Immigration. Travel. Living.

Schengen visa

Flag of European Union.

Schengen visa can be granted by any of the 26 Schengen Area member countries. According to the type of visa issued there will be varying restrictions. These restrictions are applied to the nature of traveling and other circumstances.

There are three main types of Schengen visas that have other categories of visas beneath them.

  • Uniform Schengen Visas (USV);
  • Limited Territorial Validity Visas (LTV);
  • National Visas.

Uniform Schengen visa (USV)

By obtaining this visa you will get the opportunity to travel or reside in any of the Schengen Area countries. However, there is time limitation for this visa type. You can stay in the area for a maximum of 90 days within a 6-month period. There are several categories of Uniform Schengen Visas and they are meant for different circumstances and intents.

Category A visa is called “Airport Transit Visa”. This type of travel document is required for those who are not residents in the area but are traveling from and to a non-Schengen country. It allows travelers to transit without setting foot in the state.

Category B is called “Transit Visa”. It allows travelers to pass through any Schengen area country with main destination being non-Schengen country. However, the maximum allowed time for this transit is 5 days.

Category C stands for “Short Term Visa”. It lets to take up residence in any of the Schengen countries. However, you can do so only for a fixed period of time within the validity of visa.

There are three other categories under this visa category for more specific needs:

  • Single entry lets you enter Schengen country once within the time frame that visa states. By leaving the country, visa automatically expires;
  • Double entry lets you do the same as single entry but you can do so twice. It expires upon the second exit;
  • Multiple entry allows its holders to enter and leave Schengen area for as many times as they wish. A time period limit is set to 90 days within a six month period.

Limited Territorial Validity visa (LTV)

This type of travel document lets travelers commute or travel solely within the Schengen country where they acquired visa. It is possible to specify certain countries you will be able to visit upon visa application. You will not be able to visit or transit through any other country that is not specified within this travel document. Usually, this type of travel document is issued for international obligations or for humanitarian reasons. It can also be issued as an exception to the common USV system. Additionally, this type of visa can be issued in case of an emergency visit without having any official travel documents.

National visas

National Visas are also called D category visas. Those who wish to study, work or acquire permanent resident status in Schengen countries can apply for this travel document. It can be granted either for single or multi-entry. This depends on the purpose of travels.

Latvian passport with airplane.

To qualify for multi-entry visa you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be a student in a program that grants Schengen visas;
  • About to start studies in a member country;
  • Be a teacher in higher education or research center;
  • Have an expertise to share within a Schengen country;
  • Have an emergency that prevents you from leaving once your National Visa expires.

Schengen visa application procedure

You can apply for your Schengen visa in the country where you have permanent residency. This can be done in the consulate of a Schengen country you wish to travel to and stay the longest. If you are spending an equal amount of time in several countries, you must apply at the consulate of the country you will travel to first.

To apply you must have the following:

  • Passport;
  • Filled visa application form;
  • Two passport photos;
  • Proof of means to live;
  • Proof of accommodation;
  • An itinerary;
  • A travel health insurance.

If necessary, you can also show additional documents. It can be an invitation letter, purpose of your trip or other relevant documents.


Schengen area covers 26 countries which you can visit or travel through by acquiring a Schengen visa. There are three main categories of Schengen visas.  These are Uniform Schengen Visa, Limited Territorial Validity Visa, and National Visas. Under these categories there are other categories of visas that are meant for varying circumstances. Each visa type has their own validity period and restrictions. That being said, you will certainly find a Schengen visa type that will be suitable for your occasion.

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