The Schengen Visa is a document that allows travellers to enter, stay and travel freely within the Schengen Area, a group of 26 European countries which have agreed to remove border controls between them.
The Schengen Area includes countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.
To obtain a Schengen Visa, an individual must apply at the embassy or consulate of the country they plan to spend the majority of their time in, or, if there is no specific country, they can apply at the embassy or consulate of the first country they plan to enter.
The visa application typically requires providing personal information, travel itinerary, proof of finances, and travel insurance. Applicants must also provide details of previous Schengen Visas.
Applicants are normally processed by a third-party visa service such as VFS Global or TLS Contact. These third-parties are also responsible for providing applicants with appointments and transferring applications to the relevant embassy or consulate.
Once issued, a Schengen Visa allows the holder to travel within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This means that the total duration of stay in the Schengen Area cannot exceed 90 days in any 180-day period, even if the visa itself is valid for a longer period. It is important to note that not all countries in Europe are part of the Schengen Area, and some countries that are part of the Schengen Area may have additional entry requirements or immigration restrictions. It is recommended to check the specific entry requirements for each country before planning a trip.