3 Things Everyone Knows About Schengen Visa That You Don't

3 Things Everyone Knows About Schengen Visa That You Don't

Who among us doesn't enjoy traveling and exploring the world? There is nothing like experiencing different cultures and exploring the landmarks of different countries. One of the best continents for travel is Europe. It has a deep, rich history and allows you to visit a multitude of countries. But unless you are European, you likely need a visa, a Schengen visa to be exact. Here are some facts about the Schengen Visa that you may not know but should.

  • The Schengen Area Is Not The EU

With 26 European countries in the Schengen area, you may think Schengen and the European Union are interchangeable. But, they are quite different from one another.  The Schengen agreement allows for multilateral travel across national borders. This means you do not need a different visa for every country you visit in the Schengen area. Not all European countries are part of the Schengen agreement and not all Schengen countries are part of the EU. The countries that are part of the Schengen area are the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

  • You Don’t Always Apply At The Embassy Directly

With such high demand for travel visas, many embassies outsource a bulk of the application process to external offices. This means you do not always apply for your Schengen Visa at your destination country’s embassy. This does not mean the embassy and respective consulate don't oversee and process the application process. It simply means they shift some of the basic, routine application steps to someone else to reduce the workload. In such cases, you will likely incur more fees for the external office and must apply for your visa through them. Information on these offices, where to find them, and how to apply through them will likely be listed on your destination country’s website.

  • Schengen Visas Have Limitations

Not all visas are created equal. While the vast majority of Schengen visa types allow you to travel to all countries that are part of the Schengen area, some visas are issued on a more restricted basis. You can be issued a Limited Territorial Validity visa which allows you to enter one or more Schengen countries but not all of them. The limitations of which countries will allow you admission will vary depending on your situation. If you apply for a national visa, a program designed for long-term stay, it will likely be restricted to one nation. The logic is, you are going to this one country for a long term for a specific purpose, and said purpose requires that you not travel outside that specific country.

Prague, Czechia

It is important to understand the rules and regulations of your visa while traveling. This will help you avoid trouble at the border when traveling and help you have a smooth entry and departure. Take the time to understand the type of visa you were issued and the rules associated with it before planning any travel. Also, be sure to check your visa and passport expiry dates before any travel. And, of course, stay safe while abroad.