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Schengen is the name of the EU passport-free zone that covers most of the European countries. It’s the largest free travel area in the world.
A Schengen visa refers to a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area, per stays up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.
This visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.
However, if you want go to Qatar to study, work, or live in one of the Schengen countries for more than 90 days, then you must apply for a national visa of that European country and not a Schengen Visa.
While there are categories and nationals of countries that are privileged with entering the Schengen visa-free zone, there are also other categories and nationals, which have to go through all the process of meeting requirements and attending interviews, in order to obtain a visa that grants them with the permission to enter the Schengen Area.
The countries whose citizens are required to obtain a Schengen visa in order to enter any member country of the Schengen Area are:
Central African Republic
Dem. Rep. Of Congo
Papua New Guinea
Sao Tome And Principe
There are countries citizens of which need also an airport transit visa in order to change the airplane at an airport in a Schengen Area country.
The list of the countries which are subject to the airport transit visa in the Schengen Area goes as following:
There are however exceptions regarding the Airport Transit Visa for certain individuals.
You will have to present several documents at the Schengen port of entry, in order to be permitted to enter, if you are a non-EU/Schengen country national, regardless if you are a visa-exempt or not.
The documents you need to provide when entering the Schengen Area are as follows:
• Valid Passport. Issued within the previous 10 years and valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU.
• Schengen Visa. If you are a national of one of the third countries in need of a visa.
EU/Schengen border officials may also ask for other information and documents such as sufficient funds, proof of accommodation, how long you intend to stay, round-trip airline ticket, purpose of your entry, travel insurance, invitation letter, etc.
Please, make sure that the border officer gives you an entry stamp in your passport when you enter the Schengen area. Without a stamp, you could be fined or detained.
You need to apply for a Schengen Visa if you intend to visit one or more European countries of this area for the following reasons:
Depending on your reasons for visiting the Schengen countries and the frequency of your visits, the Schengen consulate can issue you a single-entry visa, double-entry visa, or a multiple-entry visa.
The validity of your single-entry visa depends on the number of days you stated you are going to be in the Schengen zone on your visa application form and the actual decision of the consulate that issues you the Schengen visa.
If you are a frequent traveler you may apply to obtain an EU visa valid for up to 5 years, but you have to keep in mind that you cannot stay within the Schengen Area for more than 90 days in a 180-day period of time even if you hold a multiple-entry visa for Europe valid for up to 5 years.
Before apply for a Schengen visa to travel Europe, you need to consider whether you need a schengen visa or not depending on the purpose of your travel nationality. If you do, you should make a clear plan (how many days you plans to be in zone, the countries you will visit, the country where you will enter and the country where you are going to exit).
Once you have that figured out, then you need to review all the Europe visa application requirements you need to fulfill and start the process of setting up a visa appointment at one of the Schengen consulates in your country.