The member states of the European Union form the Schengen Area which is characterized by the same or similar set of visa rules used in each of these countries. For travel to these countries, tourist insurance is extremely necessary, since medical care is expensive enough.
In a nutshell, this is the area within the European Union where any movement is completely free – there are no customs, border controls or passport checks. Accordingly, the Schengen visa is a document which entitles a person to travel freely within the Schengen Area.
Before traveling to one of the European Union states, foreigners from the Asian countries should find out whether that country belongs to the Schengen Area.
Today, this area includes twenty-six countries, four of which are not members of the European Union.
The Schengen Area countries include: Belgium, France, Austria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Estonia, Iceland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Netherlands, Malta.
Of these twenty-six countries, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are not EU members but the EFTA (European Free Trade Agreement) members.
Note that despite the common presumption the United Kingdom and Ireland are not members of the Schengen Area and have introduced their own visa policy and requirements.
Such countries as Cyprus, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are not official members of the Schengen Area yet but are due to join this formation soon and de facto already implement the Schengen acquis.
Applying for a Schengen visa as a citizen of an Asian country
Citizens of Asian states go through the same Schengen visa procedures as any other individuals eligible for obtaining this visa.
First of all, it is important to understand that there are several types of Schengen visas:
type A (airport transit visa). Allows to travel through the airport located in the Schengen area without stopping and staying at the Schengen territory;
type B (transit visa). Allows persons to transit through the Schengen Area for up to five days by different means of transport;
- type C (short-stay visa). Is valid for no less than a year;
- type D (long-stay visa). Is also known as a national visa. It enables the person to live, work or study in a country that is part of the Schengen Area.
Next, based on the duration of a visit there are some other types of Schengen visas:
single-entry visa. As its name suggests, the holder of this type of visa can enter the Schengen Area once for a given period of time;
- double-entry visa. The holder of this visa can enter and leave the Schengen Area twice;
- multiple-entry visa. It entitles its holder to enter and leave the Schengen Area an indefinite number of times for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
The EU visa waiver programs with Asian countries
The EU visa waiver program allows foreign nationals to enter the Schengen Area visa-free for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
Asian countries with which the European Union signed the visa waiver programs include: Brunei Darussalam; Hong Kong; Japan; Macao; Malaysia; Singapore; South Korea; Taiwan; Тimor Leste.
Citizens of the Asian countries that do not have a visa waiver program with the European Union must apply for a Schengen visa.
There are a few benefits persons from some Asian countries enjoy when obtaining their Schengen visas:
persons from Malaysia and South Korea can stay extra three months within a 180-day period in the Czech Republic no matter how many days they have spent in the Schengen Area;
- persons from Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and Japan can stay in Denmark for extra 90 days on top of their first 90 days within a 180-day period;
- persons from South Korea can stay in Poland for extra 90 days on top of their first 90 days within a 180-day period.
Visa waiver program between Indonesia and the European Union is currently in progress.
Citizens of Turkey still need to obtain visas from the Schengen countries, although they can do so online or upon arrival as well.
Read more: TOP-4 problems tourists experience in Europe
Important tips for obtaining a Schengen visa
- Remember that countries like the UK, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein are not members of the Schengen Agreement. Foreigners from the Asian countries must apply to the embassies of these countries in their home country.
- If you want to get a Schengen visa, you can apply at the embassy of any country that is part of the Schengen Area.
- If you are going to visit several Schengen countries, apply for a visa at the embassy of a country that is your primary destination.
- If you cannot figure out the primary destination, apply for a Schengen visa at the embassy of a country you will be visiting first.
- Do not submit your Schengen visa application sooner than three months prior to the date of your trip to the Schengen Area.
- Note that you will be required to submit your biometric data (a digital photo and fingerprints).
- Remember that a Schengen visa does not entitle its holder to live or work in the Schengen Area. To do so, you must apply for a work visa, student visa or long-stay visa.
Documents required for a visa to the Schengen Area
Citizens from various Asian countries may encounter slightly different visa requirements. This will also depend on the country through which they apply for their visas.
Typically, the list of documents includes:
- a visa application form (usually in English but some countries require this form to be filled out in their official language as well);
- a bunch of passport photographs;
- - a national (domestic) passport;
- recent bank statements;
- - health insurance for a required minimum (the amount may vary from country to country);
- - flight itinerary;
- - hotel reservations.
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Getting visas to the EU as a Chinese
Chinese nationals are one of the most frequent and numerous Asian nationalities applying for the Schengen visas. It is worth noting that Chinese also enjoy one of the lowest visa rejection rates. The most popular country through which Chinese are applying is Germany.
Some of the documents required from Chinese nationals are:
- completed visa application form;
- two passport photographs;
- at least two blank pages in the passport;
- a cover letter written by an applicant outlining the purpose of the visit;
- flight itinerary;
- - hotel reservations for each city and country one is planning to visit;
- - personal bank statements for the past three months.
Employed persons must also submit a permission from the employer to leave, a tax return, a bank statement and a job contract.
Self-employed persons must submit their tax returns, business license and a bank statement for the past six months.
Please note that you should carefully check the Schengen visa requirements before applying as these may change from time to time.
Once the set of documents for a visa is submitted, the Chinese nationals are asked to undergo a visa interview. Depending on the purpose of a visit, it can be short or more detailed.
The most frequent questions include the ones about current job, marital status, acquaintances in the Schengen Area, the time of intended stay in the Schengen Area and the like. It is important to be confident, accurate and positive while answering all questions.
For more detailed consultations in touristic incurance for travelling , you can contact the UTI Center - Ukrainian Travel Insurance. We work for you round-the-clock 7 days a week.
Call the number +38 050 412 77 79 and ask your questions!