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Schengen visas

The Schengen visa allows migrants to travel throughout the 26 EEA countries which make up the Schengen area. This visa is a primarily mean for short stays of 90 days or less. Some countries allow migrants to work with a Schengen visa, though most require the candidate to apply for a standard work permit instead.

A visitor who qualifies for a Schengen visa may travel throughout all countries that are signatories to the Schengen Accord.

Schengen countries

Please Note: Some EU countries - such as the United Kingdom and Ireland – are NOT part of the Schengen Zone, so a Schengen visa will NOT allow entry into those countries.

Countries in the Schengen area include:

  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • the Czech Republic

  • Denmark

  • Estonia

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Hungary

  • Iceland

  • Italy

  • Latvia

  • Lithuania

  • Luxembourg

  • Malta

  • the Netherlands

  • Norway

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Slovakia

  • Slovenia

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • Liechtenstein

Entry into and travel throughout Europe with a Schengen Visa

Schengen visas should be obtained from the consulate of the member country where a visitor plans entry into the Schengen zone and is likely to spend most of his or her time. It is assumed that you will spend most of your time in the country which issued the visa to you, but it is not a requirement.

It is possible to obtain a Schengen visa via the consulate of one Schengen country, enter that country, and then immediately travel to another Schengen country and spend most of your time there. However, countries which notice this practice may in the future deny a Schengen application to people they feel are a risk of abusing the intent of Schengen visas.

Each signatory to the Schengen Accord may decide to grant or deny an application to a person based upon that individual's historical record of behaviour and travel in any other member country. So, it is generally advisable to avoid this practice as much as possible to avoid unnecessary inconvenience.

Single, double, and multiple entry visas

  • A single-entry Schengen visa allows the holder to enter a single Schengen country once. After leaving the country the visa expires regardless of any other factors, such as time spent on the visa.

  • A double-entry Schengen visa allows the holder to enter a Schengen country twice, but expires once they leave the country for a second time.

  • A multiple-entry Schengen visa allows the holder to enter into the country which issues you the visa, and then travel freely throughout all Schengen countries until the visa expires.

Length of stay

The (standard) maximum allowable stay in Schengen countries is 90 days for all member countries within any six-month period. This means that, for example, if a business visitor with a Schengen visa enters Germany on 01 April and stays for 30 days (until 30 April), they may only spend up to 60 more days (for a total of 90) in all Schengen countries before 01 October, including re-entry to Germany. In exceptional cases visas can also be issued for periods of one or two years.

Working and Studying on a Schengen visa

Some countries may issue a category National Schengen visa, which allows the holder to work in that country (but not other countries in the Schengen Area). However, in practice it is usually easier to obtain non-Schengen work permit for these countries.

There is also the multiple-entry National Schengen visa, which allows certain students and highly skilled professionals to travel throughout Schengen countres while working or studying. Again, in most cases it is better to apply for a standard work or study permit for these countries.

People who can be awarded multi-entry Nationa Schengen visas include:

  • International students

  • Highly skilled teachers, academics, and researchers,

  • Some other highly skilled professionals

Further Information, help, and advice has over twenty years of experience helping people immigrate to countries all over the World. Whether you wish to visit, work, study, or hire workers in the European Union our specialist team of immigration experts can help you with one to one advice, information, and representation when applying for your European visa or work permit.

For more information and advice on European immigration law and visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at