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Help! What is a Schengen Visa?


If you are looking to travel within Europe then you may have heard of the term ‘Schengen visa’. Whether you need this type of visa or not can sometimes be a little complicated, so we have broken down the main information below to help you on your way…


What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is a document issued to those wanting to visit any of the Schengen zone countries and allows you free movement between the countries in within the Schengen zone. Perfect for if you are looking to visit more than one country that are part of the Schengen zone as you will only need the one visa.


What is the Schengen Zone?

The Schengen Zone is an area of 26 countries in the Europe area that, in 1990, agreed to allow free movement of their citizens within this area as one country. Not all members are part of the EU either.


What countries form the Schengen zone?

The following 26 countries are part of the Schengen Zone. This means that, as a visitor, you can pass between all these counties using just one visa:

  • 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
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein



Do I need to apply for a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is mandatory for many non-member countries, but not all.


The following list of countries’ citizens must have a Schengen visa to enter one of the member countries:

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burma/Myanmar
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Cote D’ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Rep. Of Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana’s
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Samoa
  • Sao Tome And Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Kosova


I am from the UAE; do I need a Schengen visa?

In short, no. UAE citizens who hold diplomatic, special, service or ordinary passports can travel to EU countries within the Schengen area without a visa for up to 90 days within any 180-day period each year. Hurrah!


If you are residing in the UAE but hold a passport for another country, you will need to check if you need a Schengen visa based on your passport’s issuing country.


How long can I visit these countries for on a Schengen Visa?

This can vary depending on the type of visa issued by each of the Schengen countries. The most common type of visa issued allows the person to stay for up to 90 days within every six-month period from date of entry.


How do I apply for a Schengen visa?

To apply for a Schengen visa, visit:

Make sure you read all the information carefully as there are a number of things you must do correctly or your application will be quickly rejected.


Can I extend my visa?

Unfortunately, you cannot extend an existing visa. All Schengen visas must be applied for from your country of residence.


Other countries you can visit with a Schengen visa.

There are a number of non-Schengen zone countries that allow non-Schengen citizens who hold a valid Schengen visa to visit. This means that visitors holding a valid Schengen visa do not need a visa issued from these countries to enter, move through or stay temporarily, perhaps to holiday.


A list of these countries and their individual restrictions can be found here:


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