How long is your Schengen visa valid for?

Sep 15, 2020

What is intended by “period of validity” of a Schengen visa?

The validity period is the period during which the visa holder can use the visa to enter and exit the Schengen area. The maximum validity of a short stay visa is five years.

The validity period is different from the period of authorised stay: the latter is the effective number of days that the visa holder can stay in the Schengen zone during the period of validity of the visa. The period of authorised stay is from 1 up to maximum 90 days.

The “grace period

Interestingly, when applying for a visa with one/two entry or even multiple entry visa with a validity of less than 90 days, Consular authorities should generally grant a ‘period of grace’ of 15 days in addition to the validity requested. In this way, the Schengen visa holder has some flexibility when travelling.

The Handbook for processing visa applications provides the following examples:

Example 1: an Egyptian national is travelling to Italy to attend a wedding that takes place on 25.6 and wishes to spend additional time for the purpose of tourism after the wedding celebrations. For the Schengen visa application she presents an airline ticket reservation indicating intended arrival on 22.6 and departure on 6.7 and hotel reservations for tourism purposes cover the period 27.6 – 5.7. The period of validity of the visa issued should be from 22.6 – 21.7 (30 days): date of arrival + duration of stay + 15 days of ‘period of grace’.

Example: a Chinese national is travelling to Svalbard (Spitzbergen) for one week. For the Schengen visa application she presents an airline ticket reservation indicating arrival at Oslo Airport (Norway), transfer, and departure to Longyearbyen via Tromsø, where border control will be carried out. As the applicant has to travel the same way back to China, she applies for a visa with two entries. This person should be granted a visa allowing for two entries and a ‘period of grace”: date of arrival + duration of stay + 15 days of ‘period of grace

The grace period for Schengen visas does not apply in case of a multiple entry visa with a period of validity between 6 months and 5 years as this type of visa already offers flexibility. Additionally, on the grounds of public policy or for the international relations EU Member States may decide not to grant such a ‘period of grace’.

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Giuditta Petreni

Giuditta Petreni has over 10 years of experience in assisting companies and business investors with relocation of managers and staff to Italy. Giuditta has extensive experience advising corporate and private clients on a full range of Italian immigration categories. She is fluent in Italian and English.

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