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Opinions of Monday, 24 February 2020

Columnist: Mustapha Jimah

Travel Matters – All you need to know Schengen visa (Part II)

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This article is a continuation of the earlier article published with the same headline. As explained in the previous article, the Schengen zone is made up of twenty-six European States and a holder of a Schengen visa is allowed free movement to other Schengen states.

The categories of temporary visas are

“A” which stands for Airport transit

“C” which stands for an entry visa that allows for temporary residence in the Schengen Area.

Single-entry visa

A single-entry visa allows its holder to enter the Schengen area only once, within the given period of time, as mentioned in the visa sticker affixed to their passport. Once the visa holder exits the Schengen territory, he or she can no longer go back, even if they have not spent the number of days as permitted by the embassy that issued them the visa. This means that a Schengen visa holder can use a single entry visa to travel through all the Schengen states provided there were no restrictions from the issuing country and only forfeits such an opportunity when he leaves the Schengen area.

Double-entry visa

The traveler this time has two chances to visit the Schengen area once she leaves at her first visit. She can still visit again provided her visa is still valid.

Multiple-entry visa

A multiple-entry visa allows its holder to go in and out of the Schengen area as many times as he or she wants, as soon as they do not violate the 90/180 rule. The 90/180 rule means that when you are offered the opportunity to spend a maximum of 90 days in the Schengen area and you spend all the 90 days, your next visit to the Schengen area would be after 90 days outside the Schengen. The frequency of your travel to the Schengen area permits you to apply for the following entry types

1 year multiple-entry visa

3 year multiple-entry visa

5 year multiple-entry visa

1 year multiple-entry Schengen visa

One can obtain this type of visa provided that you have obtained and lawfully used three visas within the previous two years. When you apply for this visa, you will need to show proof of your previous visas and the trips you made to the Schengen Zone.

This type of multiple entry visa gives you the right to enter in the Schengen Zone as many times as you want within the one-year period. The traveler is allowed to spend a maximum of 90 days per visit.

3 year multiple-entry Schengen visa

The 3-year is multiple entry visa is granted to applicants who have obtained and lawfully used a previous multiple-entry visa valid for one year within the previous two years.

This visa gives the right to its holder to enter the Schengen area as many times as they wish within a period of three years. However, even in this case the visa holder is limited to remaining in the EU no longer than 90 days within a 180-day period.

5 year multiple-entry Schengen visa

5-year multiple entry visa is granted to people that have obtained and lawfully used a previous multiple-entry visa valid for at least two years within the previous three years.

This visa permits you to enter 26 countries in Europe as many times as you wish, within five years, as long as you do not violate the 90/180 days’ rule. Even though these rules exist, it is the prerogative of the Consular officer to apply the rule, it is not an automatic offer from the Embassy that granted the visa.

Another type of visa issued by the Schengen states is the limited Territorial validity visas, this type of visa allows you to travel only in the Schengen State that has issued the visa or in some other cases, certain Schengen States specifically mentioned when applying for the visa. The holder of this type of visa cannot enter or transit through any other Schengen country that is not the first and final destination target. This type of visa is issued in very peculiar cases such as a humanitarian reason or under international obligation as an exception to the common Universal Schengen Visa system. It usually applies to individuals who do not possess a valid travel document yet have to travel to a Schengen area on an emergency of any kind.

National Visas

The national visa of “D” category is granted to individuals who are studying, working or permanently residing in one of the Schengen countries. The national visa can be of a single entry, granted to people who are in need of residing in the Schengen country for a certain period of time and for a sole purpose after which they shall return to their country.

On the other hand, a multi-entry national visa is also granted for certain individuals, allowing its holder to travel in and out of this Schengen country as he/she pleases and also travel throughout the whole Schengen Area without additional visa requirements.

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The writer is a former consular officer at the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana and currently the CEO of Musjima Ventures. His interest is in travel matters and migration issues. For enquiries call or whatsapp me on 0262677946.