Schengen is the name for a group of countries in Europe that allow visa free movements across each other’s borders. This basically means citizens of countries in the Schengen area can travel to neighboring countries without needing a visa.
There are about 26 countries in the Schengen area. They include Germany, Portugal, France, Greece, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, Lithuania, Luxemburg and other countries in the European Union with the exception of Ireland, the United Kingdom, Romania, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Croatia.
There are lots of reasons Nigerians visit Europe, a lot of them are training and academics related reasons. As a result of the Schengen visa, visiting Europe has become quite easy for many of these Nigerians.
With a Schengen visa, you can make easy movements between European countries that are part of the Schengen agreement. This feature of the Schengen visa is very beneficial to tourists.
Types of Schengen Visa
To visit a country in the Schengen area, it is important to know the available types of Schengen visas. Knowledge of the available Schengen visas will aid you in choosing the visa that is most suitable for you.
There are three basic types of Schengen visa. They are National visa, Limited Territorial Validity Visa and Uniform Schengen Visa.
If you are visiting a country in the Schengen area for the purpose of studying, then this is the most suitable visa for you.
This Schengen visa type is issued to individuals who have the intention of studying, working or staying in any Schengen country permanently. This visa is only valid in the Schengen country you applied to visit. A holder of this visa can get a multi-entry visa to allow him visit other countries in the Schengen area.
Limited Travel Validity Visa
The limited travel validity Visa limits its holder to only the country or countries they apply to visit. Thus, this visa is considered invalid in Schengen areas you don’t apply to visit.
This visa type is the most suitable Schengen visa for tourists.
Uniform Schengen Visa
Regular visitors to countries in the Schengen area can apply for this visa. It is usually valid for period of six months. The holder of this visa is not allowed to stay in the Schengen area at once for more than 90 days.
The Uniform Schengen Visa can be categorized into three classes, they are:
This gives its holders the freedom to travel from a non-Schengen country to a non- Schengen country through a number of Schengen countries. It is only valid for a travel period of not more than 5 days.
Airport Transit Visa
Airport transit visa is issued to people traveling through a Schengen Country to a country that is not in the Schengen area.
Short term Visa
This visa gives room for single entry, double entry and multiple entry. The exact type of entry you get is dependent on your reason for travelling.
Documents required for Schengen visa
- A passport that has a validity of 6 months from the day of departure.
- One copy of a colored passport size photograph. This photograph should be taken against a white background.
- This passport should have two extra pages. This should be done in preparation for unforeseen circumstances which might require stamping of your passport.
- A copy of passport page and passport photo attached.
- A copy of completely filled application form. Ensure no space is left empty. Any question with an unavailable answer should be filled with N/A.
- A copy if introduction letter to the embassy, this letter should contain your reason for travelling as well as your contact numbers
- A copy of your already used visas
- A copy of a letter of invitation addressed to the embassy
- A copy of certificate of trade registration, this is for self-employed applicants.
- A copy of document, showing applicant’s income.
- A copy of booked return flight tickets
- A copy of hotel reservation or other proof of accommodation.
- A document showing applicant’s employment status. This should come with proof of applicant’s monthly salary, a leave approval should also be contained in this letter.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa
Most Nigerians who are interested in applying for a Schengen Visa prefer to apply from an embassy that is believed to be lenient. This move however does not better your chances of getting a visa. This is because the same standards are observed in all Schengen country embassies.
To apply for Schengen visa, pay a visit to the embassy of the country in the Schengen area that you plan on visiting. If you will be visiting more than one Schengen country, then you should apply for your visa at the embassy of your main destination. However, those applicants that will be spending an approximately equal number of days in each country should apply for a visa at the embassy of the country you will visit first
To apply, fill your application form online and submit it together with all the documents required to the embassy of country you intend visiting.
Estimated Cost of Processing a Schengen Visa
The required amount needed to obtain a Schengen visa tends to vary. This is because of a change in the exchange rate. Ideally, a non-refundable fee of 60 euros is paid for a Schengen visa.
Estimated Time for Processing Schengen Visa
All things being equal, the processing time for Schengen visa is 10-15 days. This us however open to change.
Estimated Cost of Flying to a Schengen Country
Due to the fact that Schengen is an area covering many countries, there is no fixed cost of travelling. Flight prices depend on the area or country in the Schengen area you are visiting. In addition to cost dependence on the Schengen area of visit, cost of aviation fuel and passenger flight class play a major role in cost of flying.
You are sure to have a stress free process when applying for a Schengen visa. All you need is adequate knowledge about the process of getting one. This article provides you with every information you need to successfully obtain a Schengen visa.