On February 2nd, the EU laid out the rules more clearly for people for how to apply for and receive a multiple-entrance Schengen Visa. The new rules not only define how to do it, but also who benefits from the program. In the past, the rules and requirements to get a multiple-entrance Schengen visa have been ill-defined and confusing for some applicants. Because of the lack of clarity, the EU has defined the rules of how to get a multiple-entrance visa to the Schengen Area.
A multiple-entrance visa to the Schengen Area would allow a traveler to exit and re-enter the Schengen Area as many times as they’d like, as long as they stay within the limits of their visa and the 90/180 rule. That means that a person cannot stay inside the Schengen Zone for longer than 90 days within a 180-day period unless they are granted a special visa to do so. The multiple-entrance Schengen visas can be valid for 1, 2, or 5 years depending on what the traveler qualifies for according to the rules.
The visa code explains, “…multiple-entry visas with a long validity shall be issued for the following validity periods, unless the validity of the visa would exceed that of the travel document:
(a) for a validity period of one year, provided that the applicant has obtained and lawfully used three visas within the previous two years;
(b) for a validity period of two years, provided that the applicant has obtained and lawfully used a previous multiple-entry visa valid for one year within the previous two years;
(c) for a validity period of five years, provided that the applicant has obtained and lawfully used a previous multiple-entry visa valid for two years within the previous three years,”
The traveler must meet several requirements before attempting to apply for a Schengen visa, however. Here a few of the requirements, although they do vary by the type and purpose of the visa.
- They must have a reason for why they want to enter the Schengen Area multiple times in the coming year(s).
- The traveler must have a clean visa history, which means he/she never overstayed the validity of a visa in the Schengen Area or worked illegally.
- Traveler must have a clean criminal background record in their country of origin.
- The traveler must present travel insurance for their first trip to the Schengen Area.
The rules apply to all embassies, consulates, and visa centers for all Schengen member states abroad.