Interested visitors to the Schengen zone are advised to become familiar with the entry requirements for the first segment of the Schengen Area. When traveling to any country, knowing and following the rules is wise so you don't run foul of the law. Here are some rules for first-segment countries.
Enter The Country That Issued The Visa First: The number one rule to always bear in mind is that you must always enter the country that issued the visa first before moving on to another country. If you travel to the wrong country first, you may encounter difficulties at the point of entry. The immigration officers on duty may likely deny you entry, and even if they do, you may encounter similar issues in other countries you visit, which will ruin the quality of your trip. Bear this in mind when booking your flight ticket so you don't boom for the wrong country.
Always Hold Your Stamped Passport: Another entry requirement to bear in mind is that your passport must be stamped by the first country you enter. Without a stamp from the officials at the primary destination, you will be viewed with suspicion as being an illegal immigrant. So carry the stamped passport with you when traveling between member states.
Keep Original Documents: Always keep original documents in your bag when traveling between countries, as you may be required to show them at the airport or border crossing.
Passport And Issued Visa: Two very important things to bring along are your passport and visa to prove that you are legally in the country.
Don't Exceed Your Time: Always obey the 90-180 days rule when traveling within the Schengen Area. The visa is issued for a maximum stay of 90 days and expires in 180 days. You may choose to stay in one country for all 90 days or several countries but don't stay more than required. Furthermore, your visa starts counting from the day you get it and will expire in six months' time. Do well to enter and exit the country or countries you wish to exit before time.
Passport: Your passport must have at least three months of validity from the time you wish to leave the Schengen zone. Applications submitted with passports that expire in less time will not be rejected.
The Schengen Area
The Schengen Area or Zone is a geographical location in Europe compromising 27 countries. Microstates such as Andorra, The Vatican, Monaco, and San Marino are also part of the zone. The reason why the whole of Europe is not part of the zone is that some states are not part of the Schengen, such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, The Republic of Ireland, and Romania.
Countries in the Schengen Area operate a borderless policy, so visitors with a visa can visit any other member state, including Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus, even though they are not Schengen countries. The Schengen zone is the largest free travel zone in the world.
Schengen visas are travel documents issued to travelers by Schengen countries. The visa is solely for tourism or shirt term business purposes, and you can also use it to visit family and friends in any of the Schengen European countries. Unless in the case of a single entry visa, most Schengen visas are multi-entry visas that allow free travel. The visa allows visitors to stay for 90 days in one or more countries within the area.
Visitors coming with the intention to work or study must apply for a national visa issued by the country they wish to visit instead of a Schengen visa. Schengen visas are the most subscribed visas annually, with more than 20 million applications submitted annually.
Schengen Visa Application Documents
Visa application form
Valid passport (3 months minimum validity)
Two recent passport sized photographs that meet Schengen requirements
Proof of accommodation
Proof of financial means (daily minimum expense amount is dependent on the country)
Travel medical insurance (€30,000 minimum cover)
Cover letter explaining the trip's purpose
Round trip travel Itinerary
Civil Status Certificate of required
The Embassy may require other documents, but these are the major documents all applicants must submit.
Visa Processing Fee
The visa processing fee for a Schengen visa depends on the age of the applicant. There is no fee for applicants below six years and above 80 years. The fee for 12-80-year-olds is €80, while there is a €40 fee for applicants between 6-11 years. This fee is an important part of the process and is non-refundable.
Now that you know the entry requirements for the first segment of the Schengen Area, do well to prepare your documents and book an appointment with the Embassy.