Does a multiple-entry Schengen visa allow visiting other Schengen countries later, without going via the issuing country?
My wife was just issued a multiple entry visa by France, which is good for one year. Our first trip will be to France, the issuing country. My question is: after we leave the EU and return, must future trips also start in France? Or may we go directly to (say) Greece from the US on a later visit?
Don't forget that the EU and Schengen are different sets of countries. Many countries are in both but some are only members of one or the other.
Carl, can you please post your experience? Were you able to use the same visa for your subsequent trips? One of the problems with these question / answer forums is that people ask questions, get answers and then forget to come back and post something that could be of use to others. Thanks.
You can enter any country within the Schengen area (25 countries) with no problems. See, for example, this unofficial Schengen visa website. I have done that personally before.
Anyway, out of personal experience, German immigration are not really friendly with this idea. Once in Frankfurt they refused the entry of a friend to the country because she had her visa issued from the Italian Embassy. Anyway after few tears they let her in. Moral of the story, Yes you can enter any Schengen country with your Schengen visa regardless of the issuing country.
BTW, I issued a schengen visa today from the Greek embassy. I will be going to Italy after two days. I know it is fine and I have done it before and I will confirm it again from Italy :)
I went to Italy with a schenen visa issued from the greek embassy and everything is fine :)
BTW. if your flight isn't direct, but you have connection in any of Schengen airports, you enter the Schengen zone in that airport. For example many flights from Latin America go via Madrid, no problems entering with Belgian issued visas there.
The rule is you must get a visa from the country you will be staying the longest time. If you apply a german visa and enter through France, and you will spend most of your time in France, they can refuse you at french immigration. But then, you can get lucky sometimes, and some countries enforce this rule, and some not ...
@guigui42 What is your source for that? I understand that Germany could refuse to issue the visa in the first place and orient you to the French embassy but once you have a visa, can you be refused entry by any Schengen country?
If one country issues a visa and another country can unilaterally decide not to honor it because they didn't issue it themselves, it would seem to defeat the purpose of a common visa area.
The source is my coworkers (I work for french embassy). The PAF (French Immigration police) can refuse you the entry (To be frank, it rarely happens, but you should know there is always a risk). The common visa only allows you to travel anywhere ONCE you are inside the Schengen area.
@guigui42 Formally, so does a Schengen visa issued by the French authorities. The police can always decide to refuse entry in any case. However, refusing entry to people with Schengen visa issued by other countries is not a “rule” that would only occasionally not be enforced.
That's blatantly illegal in light of the regulation but the website of some representations abroad also includes similar language: “Please note that you should enter first Germany if you have a German Schengen-Visa, unless you have good reasons to enter Germany via other Schengen States.”
@guigui42 Note that the question is a bout a *multiple-entry visa*, the rule you mentioned does not readily apply in this case. You should simply apply to a country you have reasons to visit often.
@Relaxed I suppose that "good reasons to enter via another Schengen State" might include "I got a cheaper flight on Malev through Budapest" or "I wanted to see Bilbao before I arrived in Frankfurt."
@guigui42 On the other hand, if you have an itinerary taking you from London to Paris for two days and then to Berlin for a week, you *must* apply to Germany, but nobody would imagine that the traveler should be required to travel to Paris by way of Germany. Therefore any general claim that the country of first entry should be the country issuing the visa is false. Your own example includes "and you will spend most of your time in France." Without that, the French police cannot refuse entry simply because the visa was issued by Germany.
It is not necessary for subsequent itineraries to include the country that issued the visa.
Your visa may be invalid for subsequent trips to the Schengen area, however. To be valid, it and you must meet the following conditions:
The visa's territorial validity must not be restricted to exclude any country you are visiting. To check this, look at the top of the visa where it says valid for; most visas are valid for the Schengen states, although they say this in the language of the country issuing the visa.
The visa must not expire before the end of your trip. Visas are issued for a limited period of time; the dates are indicated on the visa sticker with the headings from and until.
You must not have exhausted the visa's limit on entries. Visas may be issued for one, two, or multiple entries. If you have already used a single-entry visa once, or a dual-entry visa twice, you cannot use it again. The relevant heading is number of entries.
You must not have exhausted the allowed duration of stay. This is indicated under the heading duration of stay, and it is sometimes the source of confusion, so here are some points to consider:
- The duration is given in days. Any part of a day counts, so if you enter at five minutes before midnight and leave five minutes after midnight then that counts as two days even though it was ten minutes.
- If this number is 89 or less, then you must count the days of all visits cumulatively. For example, assume that you were given a 15-day duration of stay, that you were in the Schengen area for 8 days during your first trip, and that you arrive for your second trip on July 14th. In this case, you must leave the Schengen area on or before July 20th because you have seven days remaining out of the allowed 15.
- if the number is 90 (it will never be more than 90), then you must follow the 90/180 rule. This means that for any period of 180 days, you are not allowed to spend more than 90 days in the Schengen area. If your visa is valid for longer than 180 days, then, you can spend more than 90 days in the Schengen area as long as you spread them out sufficiently to comply with the rule.
My understanding is that all third-country nationals have to follow the 90/180 rule. Holders of visas with "duration of stay" less than 90 days must stay within _both_ that limit and the general 90/180 counter (which may be depleted due to a recent visit on a different visa).
@HenningMakholm my understanding is that the visa should not be issued in the first place if the proposed trip would violate the 90/180 rule. If the issuing office has done its job properly, therefore, neither the traveler nor the border officer needs to worry about the rule.
x @phoog: I agree that it won't happen often, but in principle it can happen. Suppose a traveler already has a two-entry visa for 80 days, valid from Februrary 1 to May 31. His plan is to stay 60 days in February and March and 10 more days in late May, and the consulate added 10 days for force majeure on its own initiative. In late April he applies for a new visa for a planned 20-day trip in June. This would be within the 90/180 day limit _unless_ after the second visa is issued he changes his plans and spends 20 days in May instead of the 10 he originally planned.