About Schengen Visas

Visas, Immigration & Nationality


Everything you need to know about Schengen visas.



Schengen is a small wine-making village and commune at the south-east tip of Luxembourg, on the banks of the river Moselle. The border of the commune borders Germany & France. It is significant as it is the place where an agreement that abolished many of the EU’s internal borders was signed.

The agreement was signed on 14 June 1985. It took effect in 1995 and enabled passport-free movement across most of the European bloc. The Schengen area refers to the EU passport-free zone that covers most of the European countries. It’s the largest free travel area in the world.

EEA (European Economic Area) & European Citizens have the right to travel passport-free & visa-free across the Schengen area.


You can check the latest coronavirus travel restrictions on our blog pages to get the latest information and updates on entry restrictions, testing and quarantine regulations in the EU & Schengen Area. Or start a Schengen visa application for one of our advisors to assist and walk you through the travel restrictions for your destination.


The Schengen Agreement is an arrangement which prompted the formation of Europe’s Schengen Area, in which border checks have generally been cancelled.

Initially, the Schengen Agreement and the principles under it worked autonomously from the European Union. However, in 1999 they were fused into European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty while allowing opt-outs to the main two EU member states that had stayed outside the Area: Ireland and the United Kingdom (prior to Brexit).

The free movement of people is a major right ensured by the EU to its nationals. It allows each EU national to work, live and travel in any EU nation without extraordinary conventions. The Schengen collaboration upgrades this opportunity by empowering natives to cross borders without being put under border checks. The border-free Schengen Area allows the free movement of more than 400 million EU citizens, and many non-EU tourists, citizens, businessmen, and any other citizens in the EU.

In the event that there is a genuine danger to open borders or inward security, a Schengen nation may uncommonly reintroduce border control at its interior outskirts for a restricted time of close to thirty days. On the off chance that such controls are reintroduced, the other Schengen nations, the European Parliament and the Commission ought to be informed about the event, as should the general public. This is what happened during the pandemic, where member states imposed travel bans.

It will only take a minute


For those who need it, a Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows you to travel to any of the Schengen countries that are members of the Schengen Area. You can travel to the Schengen area for business, tourism or other visit purposes for stays up to 90 days with a Schengen visa.

For studies, work, or living in a Schengen country for periods of over 90 days, you must apply for a national visa of that European country and not a Schengen Visa.

Once you enter the Schengen zone, there are no internal border controls and you are free to travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries.

As it is the most common visa used to travel to Europe, more than 15 million people travelled around Europe on a Schengen visa on average each year. The global pandemic dramatically reduced that figure for 2020 and 2021. But airlines are already reporting that 2023 bookings are now higher than 2019 levels.


If you are not an EU or EEA national, you are considered as a national of third-country. If your country has not agreed to visa-liberalisation with the Schengen member states, you will need to obtain a visa before arriving in Europe.

From 2022, even countries that have come to a visa liberalisation agreement will also need to apply for an ETIAS before travelling to Europe. UK nationals will also need to apply for an ETIAS after Brexit. Find out more about ETIAS.

To find out if you need a Schengen Visa to travel to one of the Schengen member countries, check out; who needs to apply for a Schengen Visa prior to travel to the EU and Schengen Area.



As a non-EU/Schengen country national, when you arrive at the Schengen port of entry border, you have to present your usual documents to enter. The documents an immigration officer will usually ask for when entering the Schengen Area are:

• A Valid Passport issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU.
• A Schengen Visa, If you are a third-country national in need of a visa.

Some immigration border officers may also ask to see your travel insurance, proof of accommodation, return ticket out of the Schengen zone and other documents used to obtain your Schengen visa. Even if you are from a country that is exempt from getting a Schengen visa, you may still be asked for these documents to prove your intentions.

Your passport should be stamped with an entry stamp. This is relevant to prove the time you spend in the Schengen area so you can calculate that you do not overstay. If it isn’t stamped, you could be fined, detained or refused entry for overstaying in the Schengen area at a later date by another officer when they look for it. Please, make sure you get an entry and exit stamp.


