Schengen Visa Categories

Depending on the purpose of the trip, there are different requirements for the permission to stay (e.g., duration or other authorizations). There are three categories of the Schengen visa (A, C, D).

Overview of Visa Categories

Here are the basic differences between the three Schengen visa categories (A, C, D) in brief.

Category A

DaThe airport transit visa (A) entitles you to stay in the transit area of the airport.

Category C

The Schengen visa (C) allows entry and stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days.

Category D

The National Visa (D) entitles you to a long-term stay in a specific Schengen country.

The National Visa (D) entitles you to a long-term stay in a specific Schengen country.

The following graphic illustrates the relationship between the visa categories (A, B, C, D) and the lengths of stay. The reason for your visa application is also decisive. Special permits (e.g., work permit, multiple entry) and restrictions (such as local limitations) are also noted in the visa in writing.

Category A: Airport Transit Visa

The airport transit visa entitles to one stay in the transit area of the airport. It is needed for a stopover involving a change of terminal.

An airport transit visa is not required if:

Category B: Transit Visa (Overland)

Since the Visa Code came into force, transit visa (B) is now covered by the Schengen general visa (C). Originally, the B visa allowed one to cross the Schengen area by land in a maximum of 5 days.

Category C: Short-Term Visa

The Schengen visa (C) allows a short stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within a 6-month period. The 90-day period begins on the day of entry.



The Schengen category C visa can be issued for a validity period ranging from a few days to as long as 5 years.


If the visa only allows a stay of 7 days, the departure must take place within these 7 days. If the visa applies for a longer period, e.g., 2 years, the regulation described (90 days stay per 6 months) is valid for the entire period.

Category D: long-term “National Visa”

The national long-term visa (D) is always tied to a specific Schengen state. The permission to stay is issued for a maximum of 12 months. For all other Schengen countries, the usual 90-day rule applies, provided that no territorial restriction is specified in the visa.


The national Schengen visa category D often only allows a one-time entry into the Schengen area. If you interrupt your stay in the meantime, you will not be able to enter the area again.

Good to Know

A national visa (D) may be extended if the reason for the stay so requires. The application for renewal must necessarily be made before expiry of the original visa at the local immigration office.