What type of Schengen Visa do I need?

Schengen Visa Types

If you’re traveling to Europe and entering the Schengen Area from a country without a visa-free travel arrangement, it´s mandatory to apply for a Schengen visa and choose the suitable Visa type.

Deciding Schengen Visa

Based on the specific purpose of the travel, the respective embassy/consulate issues the Schengen visa from the several available Schengen Visa types. The three main types of Schengen Visa types include:

  • Uniform Schengen Visas (USV)
  • Limited Territorial Validity Visas (LTV)
  • National Visas

In this article

Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)

Uniform Schengen Visa (also known as USV): The uniform Schengen visa holders are allowed to stay in any of the Schengen member countries for a maximum period of 90 days in every six months, starting from the date of entry of the person. Depending on the purpose of travel, universal Schengen visa applies to all 3 categories of visa A, B, and C as discussed below-

  • Category A or Airport transit visa: It allows the visa holder to transit through the international zone of a Schengen airport without entering the Schengen country. This category of visa is mandatory to have if you are travelling from one non-Schengen country to another non-Schengen country via Schengen country airport.
  • Category B or Transit Visa: This type of visa holders are allowed to travel through multiple Schengen countries to a non-Schengen country via car, coach, or plane with the condition that travel should not last more than 5 days.
  • Category C or Short-term Visa: It is a short stay visa which is valid for a year. This type of Schengen visa is mainly issued for business visits to the people who have an invitation letter from a Schengen country, to the individuals having a special interest in the Schengen country or to the aircrew members. It can be provided for single entry, double-entry, or multiple entries to the Schengen countries depending on the purpose of the travel.

Limited Territorial Validity Visas (LTV)

This is the second main category of the Schengen Visa types that permit you to travel only within the Schengen country or state that has issued your visa or in the countries you specifically mention when applying for the Schengen visa. LTV visa will not be valid in any other Schengen Area countries. These types of visa holders are not permitted to transit through any other Schengen country.

The issuance conditions for LTV visa differs from the other visa types. It is generally issued only for international obligations or on humanitarian grounds for any emergency. It is considered as an exception to the Uniform Visa system.

National Visas - "D" category visas

This type of Schengen visas are granted to individuals who are studying, working, or residing permanently in a Schengen Area country. The National visas are either granted for 

  • Single entry- which is valid for those who want to reside in a specific Schengen country for a specified period of time and with plans to return once the visa expires on a particular date
  • Multi-entry– which permits the visa holder to travel to other countries in the Schengen Area freely without additional visa requirements

However, one must meet the following requirements to get qualified for the multi-entry visa:

  • An international student in a program that grants the Schengen visas or someone who is beginning full-time studies in any of the designated Schengen countries
  • Working at an educational institution or research centre in any of the Schengen countries
  • Any professional travelling to a Schengen country to share the expertise of a particular field such as sport, artists, or any other profession
  • Travelling in the Schengen country and face a medical emergency situation that prevents your departure at the end of your National Visa expiry date.

The application for the Schengen visa mandates you to have the following documents:

  • Valid travel document such as a passport issued by the relevant authorities
  • Completed visa application form
  • A valid proof of means of subsistence
  • A complete itinerary or round-trip ticket reservations

Additionally, the other supporting documentation for the Schengen visa includes the purpose of the trip and a letter of invitation that can help you obtain the Schengen visa.