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Multiple Entry Schengen Visa: Application Process, Requirements and How to Apply

Last Updated : Jan 22, 2024

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Some frequent travelers consider the Schengen 5-Year Multiple Entry Visa (MEV) almost as good as gold.

"Why?"

Simple. It has plenty of advantages for frequent travelers. A popular benefit is that you can travel to and from the Schengen Area as many times as you like, provided you don't break the 90/180-day Schengen rule.

For a frequent traveler like myself, this is exciting stuff!

At first glance, this type of visa may mean nothing to you (yet). However, in this post, I'll discuss the Schengen 5-Year Multiple-Entry Visa and why you would want to apply for one.

Let's jump right into it:

What Is The Schengen 5-Year Multiple-Entry Visa (MEV)?

The Schengen 5-Year MEV is a short-stay visa that allows you to enter the Schengen Zone multiple times. So, as the name suggests, you have "multiple entries."

Unlike other multiple-entry visas, the 5-Year MEV can be used for a total of 5 years. Meaning that you can enter the Schengen Area as many times as you like within 5 years.

Be mindful that you still need to comply with the 90/180-day Schengen rule. Simply put, you're only allowed to visit the Schengen Member States for a maximum of 90 days within every 180-day period. Remember, overstaying in the Schengen Area could lead to heavy fines or even a ban.

What Are The Benefits Of The Schengen 5-Year Multiple-Entry Visa?

Now that you know the basics of the 5-Year MEV, let's look at the benefits of such a visa and why you should consider applying for one.

    The Benefit Of Multiple Entries

    You Can Visit 26 Schengen Countries

    Only One Schengen Visa Application

The Benefit Of Multiple Entries

As I previously mentioned, you can enter the Schengen Area multiple times without worrying about crossing any legal boundaries.

At first, this might not seem like something to get excited about. However, this allows you to travel to multiple Schengen Countries and sidestep the 90/180-day Schengen rule.

Here's an example:

You could potentially travel to the Schengen Area for more than 130 days without breaking the 90/180-day Schengen rule.

You Can Visit 26 Schengen Countries

The Schengen 5-Year Multiple Entry Visa remains a Schengen Visa. Therefore, you can travel to any one of the 26 Schengen Member States as many times as you want.

These Schengen States within the European Union include:

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.

Only One Schengen Visa Application

If you travel often, you'll understand why this is included as a benefit.

Applying for a Schengen Visa can be tedious, especially if you travel frequently. With the 5-Year MEV, you only need to complete your Schengen Visa application once. After it's been approved, your visa will be valid for 5 years, so you don't need to apply for another Schengen Visa within 5 years.

In short, more time traveling, less time applying for visas.

Who Is Eligible To Apply For A 5-Year Multiple Entry Visa?

Here's the catch, not everyone can apply for a 5-Year MEV. There are specific eligibility requirements you need to meet. I'll first discuss the basic requirements and then move on to the more specific requirements.

The more standard requirements are as follows:

    You must have a valid reason for why you want to enter the Schengen Area multiple times. These can include visiting family members, business purposes, etc.

    You must have a clean Schengen Visa history, which means you've never overstayed or worked illegally within the Schengen area.

    You must have a clean criminal record to qualify for the 5-Year MEV (or any other MEV).

    Travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for your first trip to the Schengen Zone (with your MEV).

So, you now know the basic requirements for a multiple-entry visa. Now it's time to understand what makes you eligible to apply for the 5-Year MEV.

Get ready to put on your thinking cap:

In order to qualify for a 5-Year Multiple Entry Visa:

"(c) for a validity period of five years, provided that the applicant has obtained and lawfully used a previous multiple-entry visa valid for two years within the previous three years." - REGULATION (EC) No 810/2009, Article 24

"What does this mean?"

To understand the statement mentioned above, I first need to explain 2 more types of multiple-entry visas that are similar to the 5-Year MEV:

    The 1-Year Multiple Entry Visa

    The 3-Year Multiple Entry Visa

    Am I Eligible For A 5-Year MEV?

Quick note: The 1 Year, 3 Year, and 5-Year MEVs are essentially the same. The only difference is the validity period of each visa. For example, the 1-Year MEV is only valid for 1 year.