Although the Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985, the genuine execution of the Schengen Area began on 26 March 1995, with 7 Schengen member nations: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain chose to cancel their inner border checks.

From that point forward, the Schengen Area began a quick growth pattern. Joining the original 7 Schengen member countries on 28 April 1995 was Austria. Then on 19 December 1996, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden were the new 5 nations to be part of the Schengen Agreement. Then again, drove by the example of seven previously mentioned nations, in October, Italy and in December 1997, Austria nullified their inward border controls.

Another real advance appeared for the Schengen Agreement, when in May 1999 “The Treaty of Amsterdam” joined the understanding inside the legitimate system of the European Union, as in the past the Schengen Agreement and tenets set by the agreement were separate from the European Union and were working independently.

The growth of the Schengen Area proceeded with its prosperous voyage as on January 2000, Greece and on March 2001, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, on 16 April 2003 Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia and on October 2004 Switzerland were the new 15 that joined as part of the Schengen Agreement. This fruitful story did not end there, as on December 2007 the countries mentioned above, announced the abolishment of their land and ocean, and on March 2008 of the air terminal border controls.

On February 2008, Liechtenstein was the 26th and the last nation so far to consent to the Schengen Arrangement and grow to be a part of the Schengen Area.

Get Your Schengen Visa!


The Schengen zone now includes the 26 countries that have signed the Schengen agreement. Citizens of member countries can travel within the zone freely, without passing through passport and border controls. Croatia and {LIST OF EU COUNTRIES SEEKING TO JOIN} are EU countries that are in the process of trying to join the Schengen zone.

Each member country of the Schengen zone can issue Schengen visas.

There are currently 26 countries which are part of the Schengen Agreement. More countries are lining up to join the Schengen area. The are countries that issue a Schengen visas:

There is also a minimum 18 non Schengen countries you can visit with a Schengen visa, regardless of your nationality. You only have to show them a valid multiple-entry Schengen Visa. There are even more countries for you can visit with a Schengen visa depending on your nationality. You do not need a national visa issued from these countries to enter, transit or stay in their territory temporarily.

Being a part of the European Union (EU) is not irrefutably related with an enrolment into the Schengen Area, but it is an unavoidable stride that most countries aim for. The countries which are a part of the EU but are unable to be a part of the Schengen Agreement are due to the reason of being subjected to uncertain political issues.

Joining the Schengen Area is not just a political choice. Nations should likewise satisfy a list of pre-conditions, for example, each member should and have the ability to:

• Assume liability for controlling the outer borders in the interest of the other Schengen States and for issuing uniform Schengen visas
• Cooperate efficiently with law enforcement organisations in the other Schengen States, keeping in mind the end goal to maintain a high level of state of security once the borders between Schengen nations are removed
• Apply the common arrangement of Schengen rules, for example, controls of land, ocean and air borders (air terminals), issuing of visas, police participation and assurance of individual information. This is also known as the “Schengen acquis
• Participate in and utilise the SIS (Schengen Information System).

Candidate nations experience a “Schengen assessment” before joining the Schengen Area and intermittently from that point to guarantee the right utilisation of the enactment. Currently, the candidate counties are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area.

Get a Schengen Visa! Without the hassle


Family members of EU/EEA nationals and current residents of Schengen states can get away with not having to apply for a visa to travel to Europe. But If you plan on visiting one or more European countries in the Schengen area, you should apply for a Schengen Visa for the following reasons:

Business purposes
Visiting friends and family
Tourism and holidays
Cultural and sports events
Airport transit and transit for seafarers
Official visit
Medical reasons
Short-term study and research purposes

You will be issued a Schengen visa depending on your reasons for visiting the Schengen countries and the frequency of your visits. The European Union has advised member states make provisions to issue more multiple entry visas for travellers that demonstrate the need and historical travel records. The Schengen consulate can therefore issue you a single-entry visa, double-entry visa, or a multiple-entry visa.

