European Union Visa Types

Even though European Parliament approved a visa waiver agreement with many countries, nationals of some states still need an entry visa to cross the EU territory.

A Schengen visa is the most common entry visa for Europe and allows visiting any members of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days per stay.

There are uniform, limited territorial validity, and national types of Schengen visas. Also, different Schengen visa types can be distinguished by the purpose of travel.

Uniform Schengen Visas (USV)

The Uniform Schengen visa permits transit or staying in one of the Schengen Area Member Countries for up to 3 months (90 days).

There are two categories of the Uniform Schengen visa according to the travel purpose: the "A" category - the airport transit visa and the "C" category - the short-term visa.

Airport Transit Visa

The airport transit visa enables one to travel through the international zone of the airport of a Schengen country without entering the Schengen territory.

This visa is compulsory when traveling from one non-Schengen country to another non-Schengen country with a change of flight in the Schengen country.

Short-term visa

A short-term visa allows its holders to stay in the Schengen area for a time defined by its validity. There are single-entry, double-entry, and multiple-entry ones.

A multiple-entry visa permits one to enter the Schengen area unlimited times during the period of effectiveness. This visa category can be issued for one, three, or five years.

It's important to follow the 90/180 rule.

Limited territorial validity visas (LTV)

LTV visas allow entering only the Schengen area country that issued the visa or those that were specifically mentioned in the application.

This visa is issued in special cases, or emergencies, e.g., as a humanitarian reason or under international obligation as an exception to the common USV system.

The application may be completed without a valid travel document.

National Visas

A national visa ("D" category) can be obtained by persons who are going to work, study, or reside permanently in one of the Schengen countries.

It can be a single-entry when, after fulfilling their purpose, travelers come back home. The multiple-entry visa lets its holders reenter the whole Schengen area without additional restrictions.

Also, Schengen visa types can be distinguished by the purpose of travel.

Schengen visa types according to the travel purpose


A transit visa, as was mentioned before, is used when a traveler needs to enter the Schengen area country only to get to their next destination.

Be attentive, as while some nationalities don't need a visa to transit, some are required to have one.


For many people, traveling is associated with tourism, before everything else.

Many go to European countries for sightseeing, honeymooning, exploring new places and cultures, visiting any recreation and entertainment facilities, attending summer camps for youngsters, going to concerts, shows and plays, etc.

Visiting Family or Friends

Citizens of some countries need a visa to visit their family and friends in Schengen member states.

People may travel to the Schengen area to see relatives or friends; attend weddings, funerals, or any other family events; care for the sick or old for a short period, etc.

For this purpose, an applicant must attach an invitation letter to their visa application.


Many employees and self-employed people must have a valid Schengen visa to go to European Union member states for business and professional matters.

This involves attending meetings, conferences and congresses, trade fairs and exhibitions; having formal or informal on-the-job training courses, participating in non-governmental organizations' missions, etc.

There are many perks for this visa type, for example, a person may get their appointment quickly during the busy period when a lot of people are applying for a visa.

Official Visit

If a person is traveling to the Schengen area for official duty, they must obtain an official visa.

This visa is issued for those who are to participate in meetings, consultations, negotiations, exchange programs, and other events held in the Schengen Zone by intergovernmental organizations.

An applicant should present such additional documents as an invitation letter from the organization in Schengen and an official note from the Consular Department.

Medical reasons

This Schengen visa is used by people willing to receive services from any health and social institution: hospitals, clinics, and convalescent homes.

It also includes visiting health and spa resorts and other specialized places to get medical treatments based on medical advice, including cosmetic surgeries.

This visa covers a short treatment for up to 90 days. If it requires more time, an applicant should apply for a National Visa for Medical Treatment in the respective country.

Study Purposes

This type is granted to third-country nationals who need to stay in the Schengen area for studying.

Besides other required documents, the visa application must be supported by a recent, official and signed a letter of acceptance at an EU University/College/School.

Cultural, Sports and Film Crews

The Schengen visa for this purpose is designed for people from outside the Schengen area so that they attend cultural/sports/religious events and for film crews.

Applicants must be part of the event not only as an audience but as performers.

An entry visa for performers requires providing event information and evidence of previous performances.

Other purposes

Sometimes you cannot find a Schengen visa that fits your purpose of travel. In this case, you need to select "other" and specify the reason for your trip: for example, "religious visit".

Get help
5 days a week from 8am to 4pm (GMT+1)
or send inquiry:

Evisa Express uses cookies and similar technologies for statistical and analytical purposes to optimize usage. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. If you do not change the settings, cookies will be saved in your device's memory. Cookie Policy and Terms of Service.

IATA logo

We’re an IATA member

International Air Transport Association (IATA) represents and serves air travel industry with advocacy and global standards for safety, security, efficiency.