Europe has a lot of exotic places the avid traveler would love to visit. From the more popular cities like Amsterdam and Paris to more exotic vacation destinations like Santorini and Venice; there is no doubt that Europe boast of features that would make any traveler excited. If you plan on visiting these some of these beautiful countries, you will need a Schengen visa. Imagine having one visa that allows you to visit up to 26 countries in Europe? That’s the power of a Schengen visa; it allows you a short stay to visit up to 26 countries in the Schengen area of Europe. The countries in Schengen area 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 and Switzerland. These countries have no border controls between them.
There are basically 3 different types of Schengen visas namely; Uniform Schengen, Limited territorial validity, and National visas. There are also tourists, business, students, workers transit visas.
Uniform Schengen Visa
This type allows you travel or transit the Schengen region for a maximum of 90 days (3 months) every 6 month period. The Uniform Schengen visa applies to two categories – ‘A’ and ‘C’.
- Airport Transit– Category “A”
This allows you travel through the international airport of a Schengen state but doesn’t allow you enter the Schengen Country Area. Say for example, you’re traveling from Nigeria to Canada but have a stopover flight in Germany, the airport transit visa is mandatory for that stop over.
- Short-term (Tourist) – Category “C”
This allows you stay in one or more Schengen states for a time dependent on the visa validity. If you will be traveling a lot and not only in one Schengen country it’s recommendable to fill in the “multiple entry” gap in the application form. This way you will be able to enter and leave Schengen Zone as you please for the amount of time allowed on your visa.
Short-term visa (Business)
If you’re travelling with the sole purpose of doing business within the Schengen zone, you can apply for a short-term Schengen visa under “business” specification. Just like for tourists, if you will be travelling to more than one country within the Schengen zone fill in the “multiple entry” gap in the application form.
This particular category, according to your purpose of the travel can be obtained different forms as follows:
- Single entry visa – allowing you enter any of the Schengen states only once for the duration of validity. Even if you have time left on the visa, once you have visited, you can’t come back using the same visa.
- Double entry visa – Just like the single entry, but you are allowed to enter any of the Schengen states twice, meaning you can enter the Schengen zone, leave and enter again without any problems. Once you are out of the zone for the second time, the visa becomes invalid irrespective of whether the expiration date has lapsed or not
- Multiple entry visa – having this visa allows you go in and out of the Schengen zone as you please. However, you can’t stay more than 3 months (90 days) for every 6 months.
Limited Territorial Validity Visas
This type only permits you to enter the country which issued the visa or in some other cases, in the certain Schengen States specifically mentioned during the application process. Apart from the countries stated in your application, the limited territorial validity visa is invalid to any other Schengen country not specified prior. As a result you cannot enter or transit through any other Schengen country that is not the first and final destination target. If on your application you only include Spain and Sweden, you cannot expect to visit Netherlands or Germany with the same visa.
The national visa of “D” category is mostly issued for purpose of study or work or in some rare case permanent residence application. This can be of a single entry or multi-entry.
- Student Visa
This is usually issued to students who are already accepted at a certified educational establishment within the Schengen zone. Usually, students who wish to study in a country within the Schengen zone will have to apply for a Schengen visa. If the duration of your study is longer than 90 days as it happens with most of students then you will have to apply for a residency permit so you can reside in the designated country to study for a period of one whole year. This permit can be renewed yearly until the end of your study.
One good thing about the residency permit is that it allows you to freely travel throughout the whole Schengen area, without any additional documents needed, so do all the travelling you can before it elapses.
You will have to submit your application at the embassy of the country where you will be starting your studies. Processing time takes anytime from 1 – 3 months.
- Working Visa
If you aim to engage in any work activity in the Schengen zone you must apply and get a residence permit before entering the territories. The National Schengen visa allows you to work in the country you applied to (but not other countries in the Schengen Area). Holding this kind of visa also allows you travel through the Schengen countries while working.
- Airport transit -N26,858
- Short stay Schengen (less than 90 days) – N26,858
- Long stay (more than 90 days) – N44,764
- Visa fees for children (6 – 12 years old) – N15,667
List of documents needed for Schengen visa application
These documents are the basic requirements most Schengen visa applications need to submitted with
- A filled out and signed application form
- One recently taken passport photo with a light background.
- Your e-passport valid for at least 3 months prior to your travel date and it must have at least two blank pages.
- A copy of your return ticket reservation
- Travel visa insurance policy, it has to cover expenses up to 30,000 Euros.
- Proof of Accommodation
- Your bank statement (preferably for the last 6 months)
- Personal covering letter explaining the purpose of the visit (leisure, work, business, education or to visit a relative/friend
Additional documents for Business Schengen visa
- A short profile of the applicant’s working place (company/organization)
- Business license
- A letter from your employer meticulously describing the purpose of the travel as well as the itinerary of the days to be spent within the Schengen zone.
- The invitation letter from the partner company in the Schengen zone. This letter has to appear as an invitation to attend meetings or other relevant events matching trade, industry or work.
- If there were previous trade relations between the two companies, show proof of such an event.
Additional documents for Student Schengen visa
- Proof that you can support your stay in the Schengen zone. E.g. Cash in convertible currency, foreign currency account or any other means that guarantees funds in hard currency.
- Proof regarding your accommodation.
- Medical/travel insurance valid for your entire stay in the Schengen country
- Letter of acceptance from your university
- A bank receipt to prove you have paid the processing fee
Additional documents for Working Schengen visa
- The employment contract between the applicant and the future employer residing in the Schengen territory
*Depending on the embassy that you will be applying to and the kind of visa you will be applying for, they might require additional documents to assure the request and the information are genuine.
Where to submit your application
You should apply at the embassy of the country that you intend to visit, or if you plan to visit more than one Schengen State, the embassy of the country where you will be entering first or residing the most of the days of your trip. It is advisable to apply at least 3 weeks prior to the planned trip. The embassy will then reply in 10 working days or less. Below are contact details of some Schengen embassies in Nigeria where you can submit your application, you may need to book an appointment prior to submitting.
37 Udi Street Off Aso Drive, Quarter Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria
9 Lake Maracaibo Close, Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria
No 6, Seguela Street, Wuse II, Abuja, Nigeria
Embassy of Finland, Nigeria
9 Iro Dan Musa Street, Asokoro, Abuja
European Union Crescent, CBD, Garki, Abuja.
VFS Global, Manor House, Plot 110, Admiral Ayinla Way, (Opposite Treasure Garden Estate, 3rd Roundabout, Lekki-Epe Expressway), Lekki Phase I, Lagos.
Belgium Visa Application Center, Abuja
38, Lobito Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja.
Belgium Website: http://www.vfsglobal-be-ng.com/
Royal Norwegian Embassy in Abuja
54, T.Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro, Abuja, Nigeria