Schengen Visa & Immigration Stamping

The Schengen Agreement came into effect on 26 March 1995 to create a passport free zone. Currently, it comprises of 22 EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden) and 3 non-EU countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland).

Schengen is a group of 26 countries, find the list here (scroll down to "Membership") which have abolished formal border controls between them- be it travel by air, land or rail. For the traveller, this means free movement between each member state and the rest.

A person from a country with visa waiver means no visa required for 90 days in a 180 day period where you can't work or take part in any paid business activity. 90 in 180 means than in any 180 day period, you must have spent 90 or less days in the Schengen zone.

a Schengen visa is a document affixed to the holder's passport, which, if valid, lets the holder go to a border of a Schengen country and request entry. Like other visas, it doesn't guarantee entry.

The adoption of the Regulation (EC) No 1683/95 of 29 May 1995 laying down a uniform format for visas represented a step forward towards the total harmonisation of visa policy.

Harmonisation of visa policy.

a 'visa' shall mean an authorization given by or a decision taken by a Member State which is required for entry into its territory with a view to:
- an intended stay in that Member State or in several Member States of no more than three months in all,
- transit through the territory or airport transit zone of that Member State or several Member States.

On 26/02/2002 changes were introduced to incorporate photo of passport holder onto the visa.

Immigration Stamping

All 26 European countries within the Schengen Area have entry and exit stamps of a uniform design.

Entry and exit stamps are applied in black ink, except for the red date stamp and a two-digit security code in the middle. The stamps bear the country abbreviation within a circle of stars in the top left hand corner, the name of the entry/exit border crossing point at the bottom, and an icon in the top right hand corner to denote the mode of entry/exit. Below the name of the border crossing point is an identifying number - a record is kept of the identity of the border officer to whom a given stamp is assigned at any given time. Entry stamps are rectangular and have an arrow into a square, while exit stamps are rectangular with rounded corners and have an arrow out of a square. The stamps do not indicate any duration of stay.

Requirement For Malaysian

Malaysian citizens do not require a visa when travelling to one of the Schengen countries for business or tourism reasons. The stay in the Schengen States may not exceed 90 days within a 6-month period. Malaysian visitors will need to present a Malaysian passport (valid for 90-days past intended date of departure), proof of sufficient funds and a return airline ticket upon arrival at the first point of entry in the Schengen States.

If you are a citizen of a country which does need a visa to enter the Schengen States, or you are a Malaysian citizen intending to stay longer than three months, or wish to travel to an EU member state which is not a Schengen State (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), please contact the respective embassies to apply for a visa before travelling.

The Visa Information System (VIS) is being implemented in all Schengen States' consulates in Malaysia from 14 November 2013. Under the VIS, third country nationals who require a visa to enter the Schengen Area, will also need to submit their biometric data (fingerprints) during their first application.


Schengen visa sticker uniform format is outline in EC 1683/95 beginning 1 January 1996.


The size of the sticker is based on ICAO 9303 document.
MRV-A 80 x 120mm
MRV-B 74 x 105mm

The logo consisting of a letter or letters indicating the issuing Member State (or 'BNL' in the case of the Benelux countries, namely Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) with a latent image effect shall appear in this space. This logo shall appear light when held flat and dark when turned by 90°. The following logos shall be used: A for Austria, BNL for Benelux, D for Germany, DK for Denmark, E for Spain, F for France, FIN for Finland, GR for Greece, I for Italy, IRL for Ireland, P for Portugal, S for Sweden, UK for the United Kingdom.


1.   Mandatory entries section

1.1.   ‘VALID FOR’ heading:

This heading indicates the territory in which the visa holder is entitled to travel.

This heading may be completed in one of the following ways only:


Schengen States;


Schengen State or Schengen States to whose territory the validity of the visa is limited (in this case the following abbreviations are used):



















































1.2.   When the sticker is used to issue a uniform visa this heading is filled in using the words ‘Schengen States’, in the language of the issuing Member State.

