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Migration and Home Affairs
29 May 2024

Applying for a Schengen visa

This is a general overview - for more details contact the embassy or consulate of your main destination country.

What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is an entry permit for non-EU nationals to make a short, temporary visit of up to 90 days in any 180-day period to a country in the Schengen area. 

Schengen visas come in 3 forms: 

  • single-entry visa - allowing you to enter the Schengen area once;
  • multiple-entry visa - allowing several visits to the Schengen area for as long as the visa is valid;
  • airport transit visa - allows you to connect through the international transit area of an airport in the Schengen area during a stopover or a change of flights. It does not allow you to leave the international transit area.

How long can you stay?

The short-stay visa calculator can help you calculate the remaining period you are allowed to stay in a Schengen country. 

The user's guide provides step by step instructions and practical examples to help you use the calculator.

Who needs to apply for a Schengen visa?

Citizens of certain non-EU countries must hold a short-stay visa when travelling to the Schengen area. 

Consult the EU list of countries whose citizens are required to hold a visa when crossing its external borders. There are exceptions to the visa requirements for certain types of traveller to certain countries (e.g. diplomats, armed forces, refugees, pupils on school excursions).

Airport transit visas

  • Some non-EU nationals must also hold an airport transit visa when connecting through the international transit areas of airports located in any of the Schengen States
  • For citizens of certain additional countries, an airport transit visa is required when connecting through the international transit areas of airports located in some of the Schengen countries
  • There are some categories of people who are exempt from the requirement to hold an airport transit visa (see Article 3(5) of the Visa Code).

Where to apply

You must lodge your application for a Schengen visa at the consulate of the country you intend to visit

  • Visiting more than 1 Schengen countries: apply at the consulate of the country where you will spend the longest time.
  • Visiting several Schengen countries (for stays of equal length): apply at the consulate of the first country you will visit.

As a general rule, you must apply for a Schengen visa at the consulate with territorial responsibility for the country where you are legally resident.

When to apply

You must submit your application to the consulate at least 15 days before your intended journey and no earlier than 6 months beforehand

You may have to book an appointment before lodging the application.

What documents are needed to apply?

  • A valid passport. The passport’s expiry date should be at least 3 months after the date of your departure from the Schengen area. For multiple-entry visas, the expiry date should be at least 3 months after your departure from the last country visited.
  • A visa application form.
  • A photo in compliance with ICAO standards.
  • Medical insurance covering emergency medical care, hospitalisation and repatriation (including in the event of death).
  • Supporting documents relating to the purpose of your stay, evidence of financial means and accommodation during your stay, and evidence of your intention to return to your home country after your stay.
  • Your fingerprints will be collected when you submit your application (exemptions exist for specific categories of applicants).

Additional documents may also be requested by the consulates.

How much does a visa cost?

  • €90 for adults
  • €45 for children aged 6-12
  • €35 for applicants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus
  • €67,50 for applicants from Cabo Verde.

An additional fee may apply if you go through visa service centres, which collect applications on behalf of consulates in some cases.

The visa fee can be waived for specific categories of applicants.

How long does the application take to process?

The normal processing time for a visa application is 15 days

This period may be extended to up to 45 days if a more detailed examination of the application and/or additional documents are required.

Under certain conditions, family members of EU or EEA citizens falling under the Free Movement Directive are eligible for a free and accelerated visa procedure.

Refusal of a visa application

If your application is rejected, you will be told:

  • why it was rejected
  • how to submit an appeal.