Have you decided to go to Europe, no matter your travel purpose?
We’re glad to hear that.
Europe is full of beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities that are great to visit (even if you are not travelling for tourism purposes).
However, you must first know what type of Schengen Visa is right for you.
You may think: “Why do I need to know what type of Schengen Visa suits me? The Visa officers should know this better than me.”
You are right. The Visa officers know what Schengen Visa type suits you according to your travel purpose.
Still, it would help if you knew what Schengen Visa type you need to be sure you are submitting the correct documents.
Every Embassy and Consulate has different requirements according to your travel purpose, source of funding, and personal situation.
Therefore, we strongly suggest you spare a few minutes and read this post to ensure you are applying for the proper Visa.
Table of contents:
- What are the 3 main types of Schengen Visas?
- Schengen Visa: Type A, C, and D
2.1. Schengen Visa Type-A
2.2. Schengen Visa Type-C
2.3. Schengen Visa Type-D
1. What Are The 3 Main Types Of Schengen Visas?
The Schengen Visa type you must apply for is related to the nature of your trip to Europe and other significant circumstances.
According to EC Regulation no. 810/2009, three main categories of Schengen Visa are available:
- Uniform Schengen Visa (short-stay USV)
Uniform Schengen Visas enable you to travel and reside in the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days each six months, starting from your entry date.
For further information concerning the 90/180-day rule, please visit this link.
Important note: If you need to spend less than 90 days in Europe, you must specify the duration of your stay when applying for your Visa. The Embassy officers will print these details on the Visa sticker they will affix to your passport or travel document.
For example, if you need to spend 18 days in the Schengen Zone, you will get a Visa that allows you to stay 18 days on the Schengen countries’ territory (and not 90).
- Limited Territorial Validity (LTV) Visa
The Limited Territorial Validity (LTV) Visa is not very common.
This Visa type allows you to travel only to the Schengen country that has issued your Visa or the countries you specify when applying for your Visa.
Your LTV Visa will not be valid in other Schengen countries.
Typically, Embassies issue LTV Visas for international obligations or humanitarian reasons and they are considered an exception to the standard Uniform Schengen Visa system.
- Schengen National Visa (long-stay Visa)
Most of the time, Embassies grant National long-stay Visas to people studying, working, or residing permanently in a Schengen country.
A national long-stay Schengen Visa enables you to stay for up to one year in Europe.
Typically, people holding this Visa type must apply for a Schengen Visa extension every year (if applicable).
Please note that Embassies and Consulates issue long-stay Visas under Schengen national legislations.
Most of the time, holders of a National Visa must apply for a residence permit in the Schengen country where they will be travelling.
2. Schengen Visa: Type A, C, and D
Schengen Visas apply to three different categories: A, C, D.
You may be asking: “Is there any type-B Schengen Visa?”
That’s a great question.
More than ten years ago, Embassies and Consulates issued type-B Schengen Visas for applicants travelling for “transit” purposes.
The type-B Schengen Visa allowed its holder to travel through the Schengen Zone to a non-Schengen country by any means of transport as long as the travel lasted no more than five days.
However, the type-B Schengen Visa has been replaced by type-C with the condition “transit”, meaning there is no Type-B Schengen Visa anymore.
According to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official website, “as of 5 April 2010, Transit visas are all type C“.
2.1. Schengen Visa Type-A
The type-A Schengen Visa allows you to transit through or wait for a connecting flight in an airport’s international zone located in a Schengen country.
This Visa type does not allow you to enter the Schengen Territory. For example, you cannot exit the airport to stay at a hotel or visit the airport’s surrounding area.
When should you get a Type-A Schengen Visa?
You need to apply for a type-A Schengen Visa when travelling to a non-Schengen country and need to change flight at a Schengen airport to reach your final destination.
For this reason, the type-A Schengen Visa is also called Airport Transit Visa (ATV).
For example, suppose you are a Russian citizen travelling from Russia to Brazil (Russian citizens need to get a Schengen Visa and Brazil is a non-Schengen country) and have a connecting flight to Brazil from an airport in Spain (which is part of the Schengen Area).