1.3.   When the sticker is used to issue a visa with limited territorial validity pursuant to Article 25(1) of this Regulation this heading is filled in with the name(s) of the Member State(s) to which the visa holder’s stay is limited, in the language of the issuing Member State.

1.4.   When the sticker is used to issue a visa with limited territorial validity pursuant to Article 25(3) of this Regulation, the following options for the codes to be entered may be used:


entry of the codes for the Member States concerned;


entry of the words ‘Schengen States’, followed in brackets by the minus sign and the codes of the Member States for whose territory the visa is not valid;


in case the ‘valid for’ field is not sufficient for entering all codes for the Member States (not) recognising the travel document concerned the font size of the letters used is reduced.

2.   ‘FROM ... TO’ heading:

This heading indicates the period of the visa holder’s stay as authorised by the visa.

The date from which the visa holder may enter the territory for which the visa is valid is written as below, following the word ‘FROM’:

the day is written using two digits, the first of which is a zero if the day in question is a single digit,

horizontal dash,

the month is written using two digits, the first of which is a zero if the month in question is a single digit,

horizontal dash,

the year is written using two digits, which correspond with the last two digits of the year.

For example: 05-12-07 = 5 December 2007.

The date of the last day of the period of the visa holder’s authorised stay is entered after the word ‘TO’ and is written in the same way as the first date. The visa holder must have left the territory for which the visa is valid by midnight on that date.

3.   ‘NUMBER OF ENTRIES’ heading:

This heading shows the number of times the visa holder may enter the territory for which the visa is valid, i.e. it refers to the number of periods of stay which may be spread over the entire period of validity, see 4.

The number of entries may be one, two or more. This number is written to the right-hand side of the preprinted part, using ‘01’, ‘02’ or the abbreviation ‘MULT’, where the visa authorises more than two entries.

When a multiple airport transit visa is issued pursuant to Article 26(3) of this Regulation, the visa’s validity is calculated as follows: first date of departure plus six months.

The visa is no longer valid when the total number of exits made by the visa holder equals the number of authorised entries, even if the visa holder has not used up the number of days authorised by the visa.

4.   ‘DURATION OF VISIT ... DAYS’ heading:

This heading indicates the number of days during which the visa holder may stay in the territory for which the visa is valid. This stay may be continuous or, depending on the number of days authorised, spread over several periods between the dates mentioned under 2, bearing in mind the number of entries authorised under 3.

The number of days authorised is written in the blank space between ‘DURATION OF VISIT’ and ‘DAYS’, in the form of two digits, the first of which is a zero if the number of days is less than 10.

The maximum number of days that may be entered under this heading is 90.

When a visa is valid for more than six months, the duration of stays is 90 days in every six-month period.

5.   ‘ISSUED IN ... ON …’ heading:

This heading gives the name of the location where the issuing authority is situated. The date of issue is indicated after ‘ON’.

The date of issue is written in the same way as the date referred to in 2.

6.   ‘PASSPORT NUMBER’ heading:

This heading indicates the number of the travel document to which the visa sticker is affixed.

In case the person to whom the visa is issued is included in the passport of the spouse, parental authority or legal guardian, the number of the travel document of that person is indicated.

When the applicant’s travel document is not recognised by the issuing Member State, the uniform format for the separate sheet for affixing visas is used for affixing the visa.

The number to be entered under this heading, if the visa sticker is affixed to the separate sheet, is not the passport number but the same typographical number as appears on the form, made up of six digits.

7.   ‘TYPE OF VISA’ heading:

In order to facilitate matters for the control authorities, this heading specifies the type of visa using the letters A, C and D as follows:



stands for the Airport Transit Visa which allows its holder to travel through the international zone of the Schengen Country Airport without entering the Schengen Country Area. Airport transit visa is mandatory for the citizens travelling from one non-Schengen state to another non-Schengen state through a change of flights in a Schengen Country airport.



