What is a Schengen Visa? Do I need one?

Allianz Travel - Schengen_1

What is a Schengen Visa? Do I need one?

Have you been thinking about visiting Europe and heard the phrase Schengen zone or Schengen visa and not sure what it is all about?

Not to worry, it can be a little confusing.

In this article we will break down what the Schengen zone is, what it means, and if you need a Schengen visa.


What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is a visa that allows you to visit and pass between any of the countries within the Schengen zone.


The Schengen zone covers many European countries (but not all), which means that you can visit more than one of these countries under the same visa.

There are also a number of countries that you can visit outside of the Schengen zone with the Schengen visa. More on that below.


Where is the Schengen Zone?

26 European countries make up the Schengen zone. The list below details the countries in the Schengen zone, which means you can travel through more than one of these countries on just one Schengen visa.

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein


Do I need to apply for a Schengen visa?

As a citizen of South Africa, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter one or more of these countries.

Please note that the UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen zone, therefore if you wanted to visit these countries you would need to apply for a visa directly with them.


How long can I visit the Schengen zone on a Schengen visa?

The most common Schengen visa issued allows you to visit for up to 90 days within any 6-month period. There are however different types of visas you can apply for.


What do I need for a Schengen visa?

There are a number of documents that you will need to prepare for your application.

  1. A passport photo – this must be attached to your application and in the standard passport photo style.
  2. Confirmation documents of your round trip – you must show evidence of your entry and exit plans of the Schengen zone.
  3. Travel Health Insurance Policy – you must have the correct travel health insurance policy in place when travelling to the Schengen zone. We provide a Schengen specific travel health insurance policy which complies with all Schengen rules making this process easier for you. To find out more about this cover, please visit: https://www.allianz-assistance.co.za/travel-insurance-products/schengen-travel-insurance/
  4. Proof of accommodation for your entire trip within the Schengen zone



How do I apply for a Schengen visa?

If you would like to apply for a Schengen visa, please visit the official site: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/how-to-apply-schengen-visa/


Make sure you follow the instructions carefully otherwise you may have your application rejected.


You can also visit other countries outside of the Schengen zone on a Schengen visa.

Just to make it that little bit more confusing, there are a number of additional countries you can visit with the Schengen visa that are not part of the Schengen zone.

This means that, providing you have a valid Schengen visa, you can move thorough, or temporarily stay within, the countries listed on this webpage https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/non-eu-countries-where-you-can-go-with-schengen-visa/


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