Specifics of obtaining a Schengen visa

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  1. General information about Schengen visa
  2. How to obtain a visa for Scandinavian countries

Scandinavian countries belong to the Schengen Union and many nationals travelling to these countries must apply for visa though there are exceptions and special requirements.

General information about Schengen visa

Having Schengen visa you can freely travel through 25 European countries including Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden. Mostly Schengen visa is given for a short-time period (90 days in a 6-month period) and allows you to visit Scandinavian countries for the following purposes: tourism, a holiday with friends and relatives, a business visit, participation in conference or other official events, and when you travel in transit.

A visa issued for entry into one of the Schengen Union’s country allows travelers to freely visit all other countries which have signed the Schengen Treaty. If you plan to visit several countries you should fill-in an application for the country – your main destination (and provide documents to the appropriate Embassy); if you are going to spend the same period in several countries then you should obtain a visa for the first country in your trip.

To obtain Schengen visa travelers should contact the Embassy in the country of their residence. Personal presence at the appointment is mandatory as well as the full set of documents, otherwise you will be appointed a new date. It is advisable to apply for visa approximately in 30 days before the oncoming trip: a visa is generally issued in 5-15 days, or longer in special circumstances.

Remember that a Schengen visa does not guarantee your free entering the country. Decision on each traveler is taken at the border control of the countries in the Schengen area.

Types of Schengen Visa

Scandinavian countries issue different types of visas what depends on the purpose of your trip:

  1. Transit visa which can be a regular one and an airport transit type. The first one is issued when you pass through a Schengen Union country by car (5 days are allowed), or when you have to change the airport traveling through the Schengen countries. The second one is required if you do not leave the airport for entering the Schengen area.
  2. Short-term visa which is issued for maximum 90 days. This type of visa ought to be used within a 6 month period. However, some countries may issue re-entry visa for a longer period. The visa can be used for tourism and business purposes.
  3. Multiple-entry visa, which allows making business visits (in case you get an invitation) an unlimited number of times, it is usually issued for a year. Often aircrew members obtain this type of visa to freely visit the Schengen Union countries.
  4. A long-term visa which is issued for a more than 3 months stay in case of study, work, medical examination and treatment. Also, pensioners wishing to stay in the country longer can get a long-term visa.

Usually travelers apply, of course, for a short-stay visa going for a holiday, to the relatives or a business trip.

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How to obtain a visa for Scandinavian countries

Before you go on a trip to Scandinavia, you should find out whether you need a Schengen visa and if any additional documents are required. Despite the necessity to obtain a visa for Schengen countries, there are exemptions for a number of countries which residents have a right to enter free one of the Scandinavian countries.

Non-visa nationals

In addition to the residents of 25 countries, a part of the Schengen Union, non-visa nationals are:

  1. The residents of the most Latin, Central and South America: Honduras, Guatemala, Uruguay, El Salvador, Paraguay, Chile, Panama, islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Nicaragua, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, island group of Antigua and Barbuda, Uruguay, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil.
  2. The residents of the USA, the UK, Canada, New Zealandand Australia.
  3. The residents of a number of European countries outside the Schengen Union: Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina – if citizens have biometric passports, Croatia, Montenegro, San Marino, Monaco, Macedonia, Vatican, Andorra.
  4. The residents of the countries in the East and Asia as well as of some countries in the African continent: Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau, Israel, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, Seychelles, Mauritius.

Non-visa applicants from the USA, Canada, Japan and Australia do not need a return ticket when they travel to Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland, with a trip to Denmark they have to provide the ticket.

General requirements for a visa application

In general, the requirements for obtaining a short-stay visa for the Scandinavian countries do not differ (there may be slight differences in each Embassy, so it is necessary to specify it in advance, before the appointment). Each applicant must provide a set of original copies and a set of photocopies of all documents.

Basic documents
  • A fill-in application.
  • Passport with two blank pages. It must be valid for further three months after return.
  • Two colored photos on white background (you can study the detailed requirements on the Embassy's website).
  • If you have previously received Schengen visas – their copies.
Documents proving finances
  • Employment certificate and salary slips over the past three months, in case you are employed. The more specified salary is the more likely you get a positive decision.
  • For unemployed applicants affidavit of support is required.
  • Applicants must provide a bank statement for the last three months confirming the financial sufficiency (in general, 40-60 Euros per day stay).
  • For business owners, the registration slip for the company is required.
Proof of travel arrangements
  • Hotel reservation (e-copy is often enough) or rental agreement (original). If you plan to spend a holiday at your relatives or friends you need to provide an invitation that can be obtained at the local authorities of your destination country.
  • For a business trip you need an official invitation as well.
  • Tickets, including a return one.
  • Travel insurance for the whole period of your trip through the Scandinavian countries, covering the potential costs in the amount of 30,000 Euros.
Additional requirements for the residents of EU countries
  • Copy of passport of the EU countries.
  • Marriage certificate for spouses.
  • For children’s visa: a birth certificate with the name of the parents – EU nationals – is required.

As for a feeit varies depending on your country of residence. Most nationals will have to pay 60 Euros; 35 Euros will cost visa for children aged 6 to 12 and the citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. You should pay for visa in the local currency of the country where you applied for a visa.

For the following categories of applicants there is no fee for a Schengen visa:

  • children up to 6 years;
  • students (school, university or post-graduate) and accompanying them teachers who are sent to the Schengen country for education;
  • scientists who will carry out research in the Schengen countries;
  • representatives of non-profit organizations who travel to participate in seminars, conferences and any events organized by other non-profit organization. The applicant should be under the age of 25.

You should pay fee on the appointment when you submit your application.

Going around the Schengen zone

A Schengen visa allows free travelling between the countries within the Schengen area without going through the passport control every time. Though, it is strongly recommended always to take your passport when moving between countries. You should remember that Norway and Iceland are not EU members, i.e. you have to go through customs control when crossing their borders. But even if you are traveling to the Schengen country that is a member of the EU, by special request you may be asked to go through customs.

Please remember that all information given above is for indicative purposes only. For details and information concerning new requirements if any you need to contact the Embassy via an official website or by phone. Accurate information is a guarantee for a positive decision.