Schengen Visa: what is it?


If you’re traveling to Europe and entering the Schengen Area from a country without a visa-free travel arrangement, you’ll need to get a visa. These come in four main Schengen visa category or Schengen visa types A, B, C, and D.


The most common Schengen visa type, a Uniform Schengen Visa, covers category A and C, providing you with your airport transit visa and allowing you to stay in any country in the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days in a six-month period. This will be the visa you need if traveling to Europe for a short vacation.


Category B relates to journeys lasting fewer than five days, while Category D is for longer stays to work or study.

Visa type C and Visa type D can be single, double, or multiple-entry visas, with the former only allowing you to enter the Schengen Area once, while the others allow you to leave and then return while the visa is valid. Multiple entry visas can be valid for one, three, or five years.


Another type of visa is a Limited Territorial Visa that only allows you to travel through one country. These are generally only issued in peculiar or emergency cases when a standard visa to visit Europe is unobtainable.

Category D national visas permit you to study, work, or even permanently reside in one of the Schengen countries.