There has been a spike in interest of Schengen visa applications following the reopening of borders by the EU member states and the removal of most coronavirus travel restrictions, even for nationals of non-EU countries.
The Schengen visa allows its holder to travel to 26 European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and Italy. It is among the world’s most famous and most coveted visas.
Before the pandemic, in 2019, over 16 million people had applied for a Schengen visa, with France and Germany the top favourite destinations.
To get the visa, travellers must follow the Schengen visa application procedures and the first step requires deciding at which Schengen area embassy the application must be lodged.
If you are planning to visit only one country then you should apply for a visa at the embassy, consulate or visa centre of the country you plan to travel to with that same visa.
It becomes a bit trickier if you wish to visit more than one country in the Schengen area.
According to Besart Bajrami, founder of SchengenVisaInfo.com, the Schengen visa code clearly settles the issue of those wishing to visit more than one country in the borderless area.
“If a traveller plans to visit two or more Schengen countries, the same should apply at the visa-processing centre of the country in which the same will be spending more days,” states Bajrami.
Bajrami also highlights that for travellers who plan to spend the same number of days in each country they plan on visiting, the application must be filed at the visa centre of the country through which the traveller will enter the Schengen area (the country the traveller will visit first).
However, some travellers either change their plans or purposely apply at the embassy of a country they have no plan on travelling to.
Bajrami said this is a widespread phenomenon, in which travellers apply for a visa at an embassy which has higher chances of issuing them with a visa, or at the embassy in which they find free booking dates.
“The phenomenon is known as ‘visa shopping’ and is considered illegal by the Schengen countries,” he said.
If you own an unused visa and want to use the same to enter another country, you may do so. However, you must be aware that there is always a chance that you could be denied entry into the Schengen area.