Traveling in the Schengen area is probably one of the most wonderful experiences you can have. With 27 countries in the region, all connected by one visa, it makes for a great opportunity to explore multiple cultures and landscapes. However, with such a huge number of countries to visit and only 90 days for a Schengen visa, it can be difficult to fully take advantage of what the area has to offer.
For this reason, many travelers often wonder if there is a long-stay visa available that would allow them to remain in the Schengen region for a longer period of time.
So Is There A Long-Stay Visa For The Schengen Region?
The great news is that there is indeed a long-stay visa available for those who wish to travel in the Schengen region more permanently. The Schengen Long Stay Visa (also known as the ‘D’ Visa) permits holders to stay in the Schengen zone for a maximum period of up to one year.
Compared to the regular Schengen visa, which permits travelers to stay for up to 90 days in a 180-day period, the Long Stay Visa is definitely the way to go if you are planning on staying in one country or multiple countries in the Schengen area for more than 90 days.
In order to be eligible to apply for the Long Stay Visa, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a non-EU citizen legally residing in a Schengen country
- Have a valid travel document such as a passport or an alien identity card
- Meet all the conditions of the Visa Waiver Program
- Show proof of sufficient financial means to cover the costs associated with your stay
- Have health insurance that covers the full duration of your stay in the Schengen Zone
Applicants must also provide a detailed explanation as to why they are applying for the Long Stay Visa and they must present a valid purpose of travel, such as:
- Study or research
- Family reunification
- Permanent residence
Processing Time and Fees
The processing time of the Schengen Long Stay Visa can vary depending on the country in which you are applying. Generally, it will take 4-12 weeks for your application to be processed. The visa fee is also determined by the country in which you are applying and can range from €60 to €80.
Can You Extend the Long Stay Visa?
Yes, it is possible to extend the Schengen Long Stay Visa. You will need to apply for an extension at least two weeks before your visa expires. In order to do so, you must provide a valid reason for extending your stay and submit proof of financial means and health insurance coverage.
Reasons that qualify as force majeure to extend the Schengen Long Stay Visa include:
- Medical emergencies – Illness, injury or other medical emergencies may qualify as reasons to extend your stay. You simply need proof of medical diagnosis and a statement from the hospital or doctor that you are receiving treatment.
- Natural disasters, war, and other unforeseen circumstances. – If a natural disaster occurs in the country of residence during your stay, it is possible to extend the visa. The same applies to wars or armed conflicts.
- Unplanned professional events – If the visa holder needs to stay for an extended period of time due to professional reasons, such as attending a seminar or conference, it is possible to extend the long-stay visa. An employer’s letter and proof of the event are generally required.
- Serious family reasons – Death, illness or other serious family reasons may also qualify as valid reasons to extend the Long Stay Visa. Proof of the event must be provided.
Is There a 5-Year Schengen Visa?
No, there is no 5-year Schengen visa. The maximum period for which the Long Stay Visa can be issued is one year. After that, you may apply for an extension if necessary.
There is, however, a multiple-entry visa that will allow you to enter the Schengen Area multiple times over a 5-year period. This type of visa is called the Multiple Entry Visa and it allows for stays of up to 90 days per 180-day period.
Schengen Visa Types
There are several different types of Schengen visas available, depending on the purpose and duration of stay. You can get the standard short-stay Schengen visa, the Long Stay Visa, and the Multiple Entry Visa.
Single Entry Short Stay Visa
A single-entry short-stay Schengen visa is the most common type of visa and allows for stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. You can apply for this type of visa if you are visiting family or friends, taking a business trip, or attending a conference.
Double entry Visa
This type of visa allows you to enter and leave the Schengen Area twice in a 180-day period. Each stay can last up to 90 days. This type of visa is mostly used for business trips or multiple holidays.
Multiple Entry Visa
The Multiple Entry Visa allows you to enter and exit the Schengen Zone multiple times over a 5-year period. You can get this in a 1-year multiple entry, 3-year multiple entry, or 5-year multiple entry formats. This type of visa is suitable for those who are traveling frequently and need to be able to enter the Schengen Zone quickly and easily.
It’s important to note that you can get the 5-year multiple entry visa only if you have previously held a 1-year multiple entry visa. You must also meet all the requirements and provide justification for your travel plans.
What Happens if I Overstay 90 Days in Schengen?
Overstaying is a very serious offense. If you overstay your Schengen visa, you may be subject to a financial penalty and/or deportation. You could even be banned from entering the Schengen Area for up to five years.
It is important to note that if you are found guilty of overstaying, the fine or ban can differ depending on the country in which you are found. Therefore, it is important to adhere to the terms of your visa and make sure your stay does not exceed 90 days.
What is the Difference Between Visa Validity and Duration of Stay?
It’s important to understand the difference between visa validity and duration of stay. Visa validity is the amount of time your visa is valid, meaning you can use it to enter the Schengen Area during this period. Duration of stay is the number of days you are allowed to remain in the Schengen Area.
For example, a 3-month visa validity may entitle you to a 90-day duration of stay. You can enter and exit the Schengen Area multiple times during this period as long as your total stays don’t exceed 90 days in any 180-day period.
Many people confuse visa validity with the duration of their stay. It’s important to understand the difference, as overstaying either can lead to severe consequences.
If you’re looking to stay in the Schengen Area for a longer period of time, then a “D” type Long Stay visa is the best option. This visa can be extended up to one year, provided you meet all the requirements.
Alternatively, if you want to make multiple trips to the Schengen Area over a 5-year period, then applying for a Multiple Entry Visa would be ideal. Whichever type of visa you choose, it’s important to remember that overstaying your visa is a serious offense and can lead to hefty fines or even deportation and a ban from the Schengen Area.
As such, it is always best to make sure you have all the necessary documents and information before applying for any type of visa. With the right preparation and knowledge, your stay in the Schengen area should be a pleasant and stress-free experience.