If you’re planning to travel across Europe, rather than applying for multiple visas, instead, you can opt for the Schengen visa which covers most of the countries in Western and Northern Europe (28 to be exact). The Schengen visa allows you to stay up to 90 days within a 6-month period in the Schengen zone for either business or pleasure. But before you schedule a Schengen visa appointment, there are some things you need to know about the Schengen visa.
Not everyone needs to apply for a Schengen visa
You may be thinking that regardless of where you’re from, you need a Schengen visa. However, not all nationalities need to apply for the Schengen visa, rather, the visa is granted to them automatically when they’re at the border. Now, this makes it super easy for some people, however, if you’re not one of the lucky nationalities that have this privilege, then you need to apply for the visa.
You can move freely between 28 countries
Think of the Schengen visa like an access card to all the countries within the Schengen zone. With this visa, you’re able to move freely between all the Schengen countries without having to go through passport control. The Schengen visa includes countries such as Portugal, Greece, France, Austria, Italy, and Malta. So, whether you’re interested in tasting some delicious Italian pasta or exploring the nature of Iceland, you’ll be able to flip from country to country with this visa.
The day you enter and leave count as a day in the Schengen
If you don’t want to be interrogated at the border, you need to leave the country before your visa expires. This is a crucial mistake that many people make and the punishments can be harsh. Countries like Germany and Switzerland are particularly strict with entry and exit. When you enter the Schengen zone and leave the Schengen zone, both days count as a part of your visa. It doesn’t matter the time of day your passport was stamped, count that day in your visa. If you’re unsure about the day you entered the Schengen zone, look at the stamp in your passport.
Do you want to extend your visa?
Many people find that 90 days is simply not enough to see all of Europe. So, they want to extend their visa. Makes sense, right? You are given the opportunity to extend your visa, however, you must apply prior to your visa expiring. Here’s the thing, it’s not easy to get an extension. You’re going to need to strong reason as to why you want to stay. It’s up to the immigration authorities of whether or not they want you to stay. In other words, you better have a better reason then, “I haven’t been to Italy yet”.
Keep track of the days
It’s a hassle but it’s something that you need to pay attention to. When travelling, you need to keep count of how many days you were in and out of the Schengen zone. Remember, you’re allocated 90 days of travel within the zone, that’s it. Don’t forget to include your day of entry and exit in your 90 days as well.