A Schengen visa grants travellers the freedom to commute or reside within or in between countries that are part of the Schengen Area within the time stipulated on the visa. There are, however, certain restrictions on the movement of travellers within the Schengen Zone based on the purpose of their travel and on the type of Schengen Visa that they have been granted.
What are the Types of Schengen Visas?
There are three types of Schengen Visas namely:
- Uniform Schengen Visas (USV)
- Limited Territorial Validity Visas (LTV)
- National Visas
Travellers who have obtained a Uniform Schengen Visa are permitted to travel or reside in any country that is part of the Schengen Area. However, travellers holding this type of visa can only travel or reside within the Schengen Area for a maximum duration of 90 days for every 6 months commencing from the date they arrived or entered the Schengen zone.
Depending on the purpose or nature of the trip, the Uniform Schengen Visa is applicable to the following categories:
- Category ‘A’ - This category denotes ‘Airport Transit Visa’. This type of visa is compulsory for travellers who don’t belong to a Schengen country travelling to another non Schengen country. This visa allows travellers to pass through the airport of the Schengen country without setting foot in the state.
- Category ‘B’ - This category denotes ‘Transit Visa’. This type of visa grants travellers permission to commute through any Schengen country to a country that is not a Schengen member state. However, the period of transit cannot exceed 5 days.
Category ‘C’ - This category represents ‘Short Term Visa’. Holders of this type of visa are allowed to take up residence in a Schengen state for a fixed duration of time as per the validity of the visa. There are three types of visas that can be obtained under this category:
- Single Entry Visa - Travellers holding this visa can enter a Schengen country once within the stipulated time on the visa. If a traveller leaves the Schengen country at any time the visa expires immediately.
- Double Entry Visa - Similar to the Single Entry Visa, except the traveller can enter and leave the Schengen country twice within the stipulated time on the visa. The visa expires following the traveller’s second exit.
- Multiple Entry Visa - Travellers holding this type of visa can freely enter and leave the Schengen area as many times as they choose to. However, this can only take place over a period not exceeding 90 days for every 6 months.
Limited Territorial Validity Visas (LTV)
Travellers who have obtained this type of visa are allowed to travel or commute solely within the Schengen country or countries from which they have received the visa. Travel is not permitted to any other Schengen country other than those previously specified at the time of visa application.
These types of Schengen visas are granted to travellers who come under Category. Individuals who wish to study, work or take up permanent residence in any Schengen state can apply for this type of visa. National visas can be either single entry or multi-entry visas, depending on the purpose of the applicants travel to the Schengen area.