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Clearing some confusion: what can you do with a Schengen visa?

Europe is undoubtedly an exciting place in which to travel - just think of attractions like Buckingham Palace in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the sunny climate and resorts of Spain, to cite just a few examples.

However, if you are planning to visit Europe, you may need what is called a Schengen visa. What is a Schengen visa, and what does it allow you to do? This whole subject can be a complex and convoluted one, but we can make it much easier to untangle.

A straightforward outline of the Schengen arrangements

In 1990, the Schengen Convention was signed in Luxembourg - as a result of which, many member countries of the European Union have effectively abolished their border controls for eligible travellers, including holders of Schengen visas. This allows those people to - with only a few limitations - freely travel without the need for border checks between those countries.

This can make your travels in Europe wonderfully straightforward, especially as most of the EU's member territories are now part of the Schengen area. Obtaining a Schengen visa to Germany, for example, will allow you to journey unhindered to other Schengen territories - including France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and Poland. Some non-EU countries, including Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, are also in the Schengen Area; travel to those territories will still mean customs checks.

Limits to take account of with a Schengen visa

There are, however, limits to what a Schengen visa will permit you to do. For example, the visa will not enable you to stay in any of the Schengen Area countries for longer than 90 days or three months in each half-year, regardless of why you are travelling. Furthermore, while a Schengen visa might give you the right to spend a certain amount of time residing in one of these territories, it does not grant rights to work or study in that country.

You can use our website here at Documents and Visas Limited to quickly discern whether you require a Schengen visa - citizens of the EU and various other territories are exempt – and apply for it in the most efficient and stress-free manner.