Schengen Visa FAQ

The Schengen Agreement provides a unique visa system granting entry to Schengen countries. They even make it easier to enter countries non in the Schengen area that have the system set up to do so. In this FAQ article, you’ll get some basic facts on the Schengen visa.

Schengen Visa

Table of contents

Schengen visa countries

The Schengen area countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

This includes most EU states (exceptions are Ireland, Croatia, and Bulgaria), Norway, and Iceland.

Schengen visa policy

Citizens from non-EU countries, if their country or individual conditions do not exempt them, are required to hold a valid visa when traveling to the Schengen Area. Generally, a short-stay visa issued by one of the Schengen States entitles its holder to travel throughout the 26 Schengen States for up to 90 days in 180-day period. Visas for stays exceeding that period remain subject to national procedures.

Four general Schengen visa types

These are the four principal Schengen visa categories:

Schengen visa entry and exit rules

With a single-entry visa you can enter the Schengen area only once. This is indicated on the visa sticker under the heading "Number of entries" by number "1". A two-entry or a multiple-entry visa allows for two or several entries during the validity of the visa. This is written on the visa sticker by "02" or "MULT" under the "Number of entries" text.

Your exit from the Schengen area must not exceed the validity date or on completion of your permitted stay duration. If you are exiting the zone with a multiple entry visa, you will be able to re-enter as long as your visa is still valid and that you do not break the visa policy.

Schengen visa rules for multiple entry

With a visa allowing for two or multiple entries, you may enter twice or several times during its validity. This is indicated by “MULT”. If you hold a multiple entry visa, you will be able to re-enter the area as long as your visa is still valid and that you do not break the 90/180 rule.

For example, let's say you have multiple Schengen visas valid from January 1, 2022, to June 30, 2022. Suppose you stay in the Schengen area for 30 days after entry, leave, return to that area after 50 days, stay for 15, and leave again for 100 days. Technically, you will only spend 45 days in the Schengen area, which is significantly less than the 90-day limit. However, since your visa expires on June 30, 2020, its limit will be exceeded and you will not be able to re-enter the Schengen area with the same permit.

Your multiple entry visa status is noted n the visa sticker by "02" or "MULT" under the heading "Number of entries".

Schengen Visa essential requirements

Here are the basic documental requirements:

The Schengen visa application process

Here are the general steps of applying for a Schengen visa:

Find where to apply

First, determine where is your "destination country":

Once you have determined, get applying at the relevant embassy, consulate, or visa processing agency.

Fill out your application form and gather your documents

Get an application form and collect the documentation as mentioned in the previous section.

Book an appointment

Depending on the destination country and the place in which you plan to apply for your visa, you may be able to book your visa appointment online. Visit their website or contact them for the exact information.

Attend your appointment and interview

Make sure to show up on time to your appointment.

In the interview, you will be asked questions related to your planned trip, as well as some of your personal details to make sure that you are traveling to Europe based on the purpose you wrote on the form and can support yourself during your trip.

So don’t be surprised if the consular employee asks you about your personal life, as long as it’s proper: it’s just to confirm that you have ties to your home country that implies that you will come back home and not stay in Europe.

Pay the Schengen visa fee

Different embassies/consulates and application centers may have different visa payment methods. In general, you must have your passport with you during payment to confirm your identity.

Wait for your visa decision

Now all that’s left is to wait whether your visa will be accepted. If it is, make sure to pay attention that everything is according to your travel plans and the dates on your visa. In case of negative decision, read the reason for rejection. If you think the denial was a mistake, you may appeal the decision.

Schengen visa cost

The general visa fee of EUR 80 must be paid when submitting the visa application. The visa cost for children from the age of six years and below the age of 12 years is EUR 40. The price may be higher if you apply through a visa center or a travel agency.

Schengen visa photo requirements

Make sure your application photo fulfills these requirements:

Read More: Schengen Visa Photo Online: Take Visa Photo At Home

Here is an example Schengen visa photo:

Example of Schengen visa photo

You can use our online ID photo editor to get a compliant Schengen visa photo. Simply upload your portrait taken in full-face under decent light. Visafoto will instantly edit the size, the background, and the format and prepare the image for printing.

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport or ID.
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Source photo example that you need to take in order to make a passport or visa photo at


Result example: a correct visa or passport photo that you will receive

Follow the dress code and posing rules in your photo. Make sure you take your photo in decent lighting.

Оriginal photo

You will have two types of photos: a digital one for electronic applications and another one suitable for printing.

Here they are:

Example photo for Schengen visa
Photos for Schengen visa for printing

Schengen visa processing time

Usually, it takes 15 days to process a Schengen visa. However, Schengen visa processing time may vary in some specific situations. There are edge cases where the visa processing time may be extended to 30 days after the interview or, in some particular situations, to 60 days.

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