A Schengen Visa is required by non-EEA nationals wishing to enter the EU for short-term stays not involving employment or self-employed activity.
European Schengen visas, effective from 1995 and named after the Luxembourg village where the original agreement was signed a decade earlier, are designed to facilitate the free and open movement of visitors through Europe.
In practice the Schengen Agreement functions in a similar way to a UK visa, often referred to variously as a UK tourist visa or UK travel visa in that it allows people to enter and leave participating countries for a limited period, after which they must return to their country of residence.
At present, the following countries participate in the scheme. It is worth noting that the United Kingdom and the Republic or Ireland are not currently signatories.
- Czech Republic
Countries not yet Schengen Area members:
As a specialist immigration consultancy Global Visas can help you to obtain a Schengen visit visa or any other immigration service you may require.
Our immigration consultants can provide immigration lawyer expertise and can manage your visa application at every stage from your initial enquiry through to a comprehensive package of on arrival services.
The benefits of the Schengen scheme are self evident, allowing a holder to visit any country in the Schengen immigration area during the validity of the document.
Prior to the implementation of the agreement, the European nations involved relied on a complex and often obtrusive system of border controls and checkpoints.
Whilst most Schengen nations are also EU members, customs controls have also been removed allowing for unhindered access between nation states.
Some exceptions remain; in countries where one Schengen country borders a non-Schengen territory but both are member states of the EU, passport checks persist but customs checks are no longer in place.
In situations where two Schengen states border, but only one is an EU member, the reverse is true.
Applying for visas for access to European nations in this way is intended as a temporary measure and by definition does not offer permanent residency or settled status in any of the participating nations.
In addition, whilst sometimes referred to as a Schengen business visa, those in possession of a visa for entry to Schengen participant nations may not seek or undertake employment whilst in Europe through this temporary immigration service.
Holders may visit conferences, make fact-finding missions or source customers or supplies much like UK visit visas and the equivalent grant in many other nations.
However, working is not permitted without applying for a work permit for each country in which an applicant intends to work. As with a UK work permit, these will generally be issued for a six month to two year period.
Applications for Schengen visas are generally issued in one of three categories, The Airport Transit Visa, The Transit Visa and the Short Stay Visa, although in practice, the majority of applications are for the last option.
Airport Transit visas
These allow their holders to travel through the international transit zone in a Schengen member nation on the way to their final destination, but do not allow visitors to enter the territory of the country.
These allow visitors to travel through the national territory of several Schengen nations en route to a final destination, however, the transit period must not be greater than five days.
Short Stay visas
Sometimes known as travel visas, these are multiple entry visas which allow a non-EEA national to enter the participating states either for a stay of 90 days of for the same period accumulated in stages over a period of not more than six months.
It is important to note that a visa service of this kind, like all visa services, is not regarded as a guarantee of entry into a member state. Holders are still subject to immigration control and may be refused entry.