Should my first trip be to the country issued by Schengen visa?

What is the country of first entry to the Schengen Area?

Your first country of entry is the country in which you enter the Schengen Area for the first time from the outside.

It does not need to be the country that issued you with a Schengen Visa, as you must apply with the nation where you are planning to spend the majority of your stay in the Schengen Area.

What happens when I enter Europe on a Schengen Visa?

If you are traveling to Europe on a Schengen Visa, when you enter a country in the Schengen Area covered by your visa, your documents will be checked to see if they are in order. This is your first port of entry.

How to get a Schengen visa?

Which country should I apply for my Schengen visa to?

If you are planning to visit 1 Schengen country:

  • You must apply for a Schengen visa at the Consulate of the country that you intend to visit

If you are planning to visit more than one Schengen country:

  • You must apply for a Schengen visa at the Consulate of the country where you will spend the longest period.
  • If you are planning to spend an equal amount of time in various Schengen States, for example, on cruises or bus tours, you should apply at the embassy of the country which external borders you will cross first when entering the Schengen area.

Source: European commission

Can I enter the Schengen area in country X, while the visa was issued by Schengen country Y?

As a general rule, you may cross any Schengen border with visa issued by any Schengen country. However, you should try and stick to your itinerary as filed when applying for your Schengen Visa.

What information do I need to provide about my country of first entry when applying for my Schengen Visa?

When applying for a Schengen Visa, you will need to provide a full itinerary of your trip - including where you plan to enter the Schengen Area (your first port of entry), and flight bookings proving this.

How do I prove my Schengen Visa itinerary?

Officials will often ask you if you can provide a booked flight itinerary and/or flight reservation to prove your travel plans and that you will not overstay your visa. Sometimes, they might even ask you to submit the actual ticket for your visit.

Do I have to buy my ticket before applying for a visa?

If you are worried about losing the cost of your ticket if your application is refused, some airlines provide dummy tickets or short-term reservations for a portion of the cost of a ticket that will allow you to provide a flight booking proving your itinerary and first port of entry.

How can AXA help?

When applying for your Schengen Visa, you will also need to prove you have travel and medical insurance. AXA offers several Schengen Visa compliant insurance policies for travel in Europe, which will cover you for your trip, from a low-cost option, priced at as little as €22 per week of your trip. Your certificate will be available instantly online - ready for you to complete your application and begin your travels. More comprehensive cover is available from €33 per week.

Everything you need to know about the Schengen visa:

Frequently asked questions about your Schengen Visa country of first entry

Can I change my first port of entry?

You are advised to stick close to your itinerary when traveling to the Schengen Area - as your documents may be checked at your first port of entry - even if your travel plans are more flexible when you are within the Schengen Area.

Why is the U.K. not in the Schengen Area?

The U.K. opted out of the Schengen initiative - partially due to its island geography. Following Brexit - it is extremely unlikely to join in the near future.

Can I travel anywhere in Europe with Schengen Visa?

Yes. Providing you are traveling to another country within the Schengen Area. Not all European countries are within the Schengen Area so you should check before you travel.