What Are Passport Requirements When Applying for a Schengen Visa?
When travelling to the Schengen Area as a third-country national, you must hold a valid travel document (passport).
Even if the Schengen Area is a travel zone without borders between the 27 Member States, it is mandatory to show your passport to the border control officers when entering your Schengen destination country.
A passport is an official travel document issued by the government of your country of citizenship that certifies your identity and nationality and enables you to travel to and from foreign countries.
Regardless of the country that issued your travel document, your passport should contain the following information:
- Your personal details (e.g., your full name, date and place of birth, gender)
- Passport number (a unique number assigned to your passport that identifies it as belonging to you)
- Date of issue and expiration (this indicated when your passport was issued and when it will expire)
- Photo (your picture must be included in your passport in order to verify your identity)
- Citizenship (this indicates the country that has issued your passport and confirms that you are a citizen of that country)
- Signature (you must put your signature on your passport)
- Visas and entry/exit stamps (your passport can contain Visas that allow you to stay in a foreign country for a specific period of time. It can also contain entry/exit stamps that show when you entered and left a country)
When applying for a Schengen Visa, your passport must meet the following requirements:
- It must be a valid travel document
- It should not be more than 10 years old
- It must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you plan to leave the Schengen Area (or 3 months beyond the last day of stay in case of multiple entries)
- It should have at least two blank pages where your visa sticker can be affixed
The Importance of Your Passport for Your Schengen Visa Application
Holding a passport is an essential requirement when applying for a Schengen Visa because your passport serves as proof of your identity and citizenship.
When submitting your application, the Embassy or Consulate is using your passport to verify your identity and determine your eligibility to enter the Schengen Area.
This is because holding a valid passport indicates that you have obtained permission to travel from the government of your country of citizenship.
Additionally, holding a valid passport is an essential requirement because your passport is the official document where the Embassy officers attach your Schengen Visa sticker.
How to Get a Passport for Your Schengen Visa Application
If your passport has expired or you don’t have one yet, make sure you apply for a passport well in advance.
Depending on several factors such as your country of citizenship or the demand for passport services, it can take between a few weeks and several months to get your passport (especially if priority slots are difficult to obtain).
For example, if you are currently residing in a country other than your own, you must apply for a passport at the Embassy or the Consulate of your country located in your current place of residence.
In that case, the process of getting a passport can take several months. This is because your passport is issued by your country of citizenship and then sent via secure mail or courier to the Embassy you applied to.
Some countries allow you to get an urgent, express, or emergency passport, but it’s always a good idea to plan your Schengen trip in advance and make sure you hold a valid passport before collecting other required documents.
Typically, you can get a passport from one of the following places:
- Passport agency or centre of your country
- Passport acceptance facility (this can be a post office or other local government office which accepts passport applications)
- Embassy or consulate of your country of citizenship (if you are a resident of a country other than your country of citizenship)
Make sure you check the specific procedures and requirements for obtaining a passport in your country, as they can vary depending on your location and personal situation.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Submitting Your Passport for Your Schengen Visa Application
- Not checking your passport validity – As we mentioned before, your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date of departure from the Schengen Area (or the last day of stay in case of multiple entries).
- Submitting a damaged passport – The Embassy or Consulate may not accept a damaged passport. Damage includes pages that have been torn or removed, water damage or other stains, cover detached from the pages, etc.
- Not having enough blank pages – If your passport does not have at least two blank pages to affix the Schengen Visa sticker, your application may be rejected.
- Submitting a passport that is more than 10 years old – Passports issued by some countries can be valid for more than 10 years, as they add the remaining validity of the previous passport to the new passport’s 10-year validity period. If your passport falls into this category, you must seek passport renewal because Schengen Embassies do not accept passports that are more than 10 years old.