Visa requirements to enter the Schengen Area
According to the duration and the purpose of stay in Europe, a visa can be required. The European Union issues several kinds of visas that can be split basically in:
- Short-term stay: Categories A/B/ C, and starting from 2021 ETIAS
- Long-term stay: Category D also known as national visas
The duration, as well as the purpose, can also determine how many times and in which way an individual can access the Schengen Zone:
- Single entry visa
- Double entry visa
- Multiple entry visa
- Re-entry visa
Schengen visa Category A
The Schengen visa category A are visas intended for Airport Transit. This type of visa allows its holder to transit across the international zone of airports located inside a Schengen Member Country without actually entering the Schengen Country Area. Airport transit visa is mandatory for people traveling from one non-Schengen state to another using a connection flight departing from a Schengen Country airport.
Schengen visa Category B
Schengen visa belonging to the B category allows Schengen Visa holder to transit for five days through more than one Schengen country with a destination outside the Schengen Zone.
Schengen visa Category C
The Schengen visa of this type is a Short-term visa which allows the holders to stay in a Schengen Country for a period, the validity of the visa determines the maximum duration of the permitted stay in the Schengen Zone. Category C comprehends several visa types:
The Schengen Tourist Visa:
This tourist visa is issued to people who wish to visit a Schengen Zone Member Country for tourist purposes. It's a Schengen visa with a Maximum stay of 90 days per semester.
Schengen Sports Competition Visa:
The permission is granted to athletes (or trainers) invited to participate in competitions inside the European Union. The issuance of this visa is usually requested by the interested sports Federation of the destination country and usually have an expiration date tied to the competition.
Schengen Conference Visa
This conference visa is issued to third-party citizens invited by European Public Agencies, Organizations (public or private but well-known) and Institution to attend in a special public event. The inviting party must sustain all the application costs, and the visa has allows its holder a maximum length of stay of 90 days.
Schengen Medical Treatment Visa:
The medical visa is issued to patients who need to undergo specific medical treatments in Europe with a total period of allowed stay of 90 days per semester.
Schengen Religious Purposes Visa:
The visa for Religious Purposes is issued to ministers of religion belonging to d confessions recognized by Schengen Area Counties.
Schengen Business Visa:
The visa is granted to businessmen/women or any other form of highly skilled professionals who wish to go to Europe for reasons related to their profession.
Single entry Schengen Visa
The Holder of a single entry visa can enter a Schengen country only once for a specific period. Once the Schengen visa holder leaves the Schengen country that issued the permit, the visa loses its validity and expires no matter if the validity period it is not over yet.
Double entry Schengen Visa
In this case, the Schengen visa holder can enter the Schengen country twice during the visa validity period.
Multiple entry Schengen Visa
The Schengen visa holder can enter the Schengen country multiple times for a period of 90 days within six months.
Schengen visa category D
The Schengen visa category D is also known as Schengen National visa. Such visa is granted to the individuals who are entering Europe for reasons of study, work, family reunion and other extended or permanent stay in one of the Schengen countries. The D visa also has a single entry and a multiple entry visa types.
The latter allows its holder to travel throughout the whole Schengen Area without additional visa requirements.
A Schengen visa of this type must match specific criteria and has limitations, for example, international students or workers holding this visa must request an extension every year. Visas under this category are described below:
Family reunion visa
The Family reunion visa is visas intended to reunite family members. It's a National visa, and the Length of stay is variable between 91 and 365 days. Individuals who are being considered as family members are:
- The lawful spouse married under civil law (religious marriages, of any kind)
- The children under 21 years (or financially dependent)
- The parents
There are two types of family reunion visas:
- The first one is issued to the family members wishing to join the spouse/parents/children that are lawfully residing in Europe.
- The second one is issued to the family members wanting to settle in Europe together with the family member who is about to obtain an authorization to work or study in Europe.
EU Citizen’s Family Member Visa
This visa is granted to:
- The spouse of a Schengen Area Country citizen;
- The children of the spouse of the European citizen (under 21 or economically at the charge);
- The parents of the spouse of a Schengen Area Country citizen.
Independent Work Visa
The visa for independent work is destinated to people who wish to move the professional activity (as an entrepreneur, trader or craftsman) or to establish a company in Europe. Visa Applicants have to obtain specific authorizations following the type of activity, and they need to provide proof of previous businesses and an income.
People are lawfully residing in the Schengen Area Countries, having lost their residence permit or passport, can apply for this visa that enables them to return to the Schengen Zone. It's a National visa (type D) with Single entry.
Similarities between ETIAS and Schengen Visa:
Both Schengen and ETIAS visa allows travelers to visit all the Schengen Area Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland plus San Marino, Vatican City and Monaco.
Both Schengen and ETIAS visa allows the holder to transit or stay in a Schengen Country member for up to 90 days for a period of six months.
Differences between ETIAS and Schengen Visa:
Despite the fact it will be mandatory for all travelers, ETIAS is not considered as a traditional visa, but it's mostly considered as a online travel authorisation. ETIAS is valid for multiple entrances in Europe during its validity of 3 years.
Schengen Visa must be requested to the embassy of the Schengen country that the traveler intends to visit, the visa is then granted or declined on a case-by-case basis.
ETIAS or Schengen VISA: which visa do I need?
ETIAS and Schengen Visa has many similarities, every traveler who wants to travel in Europe could face problems trying to understand which travel documents it's exactly needed to cross the European borders.
Before entering into details of differences and similarities of these two travel documents, we need to clarify that ETIAS and Schengen Visa targets nationals of different Counties. All the citizens of Countries included in the Visa Waiver Program (or Visa-Exempted) will require an ETIAS authorisation starting from 2021 to enter the Schengen Area.