The 1-Year Multiple Entry Visa

You are eligible to receive a 1-Year MEV if you have previously obtained and used 3 Schengen Visas in the past year. When applying for the 1-Year MEV, you'll need to submit copies of your previous Schengen Visas and proof of your last Schengen travels.

The 3-Year Multiple Entry Visa

For the 3-Year MEV, you need to have previously used a multiple entry visa valid for 1 year within the past 2 years. Therefore, within the past 2 years of traveling to the Schengen Area, you must have obtained and used a 1-Year MEV.

Am I Eligible For A 5-Year MEV?

Now that you know the basics of the other types of MEVs, let's backtrack to the initial question.

"Who Is Eligible To Apply For A 5-Year Multiple Entry Visa?"

You're eligible to apply for a 5-Year MEV if you've previously obtained and used a 3-Year MEV in the past 3 years.

To simplify what I've just discussed: You'll need to obtain each multiple entry visa in a specific order to qualify for a 5-Year Multiple-Entry Visa. The order is as follows:

    1. 3 Schengen Visas in the past year leads to,

    2. A 1-Year Multiple-Entry Visa leads to,

    3. A 3-Year Multiple-Entry Visa, which finally leads to,

    4. A 5-Year Multiple-Entry Visa.

Phew! A lot of MEV applications. Nonetheless, it's definitely worth it.

Important Information Regarding The Schengen Multiple Entry Visa

Before I explain the required documents and the MEV application steps, there are a few important points I want to point out.

    The Difference Between Each Schengen Multiple-Entry Visa

    The Schengen Multiple-Entry Cost

    Where To Apply For The Schengen Multiple-Entry Visa

    All Schengen MEV Applications And Document Requirements Are The Same

The Difference Between Each Schengen Multiple-Entry Visa

As you already know, there are 3 types of multiple entry visas:

    The 1-Year Multiple-Entry Visa

    The 3-Year Multiple-Entry Visa

    The 5-Year Multiple-Entry Visa

There is one key difference between each of these multiple entry visas - the validity period. Luckily, it's pretty easy to determine the validity period of each specific multiple entry visa. The "x-year" specifies the validity period, as you probably guessed.

For example:

The 1-Year MEV is valid for one year, whereas the 5-Year MEV is valid for 5 years.

Quick note: I should mention that there are other types of Schengen Visas such as the single-entry visa and double-entry visa that will not be discussed in this post.

The Schengen Multiple-Entry Cost

The fee for a Schengen MEV is the same as an ordinary Schengen Visa. Therefore, you can expect to pay around €80.00 for your visa application. Keep in mind that the fee is used for administrative purposes and is non-refundable.

Where To Apply For The Schengen Multiple-Entry Visa

Generally, you can apply for your MEV at any Schengen Embassy or Consulate. However, as a general rule, you'll need to apply at the Schengen State's Embassy, where you plan to spend the most time at.

For example:

If you plan to travel to Italy for 5 days and Greece for 25 days, you'll need to apply for your visa at the Greece Embassy or Consulate.

Quick note: You can also opt to apply at any other Schengen country, even if you won't be spending time at that country.

All Schengen MEV Applications And Document Requirements Are The Same

No matter what type of Schengen MEV you're applying for, you'll need to submit the same documents and follow the same visa application process. Keep in mind that some Schengen Member Countries have their own specific visa requirements you need to meet. However, it's generally the same across the board.

What Are the Required Documents For A Schengen Multiple-Entry Visa?

Notice how I didn't specifically mention the 5-Year MEV within the title. This is because the required documents will remain the same no matter what type of MEV you're applying for.

When applying for your Schengen MEV, you need to submit the following documents:

    Schengen Visa application form

    2 Passport-sized photos that meet the following requirements.

    A valid passport or travel document. Be sure that your passport has a validity period that exceeds the validity period of your MEV. For example, if you're applying for a 1-Year MEV, be sure your passport is valid for at least 1 year and 3 months.

    Copies of your previous Schengen Visas, which are found on the back of your passport.

    Valid travel insurance/health insurance that covers a minimum of € 30,000.00 for all medical expenses that may occur during your visit.

    A Schengen Visa cover letter explaining why you want to apply for a multiple entry visa.

    Proof of accommodation.

    Proof of financial means that proves you have the financial resources to support yourself during your trip.

    A return flight itinerary that proves you'll return to your home country.

