Have you ever thought about taking a trip across Europe or planned to visit more than 10 countries across the region in the next three months. It is the world’s smallest continent with a vast cultural heritage, medieval history, national monuments, monasteries, citadels, exotic natural scenery, no borders due to the Schengen act and an organized transportation system.
Well, you’ll need a Schengen visa to travel to these locations as a Nigerian citizen. Travelling across Europe has been made easy by the “Schengen Agreement” established in June 14th 1985. The Schengen agreement allows citizens of its 26 member states to enjoy free movement without any border control, but a more organized control of its external borders. This also applies to non-EU citizens who would therefore require a uniform visa to the region.
A Schengen visa is a travel document that is issued by one of the 22 European Union (EU) member states and 4 European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and European Economic Area (EEA) member states which constitutes the Schengen region. It is valid for a maximum of 90 days in every 180 day period and allows you to visit any of the Schengen states within the validity of the visa within the same trip. Note that the UK and Ireland are not in accordance with this Schengen free movement policy.
This is the full list of countries under the Schengen agreement: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
A Schengen visa is not appropriate, if you wish to remain in the Schengen region for longer than 90 days, or engage in economic activities such as employment, business establishment, trade or a profession.
You will need to specify precise details of your travel itinerary from your first port of entry to your main destination (i.e. main purpose of stay or longest stay). You must lodge the application for a Schengen visa at the Consulate of the country that you intend to visit, or if you intend to visit more than one Schengen State, the Consulate of the country of your main destination.
If you intend to visit several Schengen States with equal duration of stay, you must apply at the Consulate of the country whose external borders you will cross first when entering the Schengen area. You will also need transit visa for the various ports of entry for free movement at the borders. This is because there are specific rules attached to each Schengen states’ embassy or consulate regarding visa requirement and fees as per the reason for your application.
If your intended main destination does not have an embassy or consulate in Nigeria, you can apply for a visa at the Consulate with territorial representation with the country in which you want to visit.
Types of Schengen visa
1. Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)
The Uniform Schengen Visa is a travel permit issued by one of the Schengen Area Member States to transit or to reside in the region for certain duration of time up to the maximum of 90 days in any 180 days period starting from the date of entry. The Uniform Schengen Visa applies to all of these three categories depending on the purpose of travel:
A – Airport transit visa this allows its holder to travel through the international zone of the Schengen Country Airport without entering the Schengen country area. This is compulsory for the citizens travelling between none Schengen states through multiple flights in a Schengen Country airport.
B – Transit visa this allows its holder to travel within the region for no more than 5 days by car, train, or boat on the way to a non-Schengen country.
C – Short term visa this allows its holder to reside in a Schengen country for a certain period of time depending on the visa validity. A Tourist visa falls under this category. This category also covers method of entry. Examples include: Single entry (A visa allows its holder to enter the authorized Schengen country only once for the certain period of time regardless of the visa validity when you leave), Double entry and Multiple entry visa allows its holder to go in and out of the Schengen country as pleased but it only allows the holder to stay in the Schengen region for maximum 90 days within six months of the year).
2. Limited Territorial Visa (LTV)
This type of visa allows you to travel only in the Schengen country that has issued the visa or in the certain Schengen States specified when applying for the visa. The holder of this type of visa cannot enter or transit through any other Schengen country that is not the first and final destination target.
3. National Visa
This visa category is granted to individuals who intend to study, work or permanently residing in one of the Schengen countries. It is only a single entry visa, granted to applicants who will need to reside in the Schengen country for a certain period of time for a particular purpose after which they will return to their country. However, there is also a multi-entry national visa which is granted to allow its holder to travel in and out of this Schengen country and region without additional visa requirements. This can include long term visas like study, work, business or medical reasons.
If you’re wondering how to apply for the Schengen tourist visa from Nigeria, let me help you with a detailed step by step guide on how to go about it. These are the necessary documents for your Schengen visa application:
- First of all, download, complete and sign the Schengen visa application form. You can also electronically fill in the form for a Schengen Visa and print it out.
- One passport photo is to be attached; the photo must have the following format of 35-40 mm full-face capture, recently taken and a white background.
