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Multiple-Entry Schengen Visas for Indians: Update-2024

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Schengen Visas

Are you dreaming of frequent European travel? Or do you need frequent visits to take care of a business endeavour? If you hold Indian citizenship, we’ve got some great news!

As of April 18, 2024, the European Commission has implemented a new program for issuing multiple-entry Schengen visas. This change offers Indian citizens residing in India the chance to obtain more extended validity periods for their visas, making frequent trips to the Schengen zone significantly easier.

Changes in 2024: Multiple-Entry & Longer Validity

So, what does the change involve?

This new policy means that eligible Indian passport holders can apply for and get multiple-entry visas with a validity of up to two years. Previously, Indian citizens could only get single-entry visas.

To be eligible for a multiple visa, you must fulfill specific requirements, mostly about establishing a good travel history. This means that you will not get the 2-year visa on your first Schengen application. You must have had Schengen visas before you apply for this one.

To be exact, you must have previously obtained and lawfully used two Schengen visas within the last three years. After two 2-year visas, you can get a 5-year multiple-entry Schengen visa. 

In any case, the 90/180 rule still applies.

You can find detailed the Schengen visa information in this guideline.

The Reason Behind Eligibility Rules

As with any country issuing a visa, the EU wants reliable visitors who respect their immigration rules and other laws. The longer the traveler wants to be in the country, the more the issuing country wants the visa applicant to be.

This is why multiple-entry Schengen visas in general, not only for Indians, require showing a good travel history. This means that you have had such visas before and used them legally and responsibly.

Besides these requirements, you would also need to provide sufficient reason to justify why you need such a visa and prove that you will be able to support yourself in the Schengen area.

Essential Schengen Rules

Whether you’re getting a multiple-entry visa or applying for your first one and building a good rapport, you must remind yourself of the rules.

There are 26 Schengen member countries in Europe. These consist of EU members and other European countries, not in the EU.

EU Members: 22 countries are part of both the EU and the Schengen Area. These include popular travel destinations like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and many others. 

Non-EU Members: Four Schengen members are not part of the European Union: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. 

How to Apply

Here are the general steps to apply for a Schengen visa:

  1. Check if you require a Schengen visa based on your nationality and travel plans.
  2. Ensure you have a valid passport with at least 3 months validity beyond your planned departure from the Schengen zone.
  3. Figure out where to apply: You’ll typically apply at the consulate of the country you intend to spend the most time in, or the first country you’ll visit if staying equally in several.
  4. Application method: Research if applications are done in person or online through the chosen consulate or a visa application center. Application methods differ by the country you’re applying through.
  5. Gather required documents: This typically includes a completed application form, passport-sized photos meeting Schengen visa requirements, travel medical insurance, proof of accommodation, and documentation of your financial means.
  6. Schedule an appointment (if needed): Consulates may require appointments for visa submissions and interviews.
  7. Attend your appointment: Submit your application and potentially provide fingerprints or other biometric data.
  8. Pay the visa application fee.
  9. The consulate will review your application and inform you of their decision.

In any case, always double-check the specific requirements for your situation by contacting the consulate of the Schengen country you’re applying to. They’ll have the most up-to-date information and can advise you on any additional documents needed. 

Where To Apply?

Sure, you may be traveling to tens of Schengen countries, but it makes a difference where you apply. Here’s the breakdown of the first country rule: in most cases, you’ll need to submit your visa application at the consulate of the Schengen country you’ll be entering first. This applies especially if you plan to spend most of your time in that country. If you plan to visit multiple countries and spend equal amounts of time in several Schengen countries, the rule applies to the country where you’ll be crossing the external border upon arrival. This is the first Schengen nation you land in.

Another guideline is that if you’re visiting multiple Schengen countries, but one serves as your main destination or is where your primary purpose of the visit is located, then apply at that country’s consulate even if it’s not your first entry point.

Why is this important? Schengen countries rely on the first country of entry to handle the visa application process and perform initial border checks. 

Schengen 90/180 Rule

This rule applies to short-stay visas issued for tourism, business trips, or visiting family and friends. The 90/180 rule governs how long you can stay in the Schengen area.

The Schengen 90/180 rule restricts your stay within the Schengen zone to a maximum of 90 days within any 180-day period. If your visa is multiple-entry, you can exit and enter the Schengen zone multiple times, but the total stay cannot be more than 90 days in the last 180 days. Example:

Imagine you enter the Schengen zone on February 1st, 2024. The 180-day period would then look back from February 1st to July 30th, 2024. If you leave on May 1st, 2024 (having stayed for 90 days), you can only re-enter the Schengen zone at least July 31st, 2024 (when the 180th day from your initial entry has passed).

So, what do you think? Would a multiple-entry Schengen fit your dream travel goals? Or it could help you take care of your business. In any case, we’re sure this new policy can make your itinerary planning easier. Good luck in your application journey!

A Mechanical Engineer by education but a content writer by passion. He has been in the field of Content Writing and Marketing for six years. He loves to write in a wide range of genres. Contact me at [email protected]

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