The Schengen visa, similar to a lot of other permits, comes in the form of a sticker in your passport. However, reading a Schengen visa sticker details may require you to know some abbreviations, numbers, and other parameters.
A Schengen visa sticker generally consists of texts in 3 languages simultaneously - English, French, and German. Let us take a look at the different factors that will help in understanding Schengen visa sticker.
Countries the visa holder is permitted to enter
Most visas are issued as Uniform Schengen Visas (USV) and they allow you to enter all the Schengen countries. However, in certain cases, you may only be allowed to enter certain countries. The countries you are permitted to visit is mentioned on your Schengen visa sticker.
The sections mentioning these are named as es VALID FOR, VALABLE PUR and GULTIG FUR in English, French, and German respectively. This means that the countries the visa is valid in are listed under this category.
If it is printed as ETATS SCHENGEN, SCHENGEN STATES, or SCHENGEN STATEN, it means that the visa is valid for use in any of the Schengen states. As a result, the visa holder has been issued with the USV and can visit any of the Schengen countries.
On the contrary, instead of the above, if certain letters are mentioned, then you have been issued with an LTV (limited Territorial Validity) and can only visit the states that are mentioned on this. The letters are acronyms for the names of the different states. These are listed as follows -
- A – Austria
- B – Belgium
- CH – Switzerland
- CZE – Czech Republic
- D – Germany
- DK – Denmark
- E – Spain
- EST – Estonia
- F – France
- FIN – Finland
- GR – Greece
- H – Hungary
- I – Italy
- IS – Iceland
- L – Luxembourg
- LT – Lithuania
- LVA – Latvia
- M – Malta
- N – Norway
- NL – Netherlands
- P – Portugal
- PL – Poland
- S – Sweden
- SK – Slovakia
- SVN – Slovenia
Now, depending on the acronyms mentioned, you will be able to visit those countries. For example, if it is mentioned as ‘S, P, M’, you can visit only Sweden, Portugal and Malta. However, if you are permitted to visit only a single state, the entire name of the state will be mentioned.
In certain cases, you may find that it is printed with ‘ETATS SCHENGEN (- country acronym)’. What this means is that you will be permitted to enter any of the Schengen states except the country mentioned along with minus sign. Eg:- if it reads ‘ETATS SCHENGEN(-P), you will be permitted to enter all other countries except for Portugal.
Schengen Visa Sticker Validity
Among the important Schengen visa sticker details are the validity of the visa. This is given by the start date and end date of the visa. The start date or the date you can first enter the Schengen is mentioned alongside ‘FROM, DU and VOM’. The end date or the date before or on which you must leave the Schengen area is dated next to ‘UNTIL, AU, and BIS’.
Number of Entries
The Schengen visa sticker number of entries can be found labelled under ‘NUMBER OF ENTRIES, NOMBRE D'ESTREES and ANZAHL DER EINREISEN’. These mention the number of times you can enter the Schengen zone within the validity period. There are three options available under this. You will be issued with one among the following three -
- ‘MULT’ – This refers to multiple-entries. With this, the visa holder is free to enter and exit the Schengen zone as many times as required within the visa validity as well as in accordance with the maximum stay duration and 90/180 rule.
- ‘1’ – This refers to a single-entry visa. This permit allows the holder to enter the Schengen only once. If they exit the region, they will not be allowed to re-enter with the same visa.
- ‘2’ - This is referred to as a double-entry visa. This type allows the holder to enter the Schengen twice in accordance with the stay duration and 90/180 rule.
Duration of stay
Although the maximum stay duration is of 90 days in the 180 days, you may not get this on most occasions. The number of exact days you are allowed to stay in the Schengen zone can be found under ‘DURATION OF STAY, DUREE DE SEJOUR and DAUER DES AUFENTHALTS’. The exact number will be succeeded by the terms ‘DAYS, JOURS and TAGE’ which denotes that the numerical corresponds to ‘the number of days’.
Note that this duration must be the maximum total time you are allowed to stay in the entire Schengen zone on each entry. Even if you have multiple entries on your visa, you cannot stay more than the permitted number of days and must comply with the 90/180 day rule.
Schengen countries mainly issue the visas in 3 types namely - Airport Transit/A type, Short term/C type (also known as the Schengen Visa), and the Long term/D type (also known as the National Visa). The type of visa issued by the country is mentioned alongside the label showing ‘TYPE OF VISA, TYPE DE VISA and VISA TYP’. Next to these, the option issued for you will be mentioned as -
- ‘A’ - This stands for the A category or the airport transit visa. This permit lets you transit within the international zone of a Schengen country’s airport.
- ‘C’ - This refers to the C category or the short term Schengen visa. This allows you to stay in the country for a maximum duration of 3 months.
- ‘D’ - This refers to the D category or the long term national visa. The permit allows you to stay for a duration of longer than 3 months.
Details about the visa issuer & date of Issuance
The details of the issuing embassy, as well as the date on which the passport is issued, are mentioned as the following -
- ‘ISSUED IN, DELIVRE A and SUGESTELLT IN’ - They state the name of the place where the embassy/consulate that issued your visa is located at. Usually, it is mentioned with the name of the state or city.
- ‘ON, LE and AM’ - This label refers to the date on which your visa is issued.
Details about the visa holder
Apart from the details of the visa and the photograph of the visa holder, the Schengen visa sticker also contains information on the visa holder. The labels mentioning these are as follows -
- ‘NUMBER OF PASSPORT, NUMERO DE PASSEPORT and NUMMER DES PASSES’ – This specifies the passport number of the visa holder.
- ‘SURNAME, NAME, NOM, PRENOM and NAME, VORNAME’ – This label mentions the surname and the name of the holder respectively.
The visa sticker usually has a section at the bottom named ‘REMARKS, REMARQUES and BEMERKUNGEN’. This label is used to provide details about any additional comments or remarks made by the embassy. The most common remarks are as follows. Multiple remarks may be used simultaneously as well.
- VIS - This is used to note that the biometric for the visa has been taken from the Schengen Visa Information System (VIS) that has been recorded in the past.
- R/’Country acronym’ - In cases where there is no embassy/consulate of the destination country or if the visa has to be issued by another country that represents it, the ‘R’ is used alongside the acronym for the country which is being represented. For example, if the Swiss embassy is in charge of issuing visas for Luxembourg in a country, the Schengen visa sticker remarks would state ‘ R/L’.
- Purpose - In most cases, the remarks will mention the purpose of the visit, such as transit, tourism, etc.
- Comments - If there are additional comments to be made, they will be printed in the official language of the embassy issuing the visa. Eg: - On a visa issued by the German embassy, ‘“erwerbstätigkeit nicht gestattet” is a comment in the German language that states that the visa holder is not permitted to work.