The Schengen visa has made travelling between its 24 European member countries much easier and less
bureaucratic than before. Travelling on a Schengen visa means that the visa holder can travel to any (or all) member countries using one single visa, thus avoiding the hassle and expense of obtaining
individual visas for each country. This is particularly beneficial for persons who wish to visit several European countries on the same trip. The Schengen visa is a “visitor visa”. It is issued to
citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa before entering Europe.
The Schengen visa is a “visitor visa”. It is issued to citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa before entering Europe, as listed below. The purpose of the visit must be leisure, tourism, or business. Upon the issuance of the visa, the visa holder is allowed to enter all member countries and travel freely throughout the Schengen area. It is strongly recommended to plan your journey within the timeframe of the Schengen Visa, as extensions can be very difficult to obtain, thus forcing you to leave to stay in compliance with the Schengen Rules and Regulations. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period.
Almost all nationalities outside of Europe except Australia, Canada, Japan New Zealand, and South Korea require a Schengen Visa to visit France.
If you are from one of the following countries you will need to apply at the embassy in person:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Burundi, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran , Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar, N. Korea, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Travel Document holders (1951 Convention), Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Surinam, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe (for France only).
All Schengen countries are in Europe. However, it should not be confused with the European Union (EU). Schengen and EU are two different agreements between European countries. A total of 30 countries, including all European Union countries (except Ireland and United Kingdom) and three non-EU members (Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland) have signed the Schengen agreement. However, only 24 countries have implemented the common border control and visa provisions.
Important: The Schengen Visa holders are not allowed to live permanently or work in
Starting from 11 February 2017, when the previous decision expires, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway should prolong proportionate temporary border controls for a maximum period of three months at the following internal borders:
Where do you apply?
1. If you intend to visit only one Schengen country, you must apply at the Embassy or Consulate of that particular country. You apply at the Embassy or Consulate in whose jurisdiction you are a permanent resident.
2. If you intend to visit several Schengen countries, you must apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country that is your main destination.
3. If you intend to visit several Schengen countries but do not have a main destination, you should apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of the country that is your first point of entry.
4. If you do not need a visa for the Schengen country, which is your main destination or first point of entry, please note that you may require a visa for other Schengen countries you wish to visit. You should then apply at the Embassy or Consulate of the first Schengen country that does require you to have a visa.
Applying within the U.K.
If you are applying for your Schengen visa within the UK please bear in mind:
A uniform visa application form is used by all members of the Schengen countries. The application form is available in five languages and downloadable here. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed to be able to view and print this form.
To download a free Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here