A Schengen Visa is the document issued by the appropriate authorities to the interested party for visiting/traveling to and within the Schengen Area of Europe. The Schengen Area is comprised of 26 countries that have agreed to allow free movement of their citizens within this area as a single country. Of the 26 countries bound by the Schengen agreement, 22 are part of the EU and the other 4 are part of the EFTA.

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The Schengen area covers the majority of European countries, except for the United Kingdom and countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Ireland soon to be part of the agreement. However, there are countries that are not part of the EU like Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein yet do belong in the Schengen area and cherish the free movement policy.
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Austria - Belgium - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Iceland - Italy - Latvia - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Malta - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Portugal - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - Liechtenstein

A Schengen visa obtained by any of the Schengen Area member countries allows free movement to its holder within the whole Schengen Zone regarding the European Union Schengen members as well as the EFTA Schengen members, up to its validity and period limitations.

According to the type of visa issued by the certain embassy/consulate of any Schengen country there are different restrictions that apply to the particular visa in accordance to the nature of traveling and other relevant circumstances.

1.  Uniform Schengen Visas (USV)

The Uniform Schengen Visa stands for a permit of one of the Schengen Area Member Countries to transit or reside in the desired territory for a certain period of time up to the maximum of 90 days every six month period starting from the date of entry.


According to the purpose of traveling the Uniform Schengen Visa applies to all of the three categories, “A”, “B” and “C”.


  • “A” category stands for the Airport Transit Visa which allows its holder to travel through the international zone of the Schengen Country Airport without entering the Schengen Country Area. Airport transit visa is mandatory for the citizens traveling from one non-Schengen state to another non-Schengen state through a change of flights in a Schengen Country airport.
  • “B” category stands for the Transit Visa which allows its holder to transit within no more than 5 days through more than one Schengen country by car, coach or plane on the way to a non-Schengen country.
  • “C” category stands for a Short-Term Visa which allows its holder to reside in a Schengen Country for a certain period of time depending on the visa validity. This particular category, according to the holder’s purpose of the travel can be obtained in one of the three following forms:

               Single-entry allows its holder to enter a Schengen country only once for the certain period of time. Once you leave the certain Schengen country you entered the visa validity expires even if the time period allowed to stay in the country is not over yet.
               Double-entry visa applies for the same policy as above mentioned however you are allowed to enter the Schengen country twice meaning that for the certain period of time permitted by your visa you can enter the Schengen country, leave and enter again without any problems. Once you are out of the country for the second time the visa expires.
               Multiple-entry visa allows its holder to go in and out of the Schengen country as pleased. However this visa allows its holder to stay in a Schengen Zone for maximum 90 days within half the year, starting from the day one crosses the border between a Schengen member country and the non-Schengen member country.

2. Limited territorial validity visas (LTV)

This type of visa allows you to travel only in the Schengen country that has issued the visa or in some other cases, in the certain Schengen States specifically mentioned when applying for the visa. Apart from these Schengen countries, this specific visa is invalid to any other Schengen country not specified prior. The holder of this type of visa cannot enter or transit through any other Schengen country that is not the first and final destination target. This type of visa is issued in very particular cases such as a humanitarian reason or under international obligation as an exception to the common USV system. This type of visa may apply for individuals who don’t possess a valid travel document yet have to travel to a Schengen area on an emergency of any kind.

3. National Visas

The national visa of “D” category is granted to the certain individuals who are to be studying, working  or permanently residing in one of the Schengen countries. The national visa can be of a single entry, granted for the people who are in need of residing in the Schengen country for a certain period of time and for a sole purpose after which they shall return to their country. On the other hand a multi-entry national visa is also granted for certain individuals allowing its holder to travel in and out of this Schengen country as he/she pleases and also travel throughout the whole Schengen Area without additional visa requirements.

In order to obtain a multi entry national visa, one must meet certain criteria:

  • An international student program will grant a visa for a period of not more than one year.
  • An international student that is about to start a full course of studies in one of the Schengen countries. Again the visa is issued for a period of one year with the possibility of extending it.
  • A pedagogical work at a higher institution or research center in any of the Schengen countries, regarding the person and his/her close family members.
  • A professional who is traveling in any of the Schengen countries due to his/her expertise be it a sportsman, an artist or any other professional with the purpose of sharing expertise.
  • Emergency cases such as a medical condition that prevents the individual to leave the Schengen Area at the designated time frame.