A Canadian citizen or a permanent citizen of Canada from outside the European Union will need a valid visa to travel to the Schengen Area for more than 90 days. The Schengen Visa is the best visa to enjoy staying in Europe for whichever purpose, be it travel, business, or visiting family and friends.
In this article, we’ll give an overview of everything you need to know about the Canada Schengen Visa, how to apply for a visa, and how long it is valid, as well as anything you should look out for when applying for this important travel document.
What is a Canada Schengen Visa?
A Canada Schengen Visa is not a specific visa category; rather, it refers to the visa requirements for Canadian citizens or residents who wish to travel to the Schengen Area in Europe. The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that have abolished internal border controls, allowing for seamless travel within the region with a single visa.
Canadians do not need a visa to travel to countries within the Schengen Area for stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. For any longer stays, Canadian passport holders are typically required to apply for a Schengen Visa if they plan to visit any of the Schengen countries for tourism, business, or other purposes.
If you’re coming to the Schengen zone for work, you’ll also need an employment letter from your new employer and a work permit. Depending on your length of stay, you may be able to apply for a residence permit in the Schengen country you’re working in.
The visa allows entry into all Schengen member states, making it convenient for travelers exploring multiple countries during their trip.
To obtain a Schengen Visa from Canada, applicants must submit their applications to the consulate or embassy of the Schengen country they intend to visit first or spend the most time in. The application process involves providing necessary documentation, attending an interview if required, and paying a visa fee.
All non-Canadian citizens who need a visa to enter the Schengen Area must hold a valid permanent resident card or valid visa for Canada valid for at least three months after the intended return date from Europe. Please note that from 2024, Canadians will need to have an approved ETIAS visa waiver, which aims to make the whole visa process easier.
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed by 26 countries, allowing for the elimination of internal border controls and the creation of a single, borderless zone known as the Schengen Area. Travelers can move freely within this area with a single visa, promoting ease of travel and commerce.
The following countries are part of the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Schengen Visa Application Process
In the following section, we outline the application process.
Determine your travel purpose
Identify the purpose of your trip, such as tourism, business, family visit, or other reasons.
Select a Schengen country
Determine the primary Schengen country you plan to visit or spend the most time in, as you’ll apply to that country’s consulate or embassy.
Check the visa requirements
Visit the official website of the selected Schengen country’s consulate or embassy to check the specific visa requirements, as they may vary slightly between countries. Ensure that the Consular Office near you will accept visa applications. You can also check the official EU website for more information on individual countries.
Gather the required documents
They usually include the following:
- A completed application form
- A valid Canadian passport with at least two blank pages and validity for at least three months beyond your intended departure from the Schengen Area
- At least two recent passport-sized photos meeting Schengen visa photo requirements
- Your travel itinerary, including flight reservations and accommodation details
- Travel medical insurance covering a minimum of €30,000 ($32,327/ CAD43,943) in medical expenses.
- Proof of sufficient financial means (bank statements, sponsorship letters, etc.)
- The payment receipt of the visa fee
- Any additional documents requested by the consulate, such as an invitation letter, employment verification, or travel purpose-specific documents
Book an appointment
Visa applicants have to schedule an appointment with the consulate or visa center of the chosen Schengen country. Some countries offer online appointment booking.
Attend the visa interview
Depending on the Schengen country and your application type, you may need to attend an in-person interview at the consulate or visa center. Be prepared to answer questions about your trip and provide additional information if requested.
Pay the fee
Pay the Schengen Visa fee, which varies depending on your age, visa type, and other factors. Payment methods may include credit/debit cards or bank drafts.
Submit your application
Submit your visa application, along with all required documents, at the consulate or visa center during your appointment.
Biometric data collection
In some cases, you may be required to provide biometric data (fingerprints and photographs) as part of the application process.
Other information on the Schengen Visa Process
- The processing time for Schengen Visas can vary by country and application volume. Typically, it takes around 15 days to several weeks for a decision. Once your visa is approved, you can collect it in person from the consulate or have it mailed to your address, depending on the consulate’s procedures.
- In addition, the applicants of Schengen Visas or tourist visas living in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, or Yukon can also process their visa applications at the Consulate General of Switzerland in Vancouver.
- Review the visa to ensure the details are accurate, including the validity dates, the number of entries allowed, and any specific conditions. With your Schengen Visa in hand, you can now travel to the Schengen Area. Make sure to adhere to the visa’s conditions and the duration of stay allowed.
- Respect the entry and exit requirements of the Schengen Area, including any limits on the duration of your stay. Remember that the Schengen Visa application process may have variations and specific requirements depending on the Schengen country you plan to visit, so always refer to the consulate’s official website for the most up-to-date and country-specific information.
Consider travel insurance
While not mandatory, it’s advisable to have comprehensive travel insurance for your entire trip to cover unexpected events and emergencies.
Schengen Visa Requirements for Canadians
Canadian citizens wishing to travel to Schengen Area countries in Europe must meet specific requirements to obtain a Schengen Visa:
- Fill out the Schengen Visa application form accurately and completely.
- Ensure you have a valid passport (at least three months beyond your intended departure date) with two blank visa pages.
- Provide a detailed travel itinerary, including flight reservations, accommodation bookings, and a clear purpose for your visit.
- Get travel insurance covering a minimum of €30,000 ($32,327/ CAD43,943) in medical expenses and repatriation.
- Demonstrate your ability to financially support your stay in the Schengen Area.
- Submit two recent passport-sized photos meeting Schengen requirements.
- Pay the Schengen Visa application fee.
- Depending on the purpose of your trip, additional documents such as a letter of invitation, employment verification, or educational enrollment may be required.
- Attend an appointment at the visa application center to provide biometric data (fingerprints).
- Be prepared for an interview at the consulate or embassy, if necessary.
Schengen Visa Validity
The Canada Schengen Visa typically allows Canadian travelers to stay within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This visa is valid for a duration that matches your intended stay, and it usually grants single or multiple entries, depending on your application and purpose of travel.
Getting a Schengen Visa is essential for Canadians who wish to travel to or through the Schengen zone for more than 90 days. The process to get a Canada Schengen Visa is relatively straightforward if you follow the guidelines and the application process. For further information on Schengen Visa applications, visit the Official EU Website or the Schengen Visa Website.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Schengen Visa from Canada
Is Canada one of the Schengen countries?
No, Canada is not part of the Schengen zone. The Schengen Area consists of 26 countries that have abolished passports and other types of border control at their mutual borders, but Canada is not included in this agreement.
What countries are covered by the Schengen Visa?
The Schengen Visa covers 26 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Do I need a Schengen Visa if I have a Canadian visa?
Yes, you may still need a Schengen Visa even if you have a Canadian visa. While having a Canadian visa can facilitate travel, it does not grant automatic access to the Schengen Area, as they are separate immigration agreements with different requirements.
How long does it take to get a Schengen Visa from Canada?
The processing time for a Schengen Visa from Canada can vary depending on factors such as the country you’re applying to, your individual circumstances, and the time of year. It generally takes approximately 15 days to several weeks for processing.
How much is a Schengen Visa in Canada?
The cost of a Canada Schengen Visa varies depending on your age, the type of visa (e.g., tourist, business), and other factors. Typically, the fee ranges from around $48 to $92 (64 CAD to 124 CAD)for adults, with reduced fees for children.
How do I apply for a Schengen Transit Visa from Canada?
To apply for a Schengen Transit Visa from Canada, visit the consulate or embassy of the Schengen country you’ll transit through. Complete the application form, provide required documents (e.g., flight itinerary, visa cost), attend an interview if necessary, and await a decision.