Schengen territory comprises of group of countries in Europe which do not require separate visas and entry permission. The area is named after town Schengen in Luxembourg where this agreement was signed back in 1985.
There are total 26 member countries in which 22 area EU members and 4 non-EU members. In order to travel or visit these countries one should have Schengen Visa issued by any one of the countries who are part of Schengen territory.
Schengen area includes;
Austria, Belgium, Czech, Denmark Republic (excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands (excluding Aruba, Curacao, Saint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands), Norway (excluding Svalbard), Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (with special provisions for Ceuta and Melilla), Sweden and Switzerland. UK and Ireland are only two EU members countries who haven’t signed Schengen agreement while Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus having agreed to implement it later.
The countries which require Schengen Visa includes countries from all continents. According to Schengen regulation, citizens of countries listed below need to have Schengen visa to visit or travel to the Schengen territory:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya.
Kiribati, Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Marianas, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Helena and dependencies, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
How to Apply for Schengen Visa
In order to apply for Schengen Visa you should follow the steps and guidelines listed below:
First of all download application form for Schengen visa, fill it completely and follow instructions carefully. Visa is available in four categories, these categories are discussed below:
• Category A: This category deals with airport visa and normally for those people who are not staying in Schengen Area or staying only for a few hours to transit to a non-Schengen state.
• Category B: B category is another transit visa offer only for 5 days for people traveling between two non-Schengen countries to visit Schengen area as well.
• Category C: This category caters application of short stay (less than three months); people can travel to any Schengen member in these 90 days, then can have one continuous tour or can visit countries multiple times in this permitted period.
• Category D: This is national visa and is needed when you are traveling form non-Schengen country to Schengen country, for example students going for higher studies require Visa of this category, visitor have to arrange residency in their desire country before traveling to other Schengen member.
Following additional documents are required along with application form at time of applying for Schengen Visa:
- Valid National Identity Card or passport
- Evidence which show purpose of your visit for example document showing link with family member if you are traveling to meet family or hotel reservation etc.
- Proof showing sufficient financial means of support. This can be a photo copy of bank passbook or statement of balance.
- Proof that you have taken European Schengen travel insurance.
Tips for First Time Applicants
According to The Economist, 1 in 17 applications to Schengen Visa are rejected. You can increase your chances to get Schengen Visa buy strictly following these guidelines and tips:
- Stay honest while filling the application form; do not try to use any unfair means. At the end of the form you’ll be signing to prove the form is accurate; misleading information leads to rejection of application.
- Try to fill application form yourself so that you do not face any difficulty during interview.
- Apply at least three months before your intended visit.
- Apply to that embassy which has less rejection rate. For example Belgium rejected one-fifth of the applications while Finland rejected only 1.3% applications. However, you need to apply for Visa on Schengen State you will visit first or, when visiting multiple States, apply at the embassy of the country you will stay the longest.