In that case, you must hold a type-A Schengen Visa. You can wait at the airport for as much time as needed, but you cannot exit the airport’s transit area.
Please note that this is just an example as rules concerning the type-A Schengen Visa vary according to the Schengen country and the citizenship of the individuals who must get a Visa to enter the Schengen Zone.
Important: Not everyone needs to apply for a type-A Schengen Visa when changing flight at a Schengen Airport.
The Schengen Member States have made a narrow list of countries whose citizens need to request this Visa type, so be sure to check with the Embassy or Consulate of the country you will transit through.
We recommend you read this post for further information about the Airport Transit Visa: Who Needs a Schengen Visa to Go to Europe (and who doesn’t)?
2.2. Schengen Visa Type-C
A type-C Schengen Visa allows you to spend up to 90 days within the Schengen Zone over six months (180-day period).
Type-C Visas vary according to the number of entries:
A single-entry type-C Schengen Visa allows you to stay in Europe for up to 90 days. Once you leave the Schengen Area, you can no longer come back by using the same Visa.
For example, suppose you hold a single-entry Visa with a 30 days duration of stay.
In this case, you can enter the Schengen Area for a maximum of 30 days. Once you exit the Schengen Area, you can no longer return by using the same Visa.
A double-entry type-C Schengen Visa allows you to enter the Schengen Area, exit it, and enter it once more, as long as you don’t spend more than 90 days over six months (180-day period) in Europe.
For example, suppose you hold a double-entry Schengen Visa with 90 days duration of stay.
In this case, you can spend 45 days in the Schengen Area, go back to your country of residence, and spend another 45 days within the Schengen Area.
From the moment you enter the Schengen Area for the first time using your double-entry Visa and the moment you exit it for the last time using the same type of Visa, does not have to pass more than 180 days.
A multiple-entry type-C Schengen Visa allows you to enter and leave the Schengen Area as many times as you want, as long as you don’t spend more than 90 days over six months (180-day period) in Europe.
For example, suppose you have a multiple-entry Schengen Visa with 60 days duration of stay. In this case, you can spend 20 days in the Schengen Area, exit it, enter it again and spend 20 days, then leave it and enter it once more for another 20 days.
From the moment you enter the Schengen Area for the first time using your multiple-entry Visa and the moment you exit it for the last time using the same type of Visa, does not have to pass more than 180 days.
When should you get a type-C Schengen Visa?
You need to apply for a type-C Schengen Visa when you are travelling for one of the following purposes:
Tourism is the most common travel purpose.
Embassies and Consulates will issue this Visa type for you if you’re travelling to the Schengen Zone to visit tourist attractions and learn more about the Schengen countries’ culture.
Are you travelling to carry out business activities? For example, are you travelling to attend a business meeting, visit suppliers and manufacturers or visit a company that might buy your products and services?
Then a type-C Business Visa is right for you.
- Medical reasons
You can apply for this Visa type if you are travelling to your Schengen destination country to seek medical care.
However, you must first submit proof of your medical conditions and demonstrate that you cannot receive treatment in your country of residence.
Please note that even though you travel for medical reasons, you must still hold Schengen Visa insurance for health emergencies.
Are you a pupil or student and want to attend an educational course (e.g., university or language courses) in the Schengen Area for a period shorter than three months?
In this case, you should request a type-C Schengen Visa for study purposes.
Please note that if you plan on studying for a period longer than three months, you should apply for a “D-Type National Visa ”, which allows its holder to stay in the Schengen Territory for the entire duration of studies.
- Family or friends visit
You can apply for this Visa if you have family members or friends who are citizens or residents of a Schengen country and plan to visit them.
You can apply for this Visa type whether your family member or friend will provide you with accommodation or not during your stay in the Schengen Area.
- Cultural/sports/religious events and film crews
Do you need to travel as part of a film crew or attend a cultural, sports, or religious event in the European Union and Schengen Zone?