- International passport as well as all the copies of your previous expired or valid visas to the US, UK, Asia or Australia, entry and exit stamps. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months prior to your departure and must be less than 10 years old. The passport must have at least three blank pages. Click here for how to process your International passport at your nearest immigration office.
- Three Clear photocopies of your international passport bio data page
- Travel insurance policy covering any medical emergency with hospital care and travel back to Nigeria in adverse cases. This health insurance policy has to cover expenses up to €30,000, the sum has to be valid in all Schengen countries and it must be purchased before picking up the visa. Click here for places to get your travel insurance
- A copy of your round trip flight reservation ticket for the time intended to be travelling.
- A copy of your accommodation details if you’ll be staying in a hotel.
- Documents to prove your current financial status and ability to afford the trip, transportation, accommodation and spending costs. Your last 6 months bank statement will b preferred.
In a case where you don’t have a bank account or don’t possess enough funds to cater for your total expenses during the trip and you’re visiting friends or relatives, you may ask them to sign an “official affidavit of support” issued by the competent authorities in Schengen country of residence. If the sponsor is not a citizen, please include a residence permit. Ensure that you carry the original document when applying for the visa.
Bank draft in convertible currency
- A formal invitation by the relative/friend residing in a Schengen country.
- A detailed description of your trips’ itinerary, the purpose of travelling, the duration and intended tourist visits with dates written down in a letter.
- Your Personal Income Tax returns for the last three years
- A reference letter from the employer if any
- Proof of physical address, a utility bill can cover this
- Social media pages if applicable
- Police clearance certificate to prove that you have no legal issues pending or a criminal record
- Receipt of Visa Application Fee and VFS Global service charges where applicable (This is collected at the banking counter in the visa application centre)
- Applicants below the age of 18 years must provide a copy of his/her birth certificate, parents’ letter of consent and a national Identity card
- Other documents, specified by the consular officer or embassy issuing the visa
Visa Application Fees
The approved standard visa application fees for the Schengen region is €60 (N21, 900), take not that you might be charged extra for biometric data collection for The Visa Information System and visa application centre extra services.
Visa Application Submission
Schengen visa can be applied in the following ways:
- If you intend to visit only one Schengen country, you must apply for a visa at the Country’s Consulate in Lagos
- If you intend to visit several Schengen countries and your duration of stay remains longest in one particular country i.e. France, you should apply for visa at Embassy or Consulate of France.
- If you intend to visit several Schengen countries and duration of stay in those countries are same, you are requested to apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate to the first country you enter (first port of entry).
Most Schengen states like France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and Italy use VFS Global as their visa application centres. For Germany, Norway, and Finland you can apply through their consulate. Norway accepts Visa applications on behalf of Iceland. You might require an initial appointment to submit.
Visa Application Processing Time
This is dependent on the Schengen visa application process, but an estimation of 15 working days is valid if you have provided all correct necessary documentations. Early visa application is advised for quick and timely approval. Additional interviews will be conducted by consular officers of the Schengen country in which the visa application was lodged.
Visa Application Centres
Austria, Malta, France, Spain, Belgium, Estonia, Italy, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Sweden, Latvia, Slovakia and Netherlands Visa Application Centre, Lagos
Plot 110, Admiral Ayinla Way,
Opposite Treasure Garden Estate,
Third Roundabout, Lekki Phase I
Embassy of Finland,
9, Iro Dan Musa Street,
Norway Embassy (Visa Representative for Iceland)
Royal Norwegian Embassy
54, T.Y. Danjuma Street,
121, Louis Solomon Close
6, Seguela Street
Germany High Commission in Lagos
15, Walter Carrington Crescent,
61, Jose Marti Crescent
Liechtenstein Mission to Nigeria
157, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent
10 River Niger,
Plot 3655, Orinoco Crescent
54, T.Y. Danjuma Street
14, Lord Lugard Street
41 T. Y. Danjuma Street
9, Usuma Street,
The easiest way is to get visas to the countries below is to visit the UK or Egypt, and apply to their embassies there.
Slovenia Embassy Cairo
21, Soliman Abaza Street,
Estonia Embassy London
44 Queen’s Gate Terrace
London SW7 5PJ