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MY GRANDSON is planning a backpacking holiday through Europe, maybe Russia, and on to Asia, beginning March next year. Although he will be 24 when he sets off, he is not really travel savvy and doesn't know where to get information for visas etc. He may also do some work overseas. Could you help?
Doc: A visa is a form of permission for a non-citizen to enter, transit or remain in a particular country, and nowadays with most countries in Europe belonging to the "Schengen Area", all you need is a valid passport, because Australian tourists planning to spend less than a total of 90 days (within a six-month period) do not require a visa. For a full list of the Schengen countries visit schengenvisa.cc .
Two Eastern European countries - Belarus and Russia - however, do require visas and sometimes an invitation from or booking with a tour operator or hotel. Visas to these countries are seldom available at the border and need to be obtained before travel. Turkey also requires a visa to enter, but this is easily obtained at the border - you need to have the fee of about $19 in cash though.
If you are going to Europe but have not booked any trip yet, and you are looking to get a longer Schengen visa, then our advice would be to plan your first journey to France as the French consulate normally issues multiple entry visas valid for 3 months or longer. The French visa is convenient because if you provide all the necessary documentation, your first visa may be issued for 3 or 6 months, your second – for one year, the third – for two years and all the rest for 2 years unless your circumstances change and you do not qualify anymore for a visa with such a long validity. After travelling to France you can use this visa to go to any other Schengen country.
You most probably will be granted a 6 month multi entry visa if you:
Are married to a British/EU citizen Are on a working visa in the UK (Tier 1, Tier2, Tier3, Work Permit, HSMP, Working Holiday, Investor) Already had a French Schengen visa issued and used it to travel to France Have been working full time for the same company for at least 6 months You are providing annual multi trip travel insurance Your passport and UK visa are valid 3 months after your requested Schengen visa for France expiry date (E.g. if you wish to get a 6 month visa starting from 25 October 2010, both your passport and UK visa must be valid at least until 25 July 2011).
It could be one year visa if you meet the following requirements:
You have had a 6 month French Schengen visa before and used it for France You are providing annual multi trip travel insurance Your passport and UK visa are both valid for at least 3 months after your requested Schengen visa for France expires (For example, if you are applying for a French Schengen visa on January 1, 2011, both your passport and UK visa must be valid until April 1, 2012 or beyond.)
You might be granted a shorter visa for France (valid for 1 or 2 months) if you: