The Schengen Visa: General Information

A Schengen visa allows you to travel to any country in the Schengen Area. In other words, once you obtain a visa from any of the Schengen countries, you can travel to all of the Schengen countries. (For avid travelers like myself, this is the drool-worthy equivalent of an Unli-Plan :-).) As of April 2014, these are the countries in the Schengen Area:

Take note, however, that you can’t just apply for a visa in any Schengen country. If you’re traveling to more than one country, the rule is: your visa application should be lodged at the embassy/consulate of the country that constitutes the MAIN destination of your trip in terms of:

  • Purpose – “Purpose” in this sense usually refers to business or some other official engagement. If you spend 3 days in France and 4 days in Germany, you need to apply for a visa at the German embassy, no matter how much you protest that the main purpose of your trip is to visit the Eiffel tower. If your purpose is just tourism, in general, what will matter is your length of stay.
  • Length of Stay – Apply at the country where you will be spending the most number of days.
    • It is the total number of days in a country that matter. If you spend only 3 days each in Rome, Venice, Milan, and Florence, and stay a whopping 10 days in Barcelona, you will still have to apply at the Italian embassy, not the Spanish embassy.
    • If you are spending equal time in 2 countries — say, 4 days in Belgium and 4 days in the Netherlands — other factors will be taken into consideration, such as where your flight from the Philippines will actually land. When in doubt, ask.

Most Schengen countries have similar requirements — for example, travel insurance worth at least €30,000. Still, make sure that you check with the embassy where you will actually be filing your application, as there are important differences. France, for example, requires a cover letter; the Netherlands doesn’t.

For more tips, visit the individual visa pages in this website:

(Note that the United Kingdom — which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — is not part of the Schengen Area and therefore needs a separate visa.)

Good luck and happy travels!

The Schengen Visa: General Information” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved. 


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