You can request a type-C Schengen Visa if you have a specific role in a film crew. You can also get this Visa type if you’re part of any particular event (e.g., you are a singer and must perform in a concert).
- Official Visit
You can apply for this Visa type if you are a foreigner travelling to the Schengen Area on official duty (for example, you are a diplomat).
Embassies and Consulates issue this Visa type for service or diplomatic passports (and not ordinary passports).
This Visa type is similar to the Airport Transit Visa (ATV).
As we mentioned previously, Embassies and Consulates have replaced type-B transit Visas with type-C Visas for transit purposes.
Thus, you should not get confused between this type of Visa (the one that has become a type-C “transit” Visa) and a type-A Airport Transit Visa.
Embassies and Consulates issue type-C Visas for transit to people who need to stop for short periods while travelling through a Schengen Country to a non-Schengen country.
For example, this Visa type is right for you if you travel by the seaport of one Member State.
This type of Visa allows you to spend up to 5 days within the Schengen Area.
Do you travel to the Schengen Area frequently?
In this case, you may apply and obtain one of the following multiple-entry type C Visas:
- One year multiple-entry Schengen Visa: To get the 1-year MEV, you must prove that you had three or more Schengen Visas within the previous two years.
- 3-year multiple-entry Schengen Visa: You can get a 3-year MEV if you prove that you used a previous multiple-entry Visa valid for one year within the past two years.
- 5-year multiple-entry Schengen Visa: To get a 5-year MEV, you must prove that you used a previous multiple-entry visa valid for at least two years within the last three years.
All 3 of the above visas (1-year, 3-year, and 5-year multi-entry Visa) permit you to enter the Schengen Zone as many times as you wish within 1, 3, or 5 years, as long as you do not violate the 90/180-day period rule.
2.3. Schengen Visa Type-D
A type-D Schengen Visa (or National Visa) enables you to stay for up to one year in the Schengen Area.
Type-D National Visas vary according to the number of entries:
Embassies and Consulates issue single-entry D-type Schengen Visas for people residing in a Schengen country who do not need to return to their countries before their Visa expires.
D-type multiple-entry Schengen Visas allow you to travel in and out of the Schengen Territory as many times as you want for up to one year.
However, you must meet specific requirements to get a multiple-entry National Schengen Visa, such as:
→ Be an international student
→ Be an international student who is about to start a course of studies in a Schengen country
→ Teach at a higher education institution or research centre in a Schengen country
→ Travel to a Schengen country for sharing expertise
→ Experience an emergency such as a medical condition that prevents you from leaving the Schengen Territory at the designated time frame
When should you get a type-D Schengen Visa?
You can apply for a D-type National Schengen Visa when you are travelling for one of the following purposes:
- Family reunion
You can get a type-D National Visa if you have family members residing in the Schengen Area. The length of stay for this Visa can be between 91 and 365 days.
However, you must prove to have close family members residing in the Schengen Area, such as:
→ A spouse married under civil law
→ Children under 21 years or financially dependent
You can apply for a type-D Schengen Visa whether your family members residing in the Schengen Area are European citizens or not.
You can apply for a D-type National Visa if you have signed a work contract with an employer located in the Schengen Territory.
You can also apply for this Visa for independent work purposes (for example, you travel as an entrepreneur, trade, craftsman, or want to establish a company in Europe).
- Study and research
Embassies and Consulates will grant you this Visa type if you are travelling for study or research purposes and need to stay more than 90 days in the Schengen Territory.
For example, you can get this Visa if you are an international student enrolled at a school or university in Europe for one academic year.
To sum up, you should understand the differences between various Schengen Visa types to know what documents you must submit with your Visa application.
The most common type of Visa is type-C Schengen Visa for tourism purposes.
Please note that even when you travel for tourism purposes, the documents you must submit may vary according to your financial and personal situation.
If you need help determining what Schengen Visa type is right for you, do not hesitate to request your FREE Schengen Visa consultation. We will provide you with a complete Visa consultation report within less than 24 hours and without any fee or payment.
We would also be happy to assist you with any further questions concerning your application process and Visa requirements.