I got a Schengen visa recently from the French embassy. It shows that it is valid for ETATS SCHENGEN•(CZ, DE, SK).

Can anybody explain what it means?

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2 Answers 2


The symbol following "ETATS SCHENGEN" is a dash to be interpreted as a minus sign. This means that your visa has a limited territorial validity, and is not valid for travel to the Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia (and any other country following the minus sign).

  • 8
    +1; just one more point in case OP doesn’t know it, “ETATS SCHENGEN” is French for “Schengen countries”.
    – PLL
    Commented May 20 at 11:09

This a visa issued with "limited territorial validity" as laid out in article 25 of the Schengen visa code found here. The visa sticker is filled out as per ANNEX VII 1.1 to 1.4 of the same article.

That is essentially either to state which states it is valid for, or which states it is not valid for (as in this case). This will be one of several reasons. Probably either because it is of some kind of humanitarian or national interest that you are issued a visa when otherwise you would not, and/or so urgent there is no time to fully consult all states.

You may have a travel document that is not recognised by all Schengen states. Passports and travel documents are sometimes issued to say "valid for travel to all countries except..." and some Schengen states will simply not recognise travel documents issued by a particular country, this is decided by the Schengen state and not the EU or visa code. This is most likely going to be a travel document issued to someone seeking refugee status, for example one I see regularly is that a holder of a Lebanese travel document issued to a Palestinian passport holder will find this is not ordinarily accepted in Denmark, Estonia or Portugal. This link here lists all of the different combinations you find, explains it all.

Interestingly if you applied for a visa to one of those countries that your current visa is not valid for, and if they deemed it urgent/important enough to issue a visa then the visa would be issued stating that is only valid for that country.

It is all in the Schengen code so I would suggest taking a read of the articles I referred to as it is in more detail there and you should be able to better understand the reasoning behind the decision to issue a visa with limited territorial validity.

  • 3
    For example, Denmark does not accept non-biometric Russian passports with 5 years validity, while biometric passports with 10 years validity are ok. Hence, visas for the former are typically issued with -DK.
    – yeputons
    Commented May 21 at 10:54
  • “some countries will simply not recognise travel documents issued by a particular country, i.e. for those seeking refugee status in a country who have issued a travel document by that country” — I’ve read this through five times now, and I cannot make sense of the part after ‘i.e.’. Could you rephrase to make it clearer what exactly you mean? Commented May 21 at 16:43
  • I reworded it slightly and shared a link that better explains.
    – Messtopher
    Commented May 21 at 22:02

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