How to visit or stay with your partner living in the Schengen Area ?
I'm not a citizen of a Schengen country and I want to visit my partner who lives there, how can I do this ?
What are my options if I am married or in a civil partnership with an EU or Schengen citizen?
If you are married or in a registered partnership with a Schengen country citizen or someone who is living, working, or studying in their country of origin then it is likely you will be able to visit the Schengen Area to visit your partner - but there are still some important checks you should make before you travel.
What if I want to apply to visit a spouse or partner for a limited period?
If you are visiting for a short period, and are from a country with a visa-free agreement with the Schengen Area - for example, the United States of America, Canada, or Mexico, then for a short stay lasting fewer than 90 days you will be able to visit the Schengen Area without a visa thanks to the ETIAS visa waiver. But you should still check your requirements. If you are coming from a country without a visa-free deal, you will still require a short-stay Schengen Visa, which will allow you to visit anywhere and travel anywhere within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days.
If you are applying for this type of visa, you are more likely to receive it if you are visiting a spouse or family member or if you can prove a strong, long-lasting relationship with them (e.g. a long-term partner). In addition to the usual documents you will need to travel and apply for your visa (detailed below), you will need proof of your relationship - for example, a marriage certificate, or a shared document, like house deeds.
What documents might I need to apply for a Schengen Visa?
You will need a Schengen Visa application form and two recently taken passport-style photos, a passport from your home country, or other travel documents that are less than 10 years old and valid for at least three months after your departure date from the Schengen Area. You will also need travel and medical insurance covering you up to costs of €30,000.
You will also require a cover letter stating your itinerary and the purpose of your visit, as well as a flight itinerary and proof of accommodation during your stay. Proof of your civil status is also important, like a marriage certificate, which will both inform authorities of the intention of your visit, as well as informing them you have means of subsistence during your stay.
What if I am planning to stay with a spouse or partner in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days?
If you are planning to spend more than 90 days in the Schengen Area and reside there with your partner or spouse, then you should apply to the country concerned for a residency or work permit, should you find employment. This could relate to your spouse’s status - whether they are a citizen, there to work, or whether you have dependents. Different countries have different criteria, but generally, you will need to prove either you or your spouse can support yourselves in the country you plan to stay in to gain a long-term visa.
What else do I need to know?
If you are planning to make a short visit to your spouse or partner, then it is worth going through the simple process of a Schengen Visa for a short visit. If you are planning a longer stay, it is worth documenting property they may own, your assets, or their investments, or divulging employment plans, or any other information that may help explain your plans to settle in the Schengen Area.
Another thing to bear in mind is different countries’ attitudes and laws around gay marriage or other LGBTQ+ rights. Although many countries in the European Union and Schengen Area recognize same-sex marriage, Poland, for example, does not. It is unlikely this will cause you problems on a short-term visit - as the European Union and Schengen Area has strict laws against discrimination - but, as with many places - keep your documents on you, and if you are planning to settle down, be aware of what the local laws are and whether your marriage or civil partnership will be recognized.
How can AXA help?
Whether you are making a short trip to see a partner before they return to your home country or plan a stay in Europe with the possibility of staying longer - AXA has various policies for you.
AXA’s Low Cost Travel Insurance only costs €0.99 ($1.11) per day of your trip and will meet your visa requirements if you’re planning a short trip to reconnect with a loved one. Our AXA Schengen Europe Travel Insurance offers extended coverage up to costs of €100,000 - if you have more ambitious plans for your trip or just want extended coverage that will cover additional expenses.
Those wanting to make regular trips using a multiple-entry visa can purchase AXA’s Multi Trip insurance from €298 per year, which again covers you for expenses up to €100,000.
Frequently asked questions about visiting your partner living in the Schengen Area
Can I visit my partner on a tourist (short-stay) visa, then stay longer?
Yes. As long as you apply for a new visa or an extension. You may have to return home and apply at your local embassy or consulate of the country you plan to reside in.
What happens if I am refused entry, or my visa does not come through?
If your visa to visit a spouse is not granted then you can appeal or reapply. A new application will cost you €80.
Is my visa still valid if I do not stick to my itinerary or accommodation plans?
It may invalidate your visa. In practice, providing you maintain the same purpose in making your trip - visiting your partner - you should be fine with minor changes to your itinerary or plans, as long as you leave the Schengen Area on the correct date.