How can I extend a Schengen visa?

“The world is not enough” is not just the title of a James Bond film - but something the holder of a short-stay Schengen Visa can sometimes feel. Once their application for a Schengen Visa has been accepted, they realize that the period of validity of their visa is no longer sufficient. By desire or by need, they wish to stay longer.

Can I extend a Schengen Visa? 

Generally speaking, you cannot extend a Schengen Visa during your trip, apart from in exceptional circumstances. If you want to extend your trip you will have to exit the Schengen Area and apply for a new visa to return and continue your visit.

However, applying for an extension of a Schengen Visa can only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Here is our guide on the reasons taken into consideration by the authorities and relevant procedures.

How to apply for a Schengen visa?

The reasons justifying the request for an extension of a Schengen Visa:

A visa can be extended if you have stayed less than 90 days in the Schengen Area over the last 180-day period and if you have not exceeded the validity period of your visa.
The conditions for granting an extension of a Schengen Visa are very strict and your reason for applying must be serious and unforeseeable.
Among the reasons invoked and left to the discretion of the competent authorities, are:

  • A case of ‘force majeure’: You cannot return immediately to your country of origin following serious events which occurred there during your stay in the Schengen zone: natural disasters (volcanic eruption, earthquake, etc.), extreme weather conditions, disturbances, major political events (war, riot, etc.). The late modification or cancellation by a carrier (airlines, shipping companies, etc.) of a trip due to particular weather conditions or a strike, can be considered as force majeure.
  • A humanitarian reason: It is linked to the personal situation of the applicant for a Schengen Visa extension. This may concern medical reasons: you, or a member of your family accompanying you, have a serious health problem and your or their condition does not allow you/he/she to travel. It can also be a family event concerning a member of your close family (1st degree) and living in a Schengen State: serious illness, death, and sometimes a marriage that had not been planned.
  • A professional reason: This may be the case when the conclusion of your business in the Schengen Area could not take place within the stipulated time.

What is the procedure for applying for a Schengen Visa extension?

When and where to apply for a visa extension?

- When?

It is imperative to submit your visa extension application before the end of its period of validity and/or the duration of your stay indicated on your Schengen Visa.

- From whom?

For an extension of a category “C” short-stay visa, you must request it from the competent authorities of the Schengen country where you are. The services authorized to receive this type of request vary depending on the Member State: foreigners service, immigration service, etc.

In France, for example, you must submit your request to the Prefecture.  

In Germany this can only be done by the foreigners authority covering the place of residence of the visa holder. Source: Federal Foreign Office.

For an extension of a visa with limited territorial validity (VTL), you must do so with the competent authorities of the Schengen country for which it was issued.

What are the formalities to be completed for an application for a Schengen visa extension?

The procedure varies significantly depending on the Schengen countries. Inquire directly with the competent authorities to find out their conditions in detail.

Generally, you will need to attach the following documents to your application file:

  • a visa extension application form, correctly completed and signed
  • your passport showing the Schengen Visa with which you entered
  • a written and reasoned request
  • one or two standard passport photos
  • supporting documents concerning the reason for your request: certificate from a hospital or the attending physician (with a mention of the fortuitous nature of the condition, the impossibility of return, and the foreseeable duration of the treatment), certificate from the employer (mentioning the number of additional days requested), medical or death certificate of a close family member
  • proof of means of subsistence covering the possible extension of your stay, a certificate of accommodation
  • the confirmation of reservation of a new plane ticket for the return
  • proof that the applicant has taken out or extended travel insurance that covers the extended duration of the stay

You must also pay a visa extension application fee of €30.
You may be exempted from fees if your request is motivated by a reason of force majeure.
Please note: you must sometimes make an appointment with the competent authorities to submit your file in person and may be required to have an interview with an agent of the services concerned. Inquire directly with the authorities of the Schengen country where you wish to make your application.
While waiting for your application to be examined (the processing time varies from a few days to a month), you are authorized to stay legally in the Schengen country where you submitted your application.
If the answer is positive, you are authorized to stay and must respect the new validity period of your visa.
If the answer is negative, you must leave the Schengen Area before your visa expires or within two days of receiving your answer.

Related topics on Schengen visa

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about getting a Schengen Visa extension

Can I extend my Schengen Visa if I want to continue my tourist visit?

No. Schengen Visa extensions are only granted in serious, exceptional, and unforeseeable circumstances. The simple desire to extend a tourist getaway is not an adequate reason.

What are the risks if I stay on the Schengen territory beyond the validity of my visa?

You risk having to pay a fine/leaving the territory and/or being the subject of an alert when leaving the Schengen Area. Overstaying your visa may also cause you difficulty if you apply for another in the future. 

Is there a charge for applying for a Schengen Visa extension?

Yes. A fee of €30 covers the cost of reviewing your file. But if the reason for your request is considered "force majeure" you may be exempt from these fees.