SCHENGEN COUNTRIES AND THEIR VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR NIGERIANS
If you’ve ever tried to apply for a visa to visit Europe, you must have come across the word “Schengen” at some time during your research. This begs three questions. First, where exactly is the Schengen area? Why do you need a Schengen visa to visit Europe and how do you apply?
The Schengen area marks a region where twenty-six (26) European countries dissolved their internal borders for people to move freely and unhindered in consonance with normal directives for managing external borders and fighting criminality by reinforcing the judicial system and police cooperation.
The Schengen area covers Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries are located in Europe from which twenty-two (22) are members of the European Union (EU) and four (4) are non-European Union members. The 4 countries are Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein. They are known as associate members of the Schengen area but are not members of the European Union.
Think of holidays spent on train rides moving from one part of Europe to another without stress. That is going to get an ice-cream at France on a Monday, taking a boat trip to Polignano a mare in Italy on Tuesday and before the end of the week, you might have touched maybe five European countries, all these are possible with just one visa, the Schengen visa.
A Schengen visa which is also known as the Europe visa allows qualified individuals to travel freely within the twenty-six countries that make up the Schengen area. This means people traveling to Europe will not be put through border checks at internal Schengen borders and you can comfortably take a short flight or train to move between European countries. There are different types of Schengen visas such as Schengen airport transit visas (for those traveling through one of the countries in Schengen area), Schengen travel visa and so many others.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SCHENGEN VISAS
Uniform Schengen visa:
Type A: This is known as the airport transit visa and it is required when traveling through an airport located within the Schengen area. This visa allows the holder to wait for a connecting flight from one non-Schengen country to another in the international transit area of a Schengen-located airport. It does not allow you to leave the airport or enter Schengen territory for any reason.
Type C: This is also known as a short-stay or travel visa. This is the visa travelers many travellers refer to when they mention a Schengen visa. It is issued for tourism, sporting events, cultural events, medical purposes, business, and visits to relatives. It gives holders access to more than one Schengen country for up to ninety days in six months. The visa could be obtained for single entry, double-entry, or multiple entries.
Limited territorial visa: This visa allows the holder to only travel within the country/countries that the visa has been issued to. This type of visa is issued in special/emergency cases as humanitarian reasons. It can be applied as a transit or short-stay visa but its duration may vary.
Long-stay visas: You will need a long-stay visa or residence permit if you plan to visit a Schengen country for more than 90 days. Your reasons for visit could vary from reuniting with family living in one of the Schengen countries to being granted job offers in the Schengen area. Long stay visas are issued by each Schengen country. Some countries will require you to obtain a long-stay visa before you travel and a residence permit when you arrive while some countries do not offer long-stay visas at all.
TYPES OF VISA ENTRIES
Single entry: A single-entry Schengen visa allows you to enter the Schengen area only once in the 180-day period in which your visa is valid. It is usually indicated on your visa sticker like this: “number of entries 1”.
Double-entry: A double-entry Schengen visa allows you to enter the Schengen area up to two times in the 180-day period in which your visa is valid. It is usually indicated on your visa sticker like this: “number of entries 2”
Multi-entry: A multi-entry Schengen visa allows you to enter the Schengen area many times in the period in which your visa is valid. It usually indicated on your visa sticker like this: “number of entries MULT”
- Before you are granted a multiple entry Schengen visa, you must meet the following demand:
- Proof of Justification of your reasons for traveling frequently
- Provide proof of your economic status in your country of origin
- Proof of integrity and reliability- you have to present proof of lawful use of previous uniform visas with limited territorial validity
- Genuine intentions to leave the Schengen territory before the expiration of the visa you have applied for.
VALIDITY OF SCHENGEN VISAS
Schengen visas are valid for 90 days of travel in the Schengen area for six months (180 days) from the day it was issued.
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR SCHENGEN VISA PROCESSING
It is necessary to know the required documents for the visa processing and gather them before beginning the visa application; this is to avoid unnecessary delays. You will need:
- A completed Schengen application form
- Valid passport with two empty pages and a full-color copy of data page
- Two passport photos
- Bank statements for the last three months
- Bank details
- Hotel reservations in the country of your choice
- Medical insurance
- Round trip flight reservation
- Evidence of a need to return to Nigeria like a letter from employer
- Employment details of the last three months
- Color copies of all Schengen visas (if any)
You will need to pay for your application immediately and s there are no refunds made if your application is rejected.
WHERE TO APPLY FOR A SCHENGHEN VIS
Firstly, download your Schengen visa application form, print it out and complete it, and then submit to the country that you intend to visit first. If everything goes well, you will be called by the embassy for interview and biometrics.
VFS GLOBAL has been appointed by Schengen embassies to handle and oversee all Schengen visa applications from Nigeria.