Schengen Visa Entry Types

A Schengen visa is a document essential for travel into the Schengen area for different purposes. Depending on the purpose, a visa is chosen. However, this is a long process of meeting requirements and attending interviews, so all information is collected and permission for a visa is given.

Schengen Visas are grouped into four categories – A, B, C and D.What are the Schengen Visa entry types?

Category AThis category is for all transit flights from non-Schengen countries to another non-Schengen country that has a connecting flight in one of the Schengen countries’ airports. This type of visa does not allow an individual to leave Schengen airport.
Category BCategory B has been replaced by type ‘C’ with condition ‘transit’
Category CPermits a short stay (lasting less than 90 days) within the Schengen area. Type C Visas can be a single-entry visa, double-entry visa or multiple-entry visa (this will be discussed in the next sub-chapter).
Category DLastly, this category issues a long stay (more than 90 days). This visa is issued for study, work, or living. This type of visa is known as a national long-stay visa.

The types of visas concerning the categories are:

The Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)

This type of visa is issued for people from one of the Schengen area member countries for the purpose of residence or transit. This lasts up to a maximum of 90 days, every 6 months from the date of entry. Uniform Schengen Visa can travel to all 26 countries within the Schengen sphere. The USV applies to both A (airport transit) and C categories (single, double, multiple entry visas).

Limited territorial validity visas (LTV)

Second type of Schengen visa is an LTV – which permits to stay in only chosen Schengen country/countries. For instance, if an application states that they only want to visit France, and the visa is only issued for France, the traveler is not allowed to cross any other Schengen border. Hence, it’s invalid for other Schengen countries. Yet, this type of visa is only issued in rare cases such as an international obligation of humanitarian reason (being an exception to the USV). Moreover, LTV may also apply to people who don’t have valid travel documentation but have to travel to the Schengen area in an emergency.

National Schengen Visas

National visa falls into the D category – for people who travel for educational, work or residential purposes within the Schengen area. A national visa can be issued in form of a single entry – for people who are in demand of residing for a certain period of time. Multi-entry national visas are issued for those who may travel in and out of the Schengen country (such as students that may return home during educational breaks). A multi-entry national visa needs to meet a few requirements.

Purpose of the travel

Another thing an applicant needs to remember is the purpose of travel. This needs to be stated in the application form with a detailed explanation. Here are the purposes and short explanation for them:

Tourism –

Most popular example of a Schengen visa is a tourist visa. This visa is issued to people who visit the Schengen territory to discover culture, foods, architecture, visiting popular tourist spots, sightseeing, or active sports such as ski resorts.

Family/Friends visits –

Some individuals who have friends or family members, legally living in the Schengen area may want to visit them. The purpose of the travel is to visit a relative, in regards to this visa type – for application to be accepted, special documents are required to be attached (for example invitation letter).

Business –

Another common reason to apply for a Schengen visa is for business. Many international firms operate globally and require to travel in order to maintain good relationships, sign specific documents, or simply to check if everything is flowing as it should be. Business visas take often less time compared to other Schengen visas – as appointments are assigned quickly, this also applies during peak seasons.

Official visit –

An official visit/duty is when an individual receives an official invitation for meetings, negotiations, exchange programmes, consultations and other events run by intergovernmental organizations.

Study purposes –

Students that wish to attend a Schengen-state educational institution (university, language school etc) for a period of fewer than three months, may apply for a Schengen study visa. This may include student exchange, exam, or other forms of short-term stay abroad.

Medical reasons –

A medical treatment purpose, allows an individual to stay at a medical care facility/clinic for three months within 180 days. Treatment may include surgery or other forms of medical support.

Cultural/Sports/Film Crew events –

This type of visa requires an individual to be a part of an event. For instance, a writer presenting his new book at a book fair, a singer performing a concert or an athlete competing in a sports event. Not all events have an audience.

Other –

This option is chosen in an application if a person wants to travel to the Schengen area, but his/her purpose doesn’t match any of the above. In this case, a purpose still has to be given.

