I am thinking about applying for a Schengen visa for my next trip to Germany. Since I might be visiting Germany or other Schengen countries again in the next few years, I was wondering whether it would be worth trying to get a multiple-entry Schengen visa. Is there any risk/harm in checking the "multiple entry" box on the form? And do I stand a reasonable chance to get such a visa?

I've been in Germany last year for 3 months doing research at a university (on a single-entry tourist visa). For my next trip, I don't think I'll have anything more legitimate than casual tourism. A multiple-entry visa of duration 6 months or 1 year would not interest me much -- I'm unlikely to make multiple trips in that duration anyway. Something like 2-5 years would be useful for me.

I've already read this question, but since my situation is more specific in a few aspects, I think it is worth asking my question here.

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    What's your question? Whether there is any risk/harm in checking the “multiple entry” box on the form? Or whether you stand a reasonable chance to get such a visa? – Relaxed Dec 18 '14 at 1:54
  • @Relaxed Both of them. – milb Dec 18 '14 at 2:34
  • I tried to provide some info on both even if the previous question already covered the first part. Concretely, since it seems there is little harm in asking, it's not clear what “being worth it” means. Your chances are quite low but since you can't do anything about it, you don't have to decide whether you want to expand effort and money in this application either. – Relaxed Dec 18 '14 at 2:37

A multiple-entry visa for two years or more costs the same as a single-entry for a couple of weeks, so it's obviously worth it if you can get one. But if you don't have a genuine need to regularly visit the Schengen area, you are unlikely to get it.

As far as I know, there is little harm in applying for a multiple-entry visa (i.e. in checking the “multiple entry” box on the application form). There is nothing in the relevant regulation or published guidelines suggesting it would weigh against you and it's not one of the official reasons for refusal. It might make you look foolish but I doubt it could make or break an application (see also Does applying for a multiple entry Schengen visa instead of a single entry the first time hurt my chances of a visa getting granted?).

At the same time, multiple-entry visas are explicitly reserved for reliable applicants who have proved they respected the conditions of previous visas and need to visit the Schengen area frequently. For example, business or scientific research are among the reasons listed in the regulation. So “trying to get a multiple-entry visa” and having a credible need for regular travel is basically the same. If you can't find (and document!) something better than tourism, your odds are probably very bad and there isn't much else you can do.

It seems therefore unlikely you would get a multiple-entry visa in your situation. Having used a single-entry visa before should be in your favor but that's probably not enough and if the only purpose for your trip is tourism there is no reason for the consulate to issue a multiple-entry visa.

At the end of the day, consulates issue what they want (and sometimes make mistakes, too). You can't gamble and force them to choose between a multiple-entry visa and refusal; they can always issue a single or two-entry visa instead if they think it's appropriate. They do even sometimes issue multiple-entry visas even if they weren't asked for it (remember that one purpose of these visas is lowering the administrative burden for them, so if they think you are a low-risk traveller and you are likely to travel again in the near future they might as well spare themselves the need to process repeated applications).

Furthermore, I don't have any solid source for this, but I think five-year visas are mostly issued to UK residents and, possibly, to people with an extensive history of travel to the Schengen area. If you are lucky enough to get a multiple-entry visa this time around, it's likely to be a one-year visa and there is really nothing you can do about it beyond using this one correctly and hoping it helps you get a longer one next time.

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    FWIW, I didn't check anything and I was given a multiple entry visa on my first ever trip to the Schengen area. – Burhan Khalid Dec 18 '14 at 12:51
  • This is no longer valid, the Schengen zone now has explicit rules around multiple entry visas. 3 single entry visas used over 2 years makes you eligible for a 1 year multiple entry visa, one multiple entry visa used in the last 2 years makes you eligible for a 2 year multiple entry visa and so on, documented at schengenvisainfo.com/news/… – Akash Apr 9 at 5:02
  • @Akash I wasn't aware of the new rules and I will review this in more details but, at a first glance, I am not sure I see any glaring contradiction with most of my answer. What is no longer valid in your opinion? Note that the new formulation has a lot of caveats in articles 24 (2a) and (2b) in particular. And 24 (2c) explicitly states that consulates are always allowed to grant a long-term multiple-entry visa if they fit, irrespective of any specific threshold regarding previous visas. – Relaxed Apr 9 at 8:52

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