How to extend my Schengen visa ?
Enough is never enough ! Once their Schengen visa application is approved, short-stay visa holders sometimes realise that the validity period of their visa isn’t long enough. By want or necessity they sometimes wish to prolong their stay, unless you extend it.
If it is possible to apply for an extension of your Schengen visa, this request can only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Only certain grounds are taken into consideration by the competent authorities and the conditions provided for this specific procedure must be respected.
Here is how you should proceed:
Grounds justifying a Schengen visa extension request
Short-stay Schengen Visas are only valid for a maximum of three months within a six-month period, meaning those who need to stay longer must apply for a Schengen Visa extension. Although these are not impossible to obtain, they are very difficult to get and are only granted for strong reasons or in exceptional circumstances.
Before deciding to apply to extend your Schengen Visa, know the validity of your existing visa and its type. A short-stay Schengen Visa can be either single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry. In the case of the single-entry, you have a limited number of days you are allowed to spend in the Schengen Area before you must leave - after which you will not be able to return without applying for a new visa. Double-entry allows you to leave and then return on one occasion, while a multiple-entry visa allows you to stay in the Schengen Area for 90 days at a time during a rolling 180-day period. You can obtain an extension for all these types of Schengen Visas.
As Schengen Visa extensions are only granted in rare circumstances, you must cite one of the following reasons:
- late entry,
- humanitarian reasons,
- force majeure (if something happens in your home country that makes it dangerous or impossible to return),
- medical reasons,
- or important personal reasons.
A visa can be extended if you have stayed less than 90 days in the Schengen area over the last 180 days and if your visa is still valid.
The conditions to obtain the extension of a Schengen visa are very strict and the reasons for your request must be serious and justified by unforeseen circumstances.
Among the grounds raised and left to the free appreciation of the competent authorities, are taken into consideration:
- Force majeure : you can not immediately return to your home country because of serious events which have occurred there during your stay in the Schengen area : natural disasters (volcanic eruptions, earthquakes…) extreme weather conditions, major political turmoil (wars, riots…).
Note: late changes or cancellations of a scheduled trip by a carrier (air and shipping lines…) due to weather conditions or strikes, can be considered as force majeure.
- humanitarian grounds: linked to the personal situation of the Schengen visa holder requesting the extension.
It can pertain to medical reasons: the visa holder or a member of their family who is travelling with them, has a serious health problem or their condition doesn’t allow them to travel.
It can also concern a family event involving a close family member (1st degree) living in a Schengen state: serious illnesses, death and sometimes a last minute wedding.
- professional grounds: this reason can be invoked when a contract hasn’t been completed as scheduled.
What is the procedure to apply for the extension of a Schengen visa ?
When and where to apply for your visa extension ?
- When ?
It is absolutely necessary to apply for the extension of your visa before the end of its validity period and/or the duration of your stay mentioned on your Schengen visa.
- Where ?
For an extension of your short-stay visa, you must address your request to the competent authorities of the Schengen country where you are. The immigration authorities (or their equal) relevant to examine this type of request vary according to the said country: Foreigner’s registration office, immigration services… For example, in France, you must apply at the Prefecture.
To extend a visa with limited territorial validity (LTV), you must contact the competent authorities of the Schengen country by which it was issued.
What documents are required to ask for a Schengen visa extension ?
The procedure varies significantly from one Schengen country to the other. Contact directly the relevant authorities for more information and details on their conditions.
Generally with your visa extension application you should enclose the following documents:
- A thoroughly completed and signed visa extension application form, delivered by the competent authorities.
- Your passport on which appears the Schengen visa with which you entered the country
- A letter explaining the reasons why you need the extension
- One or two id photos meeting official requirements
- Supporting documents relating to the grounds of your request: hospital certificate, doctor’s note (mentioning the unforeseen aspect of the condition, the inability to return and the foreseeable duration of the medical treatment), employer certificate (mentioning the number of additional days requested), medical or death certificate of a close family member.
- Proof of your means of subsistence covering the possible extension of your stay as well as proof of accommodation.
- Proof of new return travel reservations
- Proof that the applicant has subscribed to or extended their travel insurance, covering the extension of the duration of their stay.
You must also pay the visa extension application fees which amount to 30€.
You can be exempt from these fees if the reason invoked for your request falls into the force majeure category.
Please note : you may have to book an appointment with the competent authorities to hand in your application file in person. You might also have to come in for an interview with an officer of the relevant service. Contact the authorities of the Schengen country where you which to apply for more information.
While your request is being examined (this can take from a few days to a few months), you are legally authorized to stay in the Schengen country where you have applied.
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 the expiration date of your visa or in the two days after you receive your answer.
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