    Proof of residency if you're a citizen applying from a different country (like a US Green Card).

    Proof of your employment status.

    An invitation letter (if applicable).

Quick note: If you're unsure about these required documents, Atlys has a more in-depth guide that covers all the specifics.

How To Apply For A Schengen Multiple-Entry Visa?

Contrary to popular belief, the Schengen MEV application is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is follow the steps you would when applying for a standard Schengen Visa. Next, I'll walk you through the exact steps you need to take when applying for your Schengen MEV.

    Step 1: Collect All The Required Documents

    Step 2: Fill In Your Schengen Visa Application Form

    Step 3: Schedule Your Schengen Visa Appointment

    Step 4: Attend Your Schengen Visa Appointment

    Step 5: Wait For Your MEV Visa To Be Processed

Step 1: Collect All The Required Documents

Personally, I prefer to gather all the required documents first. However, it's up to you.

The easiest way to ensure you have all the required documents is to create a checklist. Doing so will allow you to keep track of the documents you already have and those you still need to get.

Quick note: Your Schengen Visa cover letter will be a crucial document. Spend some time creating the perfect cover letter that explains why you're applying for a multiple-entry visa.

Step 2: Fill In Your Schengen Visa Application Form

For step 2, you need to start filling out your Schengen Visa application. This is an important step of the application as this is where you indicate that you're applying for a multiple-entry visa.

In your application form, you'll find a section named "27. Number of entries requested." You'll need to check the "Multiple Entries" box here. Furthermore, you'll need to stipulate your planned entry and exit date to and from the Schengen Area.

Remember,

You're not allowed to stay more than 90 days (within 180-days) in the Schengen Zone.

Step 3: Schedule Your Schengen Visa Appointment

The next step is to schedule a Schengen Visa appointment. This can easily be done by using Atlys to apply for your visa. Or, you can opt to use VFS's appointment tool or call the Schengen Embassy directly.

Whatever option you choose, I should point out that you may not be able to find an appointment slot that suits your specific time preference. Therefore, ensure that you start your visa application as early as possible, which is 6 months before your departure date.

Step 4: Attend Your Schengen Visa Appointment

After scheduling your visa appointment, you'll need to travel to the Embassy/Consulate on your appointment date. Here you'll attend an in-person interview with an Embassy staff member and submit your required documents.

During your appointment, the Embassy official will ask you numerous questions about the purpose of your trip and why you want a multiple-entry visa.

This is your opportunity to explain to the official that you travel to the Schengen Area frequently for "x" purposes. You can also show them your previous Schengen Visas to prove you travel frequently and have a clean visa history.

A tip

You can use your supporting documents to prove any statements you make during the interview. For example, suppose the embassy official asks when you plan to return to your home country. Simply show your return flight tickets as proof.

One final thing:

Your appointment is also where you'll need to submit your biometric information and pay the visa fee. Your biometric information mainly includes your 10 fingerprints. This is not required if you've submitted them in the past 59 months.

Step 5: Wait For Your MEV Visa To Be Processed

You're basically finished. Now all you need to do is wait for your visa to be processed by the embassy. The processing time for a Schengen Visa is typically around 10 - 15 business days. However, keep in mind that it can take longer.

A few reasons for a delayed processing time:

    Visa policy changes

    A flood of Schengen Visa applications

    Political changes and events

    Travel restrictions, etc.

After your visa has been processed, you'll receive a notification (via SMS, email, or a call) from the embassy asking you to collect your new visa.

How Do I Know If My Schengen Visa Allows Multiple Entries?

Within your passport, you'll find your Schengen Visa sticker. It should look something like this:

Under "NUMBER OF ENTRIES," you should see "MULTI." This means you have a multiple entry visa. To see the validity period of your multiple entry visa, check the dates under "FROM" and "UNTIL." Your visa should be valid for 1, 3, or 5-Years.

You Now Know How To Apply For A Schengen MEV

After reading through this guide, you'll have a good understanding of the Schengen MEV, its requirements, as well as the application process. Now, all that waits is almost unlimited travel to the great Schengen Area.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. A Schengen MEV only allows a maximum stay of 90 days within every 180-day period, whereas a residence permit allows you to reside/live in a Schengen Country for more than 90 days (also known as a long-stay visa, or national visa).

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