How to apply for a Schengen visa in the USA?

If you’re an American citizen traveling to Europe, you will likely be heading to countries within the Schengen Area - the group of nations which have lifted border controls between each other. These include most European states such as Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It does not include the United Kingdom and Ireland, however.

I’m an American passport holder or resident, will I require a Schengen Visa?

  1. I'm an American citizen

American citizens traveling to the Schengen Area for fewer than 90 days do not need to apply for a visa. From the end of 2023, they will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver before travel, which can be obtained online and will cost €7 ($7.82). If you’re planning on staying for longer than 90 days, you will require a long-stay national visa or residency permit

Requirements on your U.S. Passport

  • Have at least six-months of validity remaining on your passport whenever you travel abroad.
  • Check the expiration date on your passport carefully before traveling to Europe – especially children’s passports, which are valid for 5 years, not 10 years like those issued to U.S. citizens aged 16 and up
  • Carry your passport when traveling to another country in the Schengen area. Even if there is no border check at that time, officials may enforce border controls without notice

Please not that if you spend 3 months in the Schengen area during any six-month period, you must wait another 3 months from the last date of departure from the Schengen area before you can apply to enter the Schengen area again without a visa.

Source: U. S. Embassy in France

  1. I'm a U.S. permanent resident

U.S. permanent residents and Green Card holders who are citizens of states without their own visa-free arrangement with Schengen Area countries, like China or India, as well as all African nations, need to apply for a Schengen visa

Citizens of countries listed below need a valid visa to visit or travel through any country in the Schengen Area:

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Comoros
  • Congo (Brazzaville)
  • Congo (Democratic Republic)
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palestine
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tomé and Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Surinam
  • Syria
  • Tadjikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Source: Swiss Federal Council, the list is subject to change. Please contact the Consulate to obtain the specific terms and conditions in effect at the moment of the submission of your visa application. 

How do I apply for a Schengen Visa and what are the requirements?

You can get your visa from the embassy or consulate of the country you want to travel to. 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.
  • U.S. Green Card holders need to provide proof of employment or business ownership, while foreign students studying in America must have an I-20 form allowing them to study and a reference letter from their educational institution.

Those planning multiple visits to a Schengen country should check if a one, three, or five-year multiple entry visa would be best suited to their needs.

I need a Schengen Visa, but am visiting more than one country in Europe, where do I apply?

You need to apply at the embassy of the country you’re staying the longest in. So, if you were planning to spend 10 days in France, a week in Italy, and a week in Germany, you would apply at the French Embassy or Consulate. If you are staying in two countries for an equal amount of time, you should apply wherever you plan to visit first.

You also need to check the procedures of the country you are looking to apply to such as whether they use visa centers to process applications, and the location of your nearest embassy, consulate, or visa application center. These are located in major cities, such as Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., or New York.

How much does a Schengen visa cost?

You must pay administration fees (related to the administrative processing of the request). The amount of the fees must be paid to the visa service when submitting the application: either online if you have made a pre-application via an internet platform or with the service with which you submitted your file.
The fees are not reimbursed in the event of visa refusal.
The price of the Schengen Visa varies according to the age of the applicant:

  • Adult: €80 (approx. $85)
  • Child from 12 to 18 years old: €80 (approx. $85)
  • Child from 6 to less than 12 years old: €40 (approx. $44)
  • Child less than 6: free

Certain external service providers mandated by the consular authorities may charge service fees. They are not refundable even in case of refusal of visa application

How can AXA help?

Those visiting the Schengen Area for a single trip lasting fewer than 90 days will need a short-stay visa. This is the regular visa used for tourism purposes, visiting family and friends, or short business trips. AXA’s Low Cost Travel Insurance only costs €22 ($24) per week of your trip, and will meet your visa requirements, as well as ensuring you’re covered for any mishaps and accidents you or your loved ones might have.

If you need more comprehensive coverage, which covers you for medical and repatriation expenses up to €100,000, AXA’s Europe Travel coverage is available from €33 per week. This also covers theft and loss of documents, as well as offering 24-hour assistance.

For those who are planning to apply for a multiple-entry visa, Multi Trip insurance is available from AXA from €328 per year. It covers you for expenses up to €100,000.

How to apply for Schengen visa in other countries? :

How to apply for a Schengen Visa from Thailand

How to apply for a Schengen Visa from India

How to apply for a Schengen Visa from Indonesia

How to apply for a Schengen Visa from China

How to apply for a Schengen Visa from the Philippines

How to apply for a Schengen Visa from Jamaica

How to apply for a Schengen Visa from Peru

How to apply for a Schengen Visa from Mexico

How to apply for a Schengen Visa from Colombia

How to apply for a Schengen Visa from the U.K

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about applying for a Schengen Visa from the U.S.A.

How do I know if I need a visa?

American citizens do not need a U.S. Schengen Visa to travel to Europe due to visa-free travel arrangements. Residents should check if their home state has similar arrangements - or you will need to apply for a Schengen Visa from the U.S.

Do I need to schedule a Schengen Visa appointment?

Yes. Commonly you will have to schedule an appointment at your nearest consulate or embassy or visa application center.

How long will it take to process my U.S.A. Schengen Visa?

It usually takes around two weeks or 15 days to process a Schengen Visa from the U.S.A.. It may - however - take as long as 30 or even 60 days in exceptional circumstances.