I travel to the EU about once a year/every two years. I've applied for the Schengen visa thrice now - once for travel to Portugal, once to Greece, and most recently to Spain.

The Porgtuese consulate gave a visa that was valid for 10 days (my itinerary was 9 days long). For the same length of travel, different year, Greece approved a visa that was valid for 6 months. The most recent application for upcoming travel was at the Spanish consulate. They have approved a visa for 1 month.

A friend of mine applied earlier this year, at the Netherlands consulate, and he got a visa that was valid for 1 year.

In case you were wondering: I don't think it is finance: I have shown at every application that I could support myself for more than 6 months if I really had to (I only travel for a week or so at a time, and only for tourism purposes). I don't think it is ties to my home country either. I live in the US, own my place here, and have no itentions of moving to the EU. I prove that during my application as well. I have travelled around the world and have stamps from Singapore, Canada, the 3 visas above, and more.


2 Answers 2


It's simply that different countries (and sometime different consulates from the same country) have different practices. The common Schengen rules basically leave it up to the consulate's discretion how long a visa to issue, beyond recommending to leave at least a few days as a buffer for last-minute change of plans.

This no doubt has political roots: Each country had its own visa-issuing traditions before Schengen started. Some consulates may feel that issuing very short visas is the best way to keep furriners on a tight leash; others may feel that issuing long visas to applicants that look trustworthy will help ease their own workload if the traveler needs to return soon. Requiring one camp of the other to change their practices fundamentally would have risked someone in power feeling micromanaged by Brussels, and apparently there was not any particularly compelling reason why every consulate has to do it in exactly the same way.

The flip side of this is that different Schengen consulates can are not all equally attractive to travelers, and therefore there's a need to be quite particular about which country to apply to; hence the "main purpose of visit" rule that many applicants have difficulty understanding.


In addition to the answer by Henning, there is a tendency to give the first visa for just the necessary duration of stay, with a few extra days of validity so that the visitor can shift (but not extend) the trip a little.

The second visa is given with more flexibility, since the visitor has shown that he was following the rules the first time around. After a couple more, there will be a multi-year, multiple-entry visa. A stable financial situation also helps to secure a longer visa.

  • I would love to be part of that statistic, because it becomes expensive applying for one every time I want to travel...sadly, not yet. Third application, and the visa time actually got reduced. Oct 9, 2018 at 13:19

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