If you’re traveling to Europe and entering the Schengen Area from a country without a visa-free travel arrangement, you’ll need to get a visa. These come in four main Schengen visa category or Schengen visa types A, B, C, and D.
The most common Schengen visa type, a Uniform Schengen Visa, covers category A and C, providing you with your airport transit visa and allowing you to stay in any country in the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days in a six-month period. This will be the visa you need if traveling to Europe for a short vacation.
Category B relates to journeys lasting fewer than five days, while Category D is for longer stays to work or study.
Visa type C and Visa type D can be single, double, or multiple-entry visas, with the former only allowing you to enter the Schengen Area once, while the others allow you to leave and then return while the visa is valid. Multiple entry visas can be valid for one, three, or five years.
Another type of visa is a Limited Territorial Visa that only allows you to travel through one country. These are generally only issued in peculiar or emergency cases when a standard visa to visit Europe is unobtainable.
Category D national visas permit you to study, work, or even permanently reside in one of the Schengen countries.
How do I apply for the right type of visa?
You need to decide what the purpose of your trip is and select the right type of visa. For most holidaymakers or business travelers this will be a Uniform Schengen Visa, but those wishing to work or study should apply for a Category D visa if looking to stay for a prolonged period. You will then need to present documentation to the embassy, consulate, or visa processing center of the country you are primarily visiting. The documentation you will need varies according to the purpose of your visa. If you are looking to work or study, you will need proof of this, and might be asked to prove your qualifications. You will always need a valid passport, your itinerary, proof of accommodation (hotel bookings or rental agreements) and travel and medical insurance.
How can AXA help?
You can buy your medical and travel insurance online with AXA from as little as €0.99 per day. A certificate proving you are insured will be available immediately, meaning you can get on with your visa application. AXA travel insurance policies are accepted in all the Embassies and Consulates of Schengen area countries.
Learn more about Tourist Short stay Schengen Visa
Learn more about Schengen Student Visa
Learn more about Schengen Work Visa