A single-entry visa will depend on the number of days you stated on your application form that you were going to be in the Schengen zone and the decision of the visa officer at the consulate that issues you a Schengen visa. Some consulates generally issue you longer period visas whereas others tend to issue shorter lengths.

If you travel regularly, you may be able to get an EU visa valid for up to 5 years, but you have to keep in mind that you cannot stay within the Schengen Area for more than 90 days in a 180-day period of time even if you hold a multiple-entry visa for Europe valid for up to 5 years. You will also need to make sure that you have valid travel insurance everytime you are in the Schengen zone.

Get Your Schengen Visa Now!


Once you have decided to travel to Europe and you have a plan of where you intend to visit and for what purpose, and how long, you can then start the process to get a visa. The process has been simplified further by IaM if you want apply for a Schengen Visa to travel to Europe. The first step is to figure out if you need one or not depending on your purpose of travel and your nationality.

If you need a visa and are happy to apply, then you need to check out all the Europe visa application requirements and start the application with IaM or start the process of setting up a visa appointment at one of the Schengen consulates yourself. Check out our guide on how to apply for a Schengen visa.


The cost of a Schengen visa fee is €80 per adult. The fee has been increased in January 2020 and was the last increase in over 10 years. Children and people of certain nationalities can sometimes pay a lower fee or no fee at all.

Check out the list of Schengen Visa fees and Schengen visa service fees to work out an exact price and if you may benefit from reduced visa fees or that are exempt from paying  a fee altogether.


A Flight itinerary is a confirmation of your flight booking, which can be verified by the Schengen consulate about the schedule of your flight booking.

Learn more about how to get a flight itinerary for visa application!


Travel insurance for your Schengen visa is essentially medical insurance. It ensures that you are not a burden on any or all of the Schengen states shall you need medical insurance. 

Your Travel Medical Insurance should be valid for your whole stay in the Schengen Area, for the whole of the Schengen area and with a minimum coverage of 30,000 EUR for medical emergencies.

Find out about how to choose a Schengen visa insurance!


Accommodation proof is your hotel or other accommodation booking confirmation that lists your name and your expected stay. You need to submit a confirmed document which shows where you will stay for your whole trip in the Schengen Area. If you are staying in multiple places, you need to provide proof of each place.

Check out how to get Proof of Accommodation for Visa Application!

Avoid a visa refusal! No more uncertainties in your Schengen visa application


For more information about visa requirements and application process for US, UK, Canadian and Australian residents, please read the following articles:


Due to the coronavirus disrupting worldwide travel, the US issued a travel ban for all travellers from the EU and Schengen zone. The EU additionally also issued a travel ban to all countries, including the US, Russia and Brazil. 

Eventually, the EU and European countries opened borders and a list has been created of countries from which travellers can travel from into the Europe’s Schengen zone. The EU Council’s list of epidemiologically safe third-countries is a list of non-EU/EEA countries which are considered safe amid the Coronavirus pandemic, due to the low rates of infections. Most Schengen countries are now open to all countries with limitations on travellers from China which recently cancelled all covid restrictions.

Learn more about EU safe countries list & reopening of the borders in Europe.

Travel to Europe Easily on a Schengen Visa

Getting a Schengen visa can feel overwhelming. There are numerous documents and requirements to fulfill. It’s easy to get discouraged when faced with the doubts & uncertainties. The obstacles, like getting the correct documents or getting an appointment to submit the application process could be the deciding factor to you being able to travel.

At IaM, we understand these challenges and have helped countless travelers like you overcome them. Whether it’s navigating the complexities of visa regulations or overcoming the fear of rejection, we’ve got your back.

Imagine the feeling of relief and excitement when you hold that coveted visa in your hand, knowing that you’ve conquered the challenges that once held you back. We hope to be part of your transformation from a hesitant traveler to a confident adventurer, ready to explore all that Europe has to offer.  …Let us help you achieve that transformation.


You’re in Good Company

Some of our Clients