What do I need to know about visiting a partner in the Schengen Area ?

I'm not a citizen from a Schengen country and I want to visit my partner who lives in a Schengen country, how can I do this?

If you live in a country that is not a part of the Schengen Area and you wish to make a short-term visit to a partner, you will need a Schengen Visa unless your home state has a visa-free travel agreement with the area. These countries include the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.


In most cases you need to apply for a short-stay visa allowing you to travel to the Schengen Area for up to 90 days. This visa will allow you to travel freely within all the 27 Schengen countries.


Those wishing to join a spouse or civil partner with citizenship of a Schengen Area or EU country, or long-term residency permit, for a longer period may do so by applying for a family reunion visa.


RELATED TOPIC : What are the different types of Schengen visas ?


How do I apply for a short-stay Schengen Visa to visit a partner?

You will first need to establish what documents you need for your application. These are :

  • A Schengen Visa application form containing all the required information. You will also need to pay a visa application fee of €80 for adults or €40 for those aged between six and 18. Those under six do not have to pay a fee.
  • Two identical photos, taken within the past three months.
  • A valid passport.
  • A letter of invitation from your partner. Provided they are not a citizen of a Schengen country, they will also need to provide a copy of a residency permit.
  • Flight reservations and itinerary.
  • Your travel itinerary, describing your plans for your trip.
  • Means of subsistence. You will need to prove that you have enough money to financially support yourself during your stay in the Schengen Zone. The minimum amount required varies from country to country. This can be either your partner providing funds, or proof you have the money to support yourself during your stay. You can prove this via bank statements.
  • Proof of accommodation - documents such as a rental contract, or proof of homeownership, proving you and your partner have a place to stay during your visit.
  • You will also need proof of relationship with your partner - such as a marriage certificate, or a declaration from your host stating the length of your relationship, when you last met, etc.


Where do I submit a Schengen Visa application?

In your home country, you will need to apply for a visa to visit your partner at the embassy or consulate of the country your partner lives in - or a visa application center acting on their behalf.


When do I apply for a Schengen Visa to visit a partner?

The latest you can file your Schengen Visa application is 15 days before you plan to travel but you can do so up to six months before your trip. It is advised you submit with plenty of time to spare. Your visa application will take at least 15 days to process and can take up to 30 days or 60 days during busy periods, such as the holidays, or if there are complexities with your application.


How do I apply for a family reunification visa?

The EU’s directive on family reunification allows sponsors to bring their spouse, minor children, and the children of their spouse to the country in which they are residing. In some cases, member states can choose to authorize reunification with an unmarried partner, but this is not guaranteed.


Once admitted in the Member State, family members can obtain a residence permit and obtain access to education, employment, and vocational training on the same basis as their spouse - and after a maximum of five years apply for an independent permit.


However, Schengen states may impose some conditions on this, such as requiring your spouse to be able to support you with accommodation or medical insurance, for example, and apply certain conditions on integration, such as learning the language of the country you are planning to reside in. You will need to provide similar documentation proving your identity, relationship with your spouse or partner, and their status, as with visas for shorter visits.


What products do AXA offer to help me with my visa application?

AXA’s Low Cost Travel Insurance costs only €22 per week of your trip and will meet your visa requirements, while the AXA Schengen Europe Travel Insurance offers extended coverage up to costs of €100,000. Those seeking a multiple-entry visa to make more than one trip to visit friends or family can purchase the Multi Trip insurance from €328 per year, which again covers you for expenses up to €100,000.


Frequently asked questions about getting a Schengen Visa to visit a partner

How long is the Schengen Visa valid for?

Your Schengen Visa can be valid for up to 90 days unless you are planning to apply for a longer-term family reunion visa.


Can I extend a Schengen Visa I have obtained to visit my spouse?

You can only extend your Schengen Visa on rare and specific occasions, such as on humanitarian grounds, for important personal reasons or unforeseeable circumstances.


What do I do if my Schengen Visa application gets rejected?

If your application for a Schengen Visa is rejected, you can still apply again - avoiding errors that may have resulted in your rejection. However, if you believe that your visa has been rejected by mistake, then you can appeal the decision by submitting an appeal letter.