need to travel to several Schengen countries, you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country, which is your main destination.

If you need to travel to several Schengen countries but do not have a main destination, you should apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country which is your first point of entry.

Application for a Schengen Visa

All visa applications must be made at the Consulate that is responsible for your place of residence, so only UK residents may lodge an application for a visa at for example the Greek Consulate in London.

Applying within the UK

If you are applying for your Schengen visa within the UK please bear in mind "you need a minimum of 3-6 months left on both your passport and your UK visa" not many embassies will issue visas to people who are in the UK on tourist visas of 6 months duration or less.

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