Schengen Visa: what is it?

A Schengen Visa officially entitles you to travel to all 26 countries in the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. However, you may be refused entry to a Schengen state without copies of the documents required for your application - so travellers are advised to keep these on their person during their trip.

What is the Schengen Area ?

The Schengen Area, or Schengen Countries Zone, is a group of European nations which have abolished border controls between each other, these include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, and the Scandinavian nations, but not the U.K. and Ireland. Most European Union (EU) countries are signatories to the Schengen Agreement, although some non Schengen countries, like Bulgaria and Romania, are signed up but not yet active members and merely obliged to join in the future. Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway are not in the EU but are inside Schengen.

Who needs a visa to enter Europe?

Citizens of most countries around the world, including all African states, India, China, and Russia, will need a Schengen Visa to enter countries within the Area. However, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, and Japan all have visa-free travel agreements with the EU, which means their citizens do not require a Europe visa for visits shorter than 90 days. Residents of these countries who are citizens of nations without a visa waiver agreement will still require one.

How to apply for a Europe visa?

Travellers can get their visa from the embassy or consulate of the country you want to travel to - although some countries, like France, have outsourced the application process. There you will need to provide your passport or travel document, a cover letter explaining the reasons for your trip, proof of accommodation, evidence you can financially support yourself during your stay, a recent photo, and obtain travel and health insurance. Generally, these must be submitted at least 90 days before you plan to travel. You need to apply at the embassy of the country you’re staying the longest amount of time in.

Find out here how to apply for visa to France if you are in the U.S. or in another country.

Find out here how to apply for visa to Spain if you are in the U.S. or in another country.

Find out here how to apply for visa to Germany if you are in the U.S. or in another country.

Find out here how to apply for visa to Italy if you are in the U.S. or in another country.

Find out here how to apply for visa to Greece if you are in the U.S. or in another country.

What is Schengen insurance?

In order to obtain your Schengen Visa, your travel and medical insurance must meet several minimum requirements. It must cover you in the whole Schengen Area (even countries you have no plans to visit) and cover accidents, illnesses, and emergency treatment, as well as repatriation to the U.S. in case of death, for costs up to a minimum of €30,000 ($26,855).

Why choose AXA Schengen Insurance?

AXA offers several Schengen Visa compliant insurance policies for travel in Europe; from a low-cost option, priced at as little as €0.99 ($1.11) per day of your trip, that will meet the minimum requirements, to multi-trip insurance that will cover you for ongoing visits. None of these policies will require you to pay an excess fee on medical costs.

AXA travel insurance policies are accepted in all the Embassies and Consulates of Schengen area countries.