Guide to Schengen Visa Validity Rules

A Schengen visa is a visa that allows you to travel to all the countries that belong to the Schengen zone. There are 26 countries in this zone, which include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Once you get your Schengen visa, you can visit any of the countries mentioned above. However, most people do not understand the validity of their visa and outstay their visit. This could lead to heavy fine as well as rejection of Schengen visa application in the future. Hence, it is important to know the correct validity of your visa.

What is the Validity of your Schengen Visa?

When you book Schengen visa is valid for 180 days. However, no foreigner can stay in the Schengen zone for more than 90 days at a given time, even if the visa is still valid. The rule applies for all kinds of visas, including tourist visa, business visa, medical visa, visit visa, and study visa (short term courses – not more than 3 months. However, there are some rules that one needs to know when it comes to specific Schengen visa. Let us take a look at them here:

Single Entry Visa:

When you have single entry visa, you can visit the Schengen countries during the validity of your visa. However, once you leave the Schengen zone, you cannot revisit with the same visa, even if it is valid. In case you want to visit one of the Schengen countries again immediately, you would have to apply for a Schengen visa.

Double-Entry Visa:

As the name suggests, double-entry visa allows you to visit the Schengen zone twice, during the validity of your visa. Once you have exhausted the two-times limit of entering the country, you cannot go back with the same visa, even when your visa is still valid.

Multiple Entry visa:

If you are someone whose travel Schengen countries checklist has many countries crossed off,  love visiting same Schengen countries repeatedly, If you are a frequent visitor to the Schengen area and have used the double-entry visa more than once, you are eligible for multiple entry visa. In this case, you cannot visit the Schengen zone as many times as you want, until your visa expires. However, the total time you spend in the area should not be more than 90 days. Multiple entry Schengen visa is available for 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years.

Types of Schengen Visas and their Validity

Different types of Schengen visas are available for people who want to visit the Schengen zone. Here is some information about these visas and their validity.

Tourist Visa:

Tourist visa is for those who want to visit the Schengen countries for sightseeing. These visas are usually valid for 180 days, i.e. 6 months, although one cannot stay in the zone for more than 90 days.

Business Visa:

If you are visiting the Schengen zone for business purposes, you must apply for a business visa. The validity of this visa is the same as the tourist visa.

Student Visa:

Two types of student visas are available. One is a short time visa, where the courses last for not more than 3 months. In this case, you would get a Schengen visa with 180 days’ validity, where you can stay in the particular country for more than 90 days. However, if you are enrolling in an international student program, you can also apply for a 1-year visa, which can be extended.

Airport Transit Visa:

An airport transit visa is required when you have to pass through one of the Schengen countries while travelling to another non-Schengen country. The transit visa does not give you the right to step out of the airport. Moreover, it is only valid for a day, i.e. 24 hours.
Apart from the above mentioned visas, Schengen visas are also available for medical reasons, official visit, and cultural sports and filming purposes. The validity for all these visas is 6 months, with the duration of the stay not more than 3 months.


To ensure that you do not overstay your visa to any of the Schengen country, due check the duration of stay on your Schengen visa ticket. If the duration is for 15 days, you would have to exit the Schengen area even your visa is valid for 6 months. The validity of your visa is one of the important things to keep in mind while travelling to a Schengen country.

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