A Schengen Visa allows the holder to freely visit all member nations of the Schengen Agreement. The Schengen Agreement was originally signed between just five countries in Europe. However, since that time the number has grown to 25 member nations including; Austria, Belgium, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherland, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. By obtaining the most popular and common type of Schengen Visa, Category C, an individual is allowed to stay in any of these nations for 90 days within a period of 6 months. This means that a person can stay up to 90 days in any of these nations and freely move between them without having to obtain different visas for each country. While those 90 days do not have to be consecutive they are only available for the six month period after first entering a Schengen Nation. There a number of different types of Schengen Visas available in Thailand to individuals who complete the necessary application process.
Types of Schengen Visas: There are a number of Schengen Visas available to Thai applicants. The following are a list of the different types of visas offered by member nations. However, Category C is the most common type of visa and is the one recommended to travelers.
· Category A Visa: Some nationals are required to have this visa allowing the individual to travel through the international transit areas of Schengen Nations airports. However, this does not apply to Thai citizens and is most likely not necessary for travelers.
· Category B Visa: This visa allows individuals to single, double or multiple transits to Schengen Nations for a period of 5 days of less.
· Category C Visa: This visa is the most popular type of Schengen visas and provides the individual holder the ability to travel within Schengen Nations without obtaining additional visas. The visa is good for 90 nonconsecutive days. However, those 90 days must be used within six months of the date of first entering a Schengen Nation.
· Category D Visa: This visa is issued by individual Schengen Nation and allows a holder to stay in that country for the length of time provided by that individual nation. The holder of this visa may travel within other Schengen Nations for up to 90 days within the six month period of first arriving.
· Category FTD and FRTD: These visas are only special visas for road and rail lines between Mainland Russia and Kalingrad Oblast which borders the Baltic Sea.
Filing Documents: To complete an application for a Category C Schengen Visa the following documents should be provided:
1. A completed application available online or at Schengen Nations’ embassies.
2. A passport and a copy of that passport. The passport must be valid for at least three months after the planned return from Schengen Nations
3. A photograph or photographs of the applicant’s face that was taken within six months of applying. The amount of photographs required may vary so it is advisable to have a few available.
4. Proof of medical travel insurance that meets or exceeds €30,000.00
5. Evidence of a stable financial background, such as bank statements, property certificates and similar documents.
6. Documents showing travel arrangements, accommodations and related materials that show that the trip will be temporary.
7. If you are staying at another person’s residence in a Schengen Nation it might be necessary to bring an invitation from the individual you are staying with in order to verify your accommodations.
General Process: Once these documents are prepared an individual must complete a brief filing process. First, you must go to the embassy or consulate of the Schengen Nation that you intend to spend the majority of your time in. If that is unknown you could go to the Embassy or consult of the Schengen country you will first arrive in. Second, you must submit the documents listed above to the necessary station and pay the €60 filing fee (approximately THB 3,000.) This is usually the final step, but occasionally an interview will be requested to ask about your visit. A visa will usually be issued within in 4-5 business days after submission; the process can take longer if an interview is required.
· If the Schengen Nation that you are planning to spend the majority of your time in does not have an embassy or consulate in the country you are residing in you should contact the Schengen Nation that represents the other Nation for purposes of visas.
· Meeting the above requirements and completing the filing process does not guarantee a visa as approval is up to the discretion of the reviewing officer.
Conclusion: Making an application for a Schengen Visa in Thailand is the most convenient and effective way for a Thai national to travel through Europe. It allows an Thai national up to 90 days of travel to all Schengen Nations within a six month period. The visa is truly a 25 nation tourist visa that is provided to an individual who meet minimum requirements and file the appropriate application.