Schengen visas are invaluable tools for travellers exploring Europe extensively. Still, extended stays or frequent visits might require something different – in these instances, a long-term Schengen visa might be necessary.
In such instances, this article provides comprehensive instructions on obtaining one – making your experience memorable while exploring its rich diversity over an extended period.
Understanding The Long-Term Schengen Visa
Before initiating the application process for a long-term Schengen visa, it’s essential to understand its parameters. While short-term Schengen visas allow stays up to 90 days within any 180 days, long-term Schengen visas often extend well past this point – often up to 1 year or beyond that.
They are for longer-stay Schengen visitors who want to work, study, visit relatives, or seek medical care. For example, it gives people opportunities that require longer stays than the 90-day short-term Schengen visas can give.
Determine Your Purpose Of Travel
The first step in applying for a long-term Schengen visa is to determine the purpose of your travel. Long-term visas are typically categorised based on the reason for your visit. Common categories include:
- Study Visa
You will require a study visa if you intend to pursue higher education or participate in an extended educational program within a Schengen country. Provide proof of acceptance from a reputable school and the funds to support yourself while studying.
- Work Visa
Employing in any Schengen country requires obtaining a work visa. An employment offer from a reputable company in one of these member states and seeking assistance with the application process are necessary to be eligible.
- Family Reunion Visa
People living in Schengen countries and with close family members living there can apply for a Family Reunion Visa. This visa covers spouses, children, and parents of people who live in Schengen countries.
- Medical Treatment Visa
Medical tourism visas are required for anyone seeking treatment in any Schengen country. You must present evidence supporting your application, showing that your needed treatment is unavailable in your home country.
Prepare The Required Documents
Once you have determined your purpose of travel, it’s time to gather the necessary documents for your long-term Schengen visa application. While specific requirements may vary depending on the Schengen country you plan to visit, the following documents are typically requested:
- Visa Application Form
Complete a long-term Schengen visa application form, usually found online through an embassy or consulate of one of the countries within Schengen that you intend to visit.
- Valid Passport
Ensure your passport is valid for at least three months beyond your intended departure date from the Schengen area. Also, make sure it has at least two blank pages for visa stamps.
- Letter Of Purpose
Write a letter explaining the purpose of your visit, including details about your planned activities, the duration of your stay, and how you intend to support yourself during your time in the Schengen area.
- Proof of Accommodation
Provide evidence of your accommodation confirmation for a visa in the Schengen country, such as a rental agreement, hotel reservation, or host invitation letter.
- Proof Of Sufficient Funds
Demonstrate that you have enough financial means to cover your living expenses in the Schengen area. This may include bank statements, a sponsorship letter, or proof of a scholarship.
- Travel Insurance
Purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses and repatriation for the entire duration of your stay in the Schengen area, with a minimum coverage of €30,000.
- Supporting Documents
Include any additional documents specific to your visa category, such as a job offer letter, acceptance letter from an educational institution, proof of family relationship, or medical reports.
Submit Your Application
Once you have gathered all the required documents, it’s time to submit your long-term Schengen visa application. Follow these steps:
- Book An Appointment
Visit the website of the Schengen country you intend to apply in and book an appointment for visa submission.
- Attend The Visa Interview
On your scheduled interview date, appear at the embassy or consulate and prepare to be interviewed for your visa interview. Be ready to answer questions about your trip plans, airlines ticket for visa and give any other documents that may be asked for because you will probably need them all.
- Pay The Visa Fee
Pay the non-refundable visa fee that varies based on your age, visa category and Schengen country of residency. Keep the receipt as proof of payment.
Wait For Visa Processing
After you submit and attend an interview, it will take several weeks or months before Schengen countries will process your visa application and the processing time is completed.
Attend Biometrics Appointment
Sometimes, you may need to attend a biometrics appointment where fingerprints and photos will be taken of you for security measures. This is a standard process among visa applicants and helps improve security measures.
Await The Visa Decision
Once your application has been reviewed and processed, you will receive a notification regarding its decision on your long-term Schengen visa application. If it has been accepted, a sticker will be put on your passport with information about how it can be extended further.
Arriving In The Schengen Area
As soon as you arrive in the Schengen area, make sure that you follow all conditions of your long-term visa. This may involve registering with local authorities if required and adhering to visa expiration dates and any specific rules related to your category of visa.