Expanding into Europe is a great option for businesses seeking a common culture and customer. If your company has its sights set on a European country, chances are you’ll need to apply for a Schengen visa.
All countries in the European Union, except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, and Romania, are members of the Schengen Borders Agreement. This area is comprised of 26 countries that have agreed to allow the free movement of citizens inside the region like a single country. The countries in the Schengen region include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
It’s convenient for business owners seeking expansion in this region because it opens up the possibilities for greater talent and customer acquisition. Below are ten important things to know about the Schengen visa.
1. Who Needs a Schengen Visa?
Any person that is not a citizen of the region needs a Schengen Visa to enter a member country. There are exceptions and agreements between certain countries, including the US. For these countries, people can enter the country short-term but will need a visa for long-term stays.
2. Traveling to Schengen Without a Visa
US citizens with a valid passport can enter the region for tourism or business for up to three months without obtaining a Schengen visa. If the person plans to stay longer, they will need to contact the embassy of the country where they plan to spend most of their time to obtain a visa.
3. Eligibility Requirements
If it’s time to apply for a Schengen visa, they will need to provide the proper documentation and have the financial means to support themselves while in the area.
Everyone is eligible to apply and receive a visa if they meet the Schenghen visa requirements.
4. Documentation Needed for a Schengen Visa
First, the visa application form must be completed and signed and the applicant must provide a recent photo in a passport format.
Other Schengen visa application requirements include:
- Passport and Previous Visas
- Round Trip Travel Itinerary
- Travel Health Insurance
- Proof of Accommodation for Entire Stay
- Financial Information Showing Means of Support
5. Types of Schengen Visa
There are three forms of the Schengen visa issued by the different embassies and consulates. Each depends on the nature of the visit.
The types of visa include:
- Uniform Schengen Visa – Permit for one Schengen Area Member Country to transit or reside in for up to the maximum of 90 days every six month period starting from the date of entry.
- Limited Territorial Validity Visa – Permits travel only in the Schengen State that has issued the visa or in some other cases, in the certain Schengen States specifically mentioned when applying for the visa.
- National Visa – Permits individuals who are to be studying, working or permanently residing in one of the Schengen countries.
6. Processing Times
The Schengen visa processing times vary and should be taken into account when considering international expansion. For a short-term visa, like a Uniform visa, the processing time could be between two to 10 days. Long-term visa, like the National visa, can take weeks to months to be approved.
7. How Long Does the Visa Last?
Each type of visa has a different expiration, which you will need to consider before applying. When testing out a market, you may only need to be in-country for one month. This length of stay would place you under the most common type of travel visa, which reaches a maximum of 90 days every six month period starting from the date of entry.
The length of stay for the Schengen visa varies by reason of entry and visa type.
8. Extending a Schengen Visa
You can apply for a visa extension if you’ve stayed less than 90 days the Schengen area, in the course of the past 180 days, and if your current visa is not expired. There are requirements for extensions that must be met and vary from each state.
9. Traveling to Other Countries with a Schengen Visa
If you plan to visit other countries in the Schengen region, you should apply for a visa in at the Embassy in which you’ll be spending the most time. After receiving a multiple entry visa, you can travel to the Schengen countries with your visa.
10. Schengen Visa Application Denial
You’ll receive documentation stating the reason for refusal if your visa application doesn’t receive approval. You can submit an appeal by contacting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Schengen State you intend to visit.
You can also submit an application after an allotted amount of time.
To learn more about the visa application process, get in touch with our team of International Consultants!