How Long Does it Take to Get a Schengen Visa?

Embarking on a journey to the Schengen Area promises an adventure across diverse cultures, languages, and landscapes.

Whether you’re planning to explore the romantic streets of Paris, the historic ruins of Rome, or the vibrant nightlife of Berlin, obtaining a Schengen Visa is your first step towards this exciting experience.

Understanding the timeline for acquiring a Schengen Visa can help you plan your trip more effectively. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how long it takes to get a Schengen Visa.

Understanding the Schengen Visa

The Schengen Visa permits travel to 26 European countries that acknowledge the Schengen Agreement.

It’s designed for short stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism, business, visiting family or friends, or short-term studies and exchange programs.

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Application Timeline

1. When to Apply

The earliest you can file your Schengen Visa application is six months before your intended travel date.

However, for seafarers, the application period extends to nine months. It’s recommended to apply at least 15 days before your trip, but not later than 15 calendar days, to account for the processing period and any unforeseen delays.

2. Appointment Booking

Depending on the consulate or visa application center, securing an appointment can vary from a few days to several weeks.

During peak travel seasons, wait times can increase significantly, so it’s advisable to book your appointment as soon as you determine your travel dates.

3. Processing Time

The standard processing time for a Schengen Visa under normal circumstances is 15 calendar days from the date of application.

However, this period can extend to 30 days if further scrutiny is required, and in exceptional cases, up to 60 days.

4. Factors Affecting Processing Time

Several factors can influence the processing time of your Schengen Visa:

  • Consulate Workload: Busy periods can lead to longer waiting times.
  • Application Accuracy: Incomplete applications or missing documents can cause delays.
  • Need for Additional Documentation or an Interview: Some applicants may be asked to provide further details or attend an interview.
  • External Events: Political, social, or natural events can impact processing times.

5. Expedited Processing

There is no standard option for expedited processing.

The urgency of travel needs, such as a sudden business obligation or a family emergency, might be considered on a case-by-case basis, but approval is at the discretion of the consulate.

Tips for a Smooth Application Process

  • Apply Early: To avoid any stress, start your application process as early as the consulate allows.
  • Gather Documentation: Ensure you have all the required documents before your appointment. Check the specific consulate’s website for a detailed list.
  • Complete Forms Accurately: Fill out your application form carefully, ensuring all information is correct and matches the details in your travel documents.
  • Consider Travel Seasons: Be aware of peak travel times and apply well in advance if you plan to travel during these periods.

💡 Tip: Buy travel health insurance before your trip.

Check out popular travel insurance plans and choose one that suits you.

Most plans only cost less than $20 a day.


The journey to obtain a Schengen Visa can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, influenced by various factors including your promptness in applying, the completeness of your application, and the specific requirements of the embassy or consulate processing your application.

By understanding the typical timelines and preparing your application diligently, you can ensure a smoother process, leaving you more time to anticipate the exciting experiences that await in the Schengen Area.

Remember, while planning your European adventure, the Schengen Visa is your gateway to exploring the rich history, diverse cultures, and breathtaking landscapes of Europe. With the right preparation, you’ll be on your way to an unforgettable journey.

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