What is a SHORT-TERM VISA?
This kind of VISA allow all the third-country nationals to enter or to transit through the Schengen area, for a maximum of 90 days within 180 days. Also, there are some Countries which are not part of the Schengen area, but for which the Schengen acquis also applies. Those are Switzerland, Island, Norway and Liechtenstein.
How many kind of short-term VISA do exist and which is the best option for me?
Short-term VISA can be classified by:
- Their territorial validity: Schengen VISA or uniform VISA, airport transit VISA and VISA with a limited territorial validity.
The Schengen or uniform Visa is a visa valid for the entire territory of the Member States; the airport transit Visa is a visa valid for transit through the international transit areas of one or more airports of the Member States; and finally the Visa with limited territorial validity is a visa valid for the territory of one or more Member States but not all Member States.
- The purpose of your stay.
In order to apply for a VISA you must choose the right one according to the purpose of your stay. You can currently choose among those: business VISA, VISA for medical treatment, private or touristic VISA, study VISA, VISA for sport competitions, political, religious, cultural or scientific events, VISA for political or diplomatic missions, Visa for volunteering.
- Their period of validity and the duration of the authorized stay.
In order to decide which kind of VISA you want to apply for, first you need to consider both the validity period and the duration of the authorized stay of your VISA. The former refers to the validity of your VISA: i.e. if your VISA is valid from the 1st of January to the 30th of June, you can enter in the Schengen area within this period of time. Conversely, the latter refers to the effective number of days in which you can stay in the Schengen area during the validity period of your VISA. The duration of your authorized stay can account from one to 90 days, in 6 months.
How can I apply for it?
You must submit your application at least 15 days before the intended stay but not more than 3 months before it, and you must ask for an appointment in order to do that. It has to be asked at least 2 weeks before the intended day, but it can also be arranged immediately if urgent. The application shall also be submitted by a commercial intermediary. It will be exanimated as soon as it is possible by the competent Consulate, but this procedure can last up to 15 calendar days.
Which Consulate is competent to examine my application?
Your short-term Visa application must be examined by the Consulate of the competent Member State according to your stay destination, having its jurisdiction where you legally reside. Otherwise, if you have particular needs, you can submit your application to the competent Consulate having its jurisdiction in your national Country or in the third-country where you are legally when you have to submit it. The Consulate shall receive my application and valuate its competence.
Which documents do I need to apply?
You must have (in original and in copy):
- Your travel document, which has to be valid and does not expire for at least 3 months after your required Visa;
- A proof of possession of adequate and valid travel medical insurance. It must include the necessary costs for the return in your Country, healthcare, hospitalization or in case of death during your stay in the MS territory. If you have a uniform multiple Visa, you must demonstrate to have a travel medical insurance, covering the costs for the first of your intended stay. For the others, you must sign a declaration, stating that you are aware of the necessity to have a medical insurance for the following stays. The minimum costs covered by the medical insurance amount for 30.000 €. It must be valid in the MS territory where you will stay.
- Documents indicating the purpose of your stay. During the exam of your application, the competent Consulate must verify the authenticity and the reliability of the supporting documents and declaration of your travel;
- Accommodation receipt or a proof of economic means to cover accommodation costs. You must demonstrate to have sufficient means of subsistance both for the intended stay and for the return in the origin Country or to enter in a third-country. Otherwise you must demonstrate that you are in a position to acquire such means lawfully.
As for this requirement, the proof can be made by:
- Recent bank invoices, showing your expenditures during a certain period of time;
- Credit cards and their bank statements;
- Money in cash in a convertible value;
- Traveller’s cheque;
- Pay rolls;
- A declaration from your employer;
- A guarantee declaration or an accommodation declaration made by a private citizen.
The competent Consulate will evaluate the sufficient means of subsistence according to the related amounts set by the Member States.
However this list is not exhaustive, because each Consulate can request further supporting documents at their discretion.
How long do I have to wait to withdraw my VISA?
The competent Consulate must decide on the application within 15 days from when the application has been accepted. However this deadline can be postponed up to 30 days, if the authorities need to re-examine the application. Finally, if further supporting documents are needed, the deadline can be postponed up to 60 days from when the application has been accepted.
Can I extend the validity of a VISA already issued?
You can extend the validity of your VISA, even if it has not expired yet, if you are in one of the Member State and you cannot leave it for force majeure, humanitarian reasons or serious personal reasons. In that case you can ask for the extension of your VISA to the competent Consulate of the Member State where you are, even if that Consulate did not issue it.
In case of refusal, what can I do in order to obtain my VISA from the same diplomatic authority?
In case the competent Consulate refuses to issue your VISA you can either appeal this refusal or proceed for a new application submitted to the same Consulate. In this case, the Consulate must inform you if the deadline to appeal against its decision has not expired yet. Finally, if the new application for your VISA fails, you can try to apply for another kind of VISA. In this case, the content of the new application must differ from the previous one which has been rejected.
Which can be the reasons for a refusal of the VISA?
Your VISA can be denied in one or more of these circumstances:
- if your travel document is false, forged or altered;
- if you do not justify the purpose and the condition of your stay;
- if you do not provide proof of sufficient means of subsistence, both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to your country of origin or residence, or for the transit to a third country into which you are certain to be admitted, or you are not in a position to acquire such means lawfully;
- you have already stayed for three months during the current six-month period on the territory of the Member States on the basis of a uniform VISA or a VISA with limited territorial validity;
- you are a person for whom an alert has been issued in the SIS for the purpose of refusing entry;
- are considered to be a threat to public policy, internal security or public health;
- you do not provide proof of holding adequate and valid travel medical insurance, where applicable;
- if there are reasonable doubts as to the authenticity of the supporting documents or the veracity of their contents, the reliability of your statements or your intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa applied for.
A previous refusal of your Visa application does not imply a refusal for the new one. The new application must be valuated according to all the information available.
Can I apply again for a VISA, once mine will be expired?
Yes, you can. However you must consider that the new application shall respect the maximum period of 90 days of stay in the Schengen area within 180 days. Both the 90 and the 180 days must be calculated backward from the intended date of departure from the Schengen area.