Bitesized guide: Schengen Visas

Published on: Thursday, March 15, 2018


From visa requirements to visa validity, here’s all you need to know about visiting 26 European countries with the help of a Schengen visa

What is it?

The Schengen visa enables its holders to travel between 26 European countries on a single visa. First signed in 1985, the Schengen Agreement was designed to open up Europe’s borders, making it easier to travel between countries on the continent.

Today, Schengen visa holders can travel to any or all 26 countries that are part of the border-free Schengen area. Internal border controls between the member countries have for the most part stopped – making it similar to travelling from one US state to another. Note though that Schengen countries have the right to reintroduce temporary border control in response to current events.

Who is it for?

The Schengen visa is for everyone who requires a visa before entering Europe – including American, Canadian and Australian travellers. There are different types of Schengen visas depending on the purpose of your visit. Tourists need a short-stay type ‘C’ Schengen visa. Type ‘A’ transit visas are also available to nationals coming from a specified list of countries who are only passing through the Schengen area.

Where can you go?

The Schengen visa is currently available for travel between the following countries:

 How much does it cost?

Most embassies and consulates charge €60 for a type ‘C’ Schengen visa.


A short stay Schengen visa allows the holder to travel within the Schengen area for a maximum stay of 90 days in a six month period.

How to apply

Applications for Schengen visas must be lodged at the relevant embassy or consulate in your country of residence. If you plan to visit one Schengen country, apply for a visa at the embassy or consulate of that country. If you’re visiting several countries, apply to the embassy or consulate of your main destination (if you don’t have a main destination, apply to the embassy or consulate of your first port of entry).

Working days required

Visa processing will vary, sometimes dependent on nationality. They can take anywhere from one day to 10 weeks to process.

Did you know?

The name Schengen originates from the small town in Luxembourg where the agreement was first signed.

This article was updated on 15/03/18