What are the differences between multiple, double and single entry Schengen Visa?

There are three types of Schengen visa entries: single-entry, double-entry, and multiple entries. They are all in category C of Schengen Visa types.

Single-entry Schengen Visa

As the phrase suggests, a single-entry visa permits an individual to enter the Schengen area once. The entry must be done in accordance with visa guidance (mentioned in the visa sticker attached to their passport), within the given period of time, and at a specific border. When the person decides to leave the Schengen area, their visa then automatically expires and they are not permitted to go back, even if their allowance of days didn’t finish.

It is essential to remember that a single-entry visa doesn’t mean the number of countries a visa allows to visit – for instance, enter each Schengen country once. Furthermore, the country permitted to visit (and time allowed to stay) is clearly stated in the ‘valid for’ and ‘number of entries’ tag on a visa sticker.

Double-entry Schengen Visa

A double-entry visa works similar to a single one, with the only difference being that a person can enter the country two times (so they can return after they leave the country). As mentioned before, it is also important to remember that double-entry – does not permit double entry to every country. Similar to the single-entry visa, after the second visit within the country, a person is not authorized to enter the country for the third time. Yet, if a person has been issued a double-entry visa frequently, it is more likely for them to be granted a multiple-entry visa.

Multiple-entry Schengen Visa

People granted a multiple-entry visa are authorized to enter the Schengen area as many times they like, as long as they don’t violate the 90/180 rule (which will be explained below). Based on the frequency of travels, the application may differ in regards to multiple-entry. Multiple-entry visas are:

1 year multiple- entry – One-year multiple entries is issued for people who have lawfully used up to three visas in the past two years. Requirements for this visa is proof of previous visas and trips in the Schengen area. One year MEV grants entrance to the Schengen zone as many times as a traveler wants, with the only restriction being they must not exceed 90 days of allowance per trip.

3 years multiple -entry – In this case this is granted for people who have used their 1-year visa at least twice. Three years MEV authorizes entry for three years.

5 years multiple -entry – Five-year MEV works exactly like the two above. This visa is issued for people who have used the 3-year MEV twice.

The rule of 90 days applies to all MEVs, within the 180-day. 90/18- Schengen visa rule does not start on the day the visa becomes valid. It is vital to count backward the last 180 days when entering Schengen, as the days keep rolling, to see if a person was at Schengen for more than 90 days. This can be checked via a Schengen visa calculator that can be found online.

Types of visa entries

A feasible visa for someone my age (22) could be either a tourism, student, business, or family/friend visit visa (depending on purpose of the travel). People my age are likely to travel few times a year, discovering different cultures and lifestyles – therefore tourist visas are the most common visa for young adults. Second most common visa is a student visa – issued for the purpose of attending educational institutions abroad.

Other individuals my age (who did not attend university) may also travel for business for work-related purposes. A family/friend visa is for those who have family abroad, or who have friends that study abroad, for this type of visa letter of invitation is required.

Which Schengen Visa is feasible for you?

Can you choose the entry type yourself?

No – it’s purely based on the purpose of your trip. Therefore you cannot get a student visa if you’re traveling for tourism. When a visa is granted it’s fully based on the information provided, and letters of invitation in many cases. For instance, you cannot obtain a student visa, if you have been invited by a friend. The same applies, if someone travels for tourism, but wants it to be a business visa due to its quick issuance.

What to do when you do not get the expected entry type? 

In a situation when a Schengen visa with recent EU visa photo is rejected, a person is permitted to re-submit the application. In a situation where a person obtains a tourist visa and may want to stay longer, a Schengen visa extension is available. These are authorized by the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EC) ‘No. 810/2009 of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Journal of Laws of the EU of 2009 L243/1)’.


Yet, these are hard to obtain, and without a strong reason, it’s not possible. Allowed reasons, according to Schengen visa policy are late entry, humanitarian reasons, personal emergency reasons, or force majeure.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here