The Schengen Visa is a required travel document  issued to individuals travelling within the Schengen Area who are not citizens of member countries. The Schengen Area is comprised of 26 countries which allow the free movement of individuals within this space as if it were a single country. The list of Schengen member states is as follows:
 U.S. citizens traveling for less the ninety days within the Schengen Area do NOT need a Schengen Visa.
Schengen Visa Types
There are four types of Schengen visas which are differentiated based on the length of stay of the individual.
- The single-entry visa allows for one continuous stay in the Schengen Area up to a maximum of 90 days.
- The multiple-entry visa allows for several stays within the Schengen Area, provided that the total length of visits does not exceed 90 days within any half-year period.
- The transit visa allows travelers from non-Schengen countries to pass through the Schengen Area en route to their final destination.
- The airport transit visa is required for certain travelers who have layovers in the Schengen Area during international flights.
Schengen Visa Requirements
All Schengen Visa applicants must submit a completed Schengen Visa application together with a valid passport containing at least two blank pages. The consular fee for the application is €60. Applicants must provide proof of fund and an official document verifying the purpose of their trip. Finally, all travelers to the Schengen Area must show proof of valid traveler’s insurance which must cover the duration of the stay and have a minimum coverage of €30,000.
New Requirement: Biometrics
As of May 15, 2014 all Schengen Visa applicants will be required to appear in person at a consulate to submit biometric data (fingerprints) together with their application. This data will be stored in the new Visa Information System (VIS) and can be re-used with future applications within a five-year period.
Consultation Requirement for Visa Applicants
Some Schengen countries require a consultation from citizens of certain countries applying for the Schengen Visa. The consultation process may take up to seven days, so applicants should schedule their time accordingly. A Schengen visa will be issued once the applicant’s details have been exchanged and the state(s) consulted have given their approval. Below is the list of countries for which the consultation requirement is in effect:
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions about the Schengen Visa. If you would like to begin your application process, please fill out our visa intake form and will get back to you within one business day.
Niko Druzhinin is a legal assistant at Lipman & Wolf, LLP and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Global Policy Studies at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs in the University of Texas at Austin. Niko received his Bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara in Global and International Studies with an emphasis in the Latin America region. Niko is fluent in Spanish and Russian. If you have questions or comments about the article, please contact us.
 The passport should be less than 10 years old and its validity should exceed the visa duration by at least three months.
 Some acceptable documents include: invitation letter, certificate of enrollment in an academic institution, confirmation of lodging in a hotel, etc.
 Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the biometric requirement.