Schengen visa? No you need one?
The first thing you need to understand is what the Schengen zone is. The Schengen zone more correctly called the Schengen area is a group of European countries and their overseas territories that have banded together to create a borderless travel area. Most of the countries are members of the European union but not all are. All this means is one Schengen visa for the group of countries.
Austria,Belgium, 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.
For short term travelers the Schengen area represents only positives. You can now drive or take the train between any of the countries listed without any border controls. At least not normally. Temporary border controls can be implemented for events or other security issues. If you are flying expect to have your valid national ID checked by the airline before departure but on arrival you will not normally face any controls. This means that flights within the Schengen area are basically domestic flights. No immigration or customs to clear.
Schengen visa when?
The EU has put together a website to help travelers determine the need for a visa.
For short term trips (less than ninety days) click on your home country. NB the country you are a national of not the country you are resident in. For example Americans would click on the United States of America,Canadians on Canada no matter where you live.
Requirement for a Schengen short visit visa
If you do require a visa you’ll need to apply at the consulate representing the country you’ll be visiting. If you are visiting multiple countries then you should apply at the consulate which will be the longest portion of your stay. Or to put it simply if you enter the Schengen area in France but stay longer in Italy you would apply at the Italian consulate not the French one.
General requirements are :
- A completed visa application
- Two colour photographs
- A passport that is valid for AT LEAST three months beyond your expected departure date
- An itinerary showing your dates of arrival and departure. You may be required to provide a booked return plane ticket before receiving your visa. If so buying a ticket you can cancel in case your visa application is refused would protect you in case of denial.
- Proof of funds. A bank statement covering the last ninety days
- Travel,health and accident insurance covering your stay in the Schengen zone not less than €30000
- hotel booking. If you are staying with friends or relatives they will need to provide you with an invitation letter.
- Pay the current fee.
If your application isn’t complete or your fail to provide all the supporting documents it can and likely will be rejected. Also if you don’t pay the fee before submitting the application expect it to be denied.