Many of our foreign passport holders have contacted the Swift Team with questions about Schengen visas. Obtaining a Schengen visa can be tricky, but here are the basics to get you started.
Lets start by defining Schengen Member countries that require a Schengen visa. The Schengen Area is comprised of 26 European countries that have a shared, common visa policy. The Schengen area consists of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Switzerland. Tourist or business travelers traveling to ANY of the countries are subject to one single visa policy for all of these countries. 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 timeframe.
Who needs a Schengen visa?
The citizens of the non-Schengen member countries are requested a mandatory Schengen Visa in order to enter the Schengen Zone. There are exceptions to this rule, however: for some countries that are not yet part of the Schengen Agreement aren’t required a visa to enter the Schengen zone.
The list of the countries that need a visa to enter the Schengen Area can be found here.
If you require a Schengen visa, you will need to apply for that visa in person. TYPICALLY, you will be required to apply at the foreign consulate of the Schengen country you will enter first OR at the foreign consulate of the Schengen country where you intend to spend the most time. For this reason, Swift does not assist with Schengen visa processing.
If you require a Schengen visa, you will need to apply for that visa in person at the appropriate Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. TYPICALLY, you will be required to apply at the foreign consulate of the Schengen country you will enter first OR at the foreign consulate of the Schengen country where you intend to spend the most time. For this reason, Swift does not assist with Schengen visa processing. To get started, we suggest contacting the foreign consulate website for details.
- If you intend to visit only one Schengen country, apply to the Embassy or Consulate of that country.
- If you intend to visit several of the Schengen countries, you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country in which your main destination is situated (longest duration of stay).
- If you intend to visit several of the Schengen countries without having a main destination, you should apply for the visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the first Schengen country on your travel itinerary that requires you to have a visa.
Requirements for a Schengen visa may vary slightly between the different Schengen missions. Please note that only applications with all supporting documents will be accepted. In some cases further documents and guarantees may be required with your application.
For a more detailed explanation of Schengen visas, you can visit the Swift Passport Schengen Visa Page.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.