What is a Schengen business visa and how do I get one?
A Schengen business visa allows you to travel to the Schengen Area countries for business purposes. It is required by citizens of countries that have mandatory visa requirements for visits to Europe, and who are traveling with the sole purpose of conducting business.
What documents are required when applying for a Schengen business visa?
The following documents are required for a Schengen business visa application :
- a fully completed and signed visa application form,
- two recently taken passport photographs,
- a valid passport with more than three months left until it expires,
- older passports with past visas on them, if you possess them,
- an itinerary of your trip - including dates, flight numbers, and hotel reservations, or proof of accommodation.
You will also need to prove your financial means - providing evidence you have enough money to support yourself during your business trip - and need to include a bank statement no older than three months and/or a sponsorship letter if someone else is funding your trip. You will need to provide a bank statement from your sponsor if this is the case. You can also provide a combination of the two.
You will also need to provide proof that you have paid your visa application fee of €80, a cover letter explaining the purpose of your business trip, and a short profile of your workplace in the Schengen Area.
Employees traveling on company business will also need to provide a letter from your employer describing the purpose of your visit, while those invited by a company within the Schengen Area will need to present a letter of invitation documenting the reasons for your visit - sent via email to the consulate of the country you plan to travel to. You will also need to provide an employment contract, a bank statement documenting the last six months of statements, permission from your employer, and an income tax return.
The self-employed will need to provide a copy of your business license, a company bank statement for the last six months, and your income tax return.
Where should I submit my Schengen business visa application?
You have to submit your application for a Schengen business visa to the consulate or embassy of the country where you will be entering or residing for the duration of your business trip or to a visa application center acting on their behalf. If you are planning to visit more than one country, then you need to apply to the country where you will be spending most of your stay, or if staying for equal amounts of time, the country you visit first.
After submitting your application, either to the embassy or consulate of the country you are applying to visit or via a visa application center acting on their behalf, you will need to schedule an appointment and attend a visa interview, bringing with you hard copies of the documents supporting your application.
When should I apply for my Schengen business visa?
The earliest time to apply for a Schengen business visa is three months before your planned trip and the latest is at most 15 working days before you intend to travel. However, you are advised to apply at least three weeks before your trip.
How long and for how many trips is a Schengen business visa valid for?
The visa stamp indicates the validity of the visa and the authorized length of stay. A visa may be issued for a single entry or multiple entries.
The maximum length of a stay is that which is indicated on the visa and will vary depending on the purpose of your stay.
If you have been authorized to stay for 90 days, you must not remain in the Schengen area for over 90 days in each 180-day period.
How can AXA help?
Our annual Schengen visa insurance Multi-Trip is available to customers planning to travel in and out of the Schengen Area on multiple occasions - perfect for those traveling on business regularly.
You are covered for 1 year and you can travel as often as you like within a limit of 90 days per stay. This insurance plan provides protection for all EU countries ( Ireland included) + the United Kingdom. It also provides the mandatory insurance certificate needed for a Schengen visa. Medical expenses, emergency hospitalisation and repatriation are covered up to 100,000€.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about applying for a Schengen business visa
It will usually take around 10 working days to process your Schengen business visa - but you should allow longer to ensure any delay does not affect your trip.
It will depend on the type of visa you obtain. Those seeking to make multiple trips should get a multiple-entry visa lasting one- two- or five years - which allows you to make multiple visits lasting up to 90 days in each 180-day period.
If you are looking to live and work permanently in the European Union or Schengen Area - you need to apply for a national work visa - not a Schengen business visa.