Who needs a Schengen Visa?

In this article

To ensure the seamless flow of people from one country or continent to the other, free visa zones are being established all around the world. Free visa zones allow citizens to travel between places without bothering about the time and resources consuming the visa process.
To ensure a thorough understanding, let us proceed with the definition of terms.

What is Schengen?

Schengen is the largest free travel zone in the world. It covers 26 European countries that mutually abolished all passports and all other types of border control.

What is a Schengen Visa?

Schengen visa is a document that allows some non-Europeans to travel seamlessly within the 26 countries of Schengen. The most common type of Schengen is the short-stay visa. This visa type allows you to travel for a maximum of 90 days for business purposes and tourism over the period of 6 months from the day the visa is issued.
For work, study, or to live in any of the Schengen countries which require more than the allowed 90 days, you will be required to apply for the visa of your desired European country, rather than a Schengen Visa.

Who really needs a Schengen Visa?

All citizens of third countries who have not reached a mutual agreement with the Schengen member states need a Schengen Visa to enter Europe. Third countries are countries that are not among the European Union and European Free Trade Association. Examples of these countries are Angola, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and so on.

Who does not need a Schengen Visa?

Citizens from some countries do not require a Schengen Visa to enter Schengen countries for business or tourism. Some of them are Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, among others.

Do ETIAS holders need a Schengen Visa?

ETIAS which stands for Electronic Travel Information Authorisation System allows citizens of certain countries a visa-free travel into any European country. The ETIAS provide travel authorization for business or tourism. It does not support studying or working. Citizens of who are eligible for ETIAS countries do not need a Schengen visa. All that would be required is to submit an ETIAS online application which takes roughly about 10 minutes to complete.

Which Country's Citizens Need an Airport Transit Schengen Visa?

In addition to a Schengen Visa, citizens of some countries are required to have an airport transit visa if they're changing an airline in any airport in the Schengen zone. There are exceptions however. Countries requiring airport transit include Afghanistan, Congo (DRC), Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Somalia.

The exceptions

There are exceptions regarding certain individuals concerning the airport transit visa. If any of these individuals meet any of these requirements, they do not need to get an airport transit visa. The exceptions are as follows:
  • Anyone with a residency permit that guarantees their whereabouts from countries such as Japan, San Marino, Canada, or the USA.
  • A person who holds a valid residency permit from any of the Schengen member countries.
  • A person with a diplomatic passport.
  • A valid visa or a Schengen visa to enter one of the EFTA countries, or a visa for Canada, Japan, and the United States, do not need an Airport Transit Schengen Visa.

It is important to note that citizens from countries that do not require a Schengen Visa are not permitted to stay in their destination for more than 90 days without accompanying legal permissions.
The Schengen visa does not apply to working or studying in the Schengen zone. It is only available for tourism and business purposes for a maximum of 90 days within 6 months.
For citizens with more than one passport due to their multiple citizenship status, the requirements would be based on what passport they decide to travel with. Conclusively, countries within the Schengen zone do not require any form of border control to travel within the 26 countries of the zone. Citizens of third countries require a Schengen Visa to access the Schengen zone.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.


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