Schengen vs National Visa: What Are The Differences?

Schengen vs National Visa: What Are The Differences?

The Schengen Area is a remarkable legislative achievement, with 27 European countries collaborating to create an area where people can move freely and without restriction. To ensure security and safety in the region, all of these nations also agreed to strengthen their external border control and law enforcement cooperation. As a result of this unified effort, citizens across Europe now have greater freedom than ever before while being protected from crime on both sides of the national borders.

The 27 countries in the Schengen Area include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

When travelling to a Schengen country, you will typically need to apply for a Schengen Visa or National Visa, depending on the purpose and duration of your stay. Each type of visa has its specific requirements, with different privileges and restrictions. 

The National visa, type D, is issued by individual countries. Type D national visas allow holders to stay in a certain state of the Schengen member country for an extended period and can grant the holder permission to work or reside there.

They are typically issued for reasons such as business purposes, studying abroad, family reunification, or other long-term needs. It is important to note that type D national visas may not provide the holder with access to all of the benefits provided by citizens of the country, such as social security or healthcare. 

There are several Schengen visa types which allow the holder to travel within the Schengen member states. This visa is not meant for a long-term stay but allows the holder to remain in the country for up to 90 days within 180 days.

With a valid Schengen visa, a traveller can move freely from one country within the zone to another without the need for additional visas or paperwork. It also allows for an easier transition when travelling within the Schengen Area. The Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain are some examples of countries that have signed this agreement. 

  • A Uniform Schengen visa is an all-access visa to the entire 27 member states of the Schengen area, granting you entry anywhere within its boundaries.
  • May be issued for single, double, or multiple entries
  • To ensure that your application is properly processed, forward it to the consulate of the country where you plan on spending most of your time.
  • Limited territorial validity is a type of visa allowing you “limited” entry to the Schengen area
  • Unlike a uniform visa, which grants access to all Schengen States, a limited visa permits only visitation to one or more select countries.
  • Generally speaking, limited territorial visas are seldom applied for due to certain Member States not recognizing a few passports or simply declining permission for entry. These visas usually provide access to one country only and can be considered the most restrictive type of visa in comparison with uniform Schengen ones. Visas of Limited Territorial Validity demonstrate this restriction more than other types do.
Qualifying for a national visa can be quite difficult, depending on the laws and regulations of the country you are applying to. Generally speaking, applicants must meet certain requirements to qualify for a national visa, such as having proof of sufficient funds, a valid passport, sufficient health insurance coverage and other documents proving their eligibility. Additionally, some countries require applicants to have an invitation from either a resident or an organization located in that country. 
In comparison to getting a national visa, obtaining a Schengen visa is easier. To be eligible for a Schengen visa, applicants must meet certain requirements such as having valid travel documents, proof of sufficient funds and health insurance coverage. Depending on the purpose of their visit, they may also need to provide supporting documents such as invitation letters or evidence of accommodation arrangements. 

It is important to note that a national visa does not guarantee entry into another Schengen country. Each country has its own set of policies and requirements for travellers, so you may still be subject to additional scrutiny at the point of entry. It is always best to consult with the embassy or consulate of the country you intend to visit to ensure that you have the appropriate documentation.

In contrast, you can freely move between countries with a Schengen visa. With a Schengen visa, you can stay in any of the 27 countries between 90 days and within six months, as long as your passport is valid for three months beyond the date of your intended departure from the Schengen area. 

The process of obtaining a visa can vary greatly depending on the country, the purpose of travel, and other circumstances. Generally, National visa applications may take at least 2 weeks to be issued by a consulate or embassy. Schengen Visa applications usually take from 15 days to 3 months for processing.

The processing time may be subject to change due to seasonal or political circumstances. It is always best to check with your local consulate for accurate and updated information on visa application processing times. Additionally, it is important to remember that many countries require you to submit a valid passport at least six months before its expiration date to be eligible for a visa.

Do note that to apply for a national or Schengen visa, applicants are required to show that they have purchased health insurance. On top of this, it is also advisable for applicants to apply for travel insurance in the case of any incidents while they are overseas. There are Schengen travel insurance policies available in the market and they are specifically tailored to cover Schengen visa applicants.

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