Schengen Visa FAQs

What is a Schengen Visa?

On 26th March 1995, a new type of visa – the Schengen Visa – was introduced by member-states of the European Union. The current Schengen states are;

  • 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
  • Switzerland

The Schengen visa issued by an Embassy or Consulate of the above countries allows the holder to move freely in all of these countries within the validity of the visa.

What is the Schengen visa rules?

  • If you are visiting one Schengen state then you will apply at that country’s consulate in SA.
  • If you are visiting more than one Schengen state, you will apply with the consulate of your main destination (where you will be staying the longest).
  • If you do not have a main destination and plan to visit a few states and spend the same amount of time in each, you will apply with the country of your point of first entry.

Is the Schengen visa valid for one country only?

No. If in your application you have shown booking in other Schengen states, the consulate will grant you the visa valid for you full period of stay in ALL states.

How early can I apply for a Schengen visitor visa?

Applicants are free to apply up to 180 days prior to their date of travel. It is generally recommended that you apply at least 3 weeks prior to your date of travel to accommodate any unforeseen processing delays.

What is the validity of a Schengen visa?

All Schengen visas are issued for a maximum of up to 90 days stay, but in some cases the consulate will give the applicant more time in which to utilise those 90 days for example, over a year.

However, this is completely at the discretion of the consulate. Some applicants may be issued the visa for only their requested amount of days even though they have an extensive travel history with the Schengen states. There is no guaranteeing the validity of any visa.

Do I have to go in person to submit my Schengen visa and why?

The answer is yes, the applicant would need to go in person when submitting their Schengen visa application as their finger prints and photos (i.e. biometrics) will need to be taken during their visa submission appointment.

Even if your biometric data has been submitted after 6 June 2013 and your previous Schengen visa has the letters “VIS (Visa Information System)” stated on it, the issuing authority may still require you to submit in person. Please check with Visa Box beforehand.

Do I need confirmed flights for my Schengen visa application?

Yes, you would require confirmed flights showing your entry and exit dates into and from the Schengen area for your visa application. You would also need to provide confirmed accommodation as well as travel insurance.

What's the maximum time that I can spend in the Schengen area?

You can stay 90 days in any 180-day period within the Schengen area.

Calculator of travel days remaining under a Schengen short-stay visa: 

Do I need travel insurance for my Schengen visa application?

Yes, travel insurance is compulsory. Contact Visa Box if you need a quote.

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