stands for a Short-term visa which allows its holder to reside in a Schengen Country (Schengen Area) for a certain period of time depending on the visa validity. This particular category, according to the holder’s purpose of the travel can be obtained in a form of:
  • Single-entry visa allows its holder to enter a Schengen country (Schengen Area) only once for the certain period of time. Once you leave the certain Schengen Area you entered the visa validity expires, even if the time period allowed to stay in the Schengen Area is not over yet.
  • Double-entry visa applies for the same policy as above mentioned, however you are allowed to enter the Schengen Area twice, meaning that for the certain period of time permitted by your visa you can enter the Schengen Zone, leave and enter again without any problems. Once you are out of the country for the second time the visa expires.
  • Multiple-entry visa allows its holder to go in and out of the Schengen Area as pleased. However, this visa allows its holder to stay in a Schengen Zone for maximum 90 days within half the year, starting from the day one crosses the border between a Schengen member country and the non-Schengen member country.



The national visa of “D” category is granted to the certain individuals who are to be studying, working or permanently residing in one of the Schengen countries. The national visa can be of a single entry, granted to the people who are in need of residing in the Schengen country for a certain period of time and for a sole purpose after which they shall return to their country. On the other hand a multi-entry national visa is also granted for certain individuals, allowing its holder to travel in and out of this Schengen country as he/she pleases and also travel throughout the whole Schengen Area without additional visa requirements.

Long-stay visa, equivalent to a regular residential permit. The holder is basically allowed to visit other Schengen countries for up to 90 days within a 180 day period. Described under EU regulation 2016/399, article 6 1(b)

8.   ‘SURNAME AND FIRST NAME’ heading:

The first word in the ‘surname’ box followed by the first word in the ‘first name’ box of the visa holder’s travel document is written in that order. The issuing authority verifies that the name and first name which appear in the travel document and which are to be entered under this heading and in the section to be electronically scanned are the same as those appearing in the visa application. If the number of characters of the surname and first name exceeds the number of spaces available, the excess characters are replaced by a dot (.).


Mandatory entries to be added in the ‘COMMENTS’ section

in the case of a visa issued on behalf of another Member State pursuant to Article 8, the following mention is added: ‘R/[Code of represented Member State]’,

in the case of a visa issued for the purpose of transit, the following mention is added: ‘TRANSIT’;


National entries in ‘COMMENTS’ section

This section also contains the comments in the language of the issuing Member State relating to national provisions. However, such comments shall not duplicate the mandatory comments referred to in point 1;


Section for the photograph

The visa holder’s photograph, in colour, shall be integrated in the space reserved for that purpose.

The following rules shall be observed with respect to the photograph to be integrated into the visa sticker.

The size of the head from chin to crown shall be between 70 % and 80 % of the vertical dimension of the surface of the photograph.

The minimum resolution requirements shall be:

300 pixels per inch (ppi), uncompressed, for scanning,

720 dots per inch (dpi) for colour printing of photos.

10.   Machine-readable zone

This section is made up of two lines of 36 characters (OCR B-10 cpi).

First line: 36 characters (mandatory)


Number of characters

Heading contents




Type of document

First character: V

Second character: code indicating type of visa (A, C or D)



Issuing State

ICAO alphabetic code 3-character: BEL, CHE, CZE, DNK, D<<, EST, GRC, ESP, FRA, ITA, LVA, LTU, LUX, HUN, MLT, NLD, AUT, POL, PRT, SVN, SVK, FIN, SWE, ISL, NOR



Surname and first name

The surname should be separated from the first names by 2 symbols (<<); individual components of the name should be separated by one symbol (<); spaces which are not needed should be filled in with one symbol (<)

Second line: 36 characters (mandatory)


Number of characters

Heading contents




Visa number

This is the number printed in the top right-hand corner of the sticker



Control character

This character is the result of a complex calculation, based on the previous area according to an algorithm defined by the ICAO



Applicant’s nationality

Alphabetic coding according to ICAO 3-character codes



Date of birth

The order followed is YYMMDD where:



year (mandatory)



month or << if unknown



day or << if unknown



Control character

This character is the result of a complex calculation, based on the previous area according to an algorithm defined by the ICAO












Not specified



Date on which the visa’s validity ends

The order followed is YYMMDD without a filler



Control character

This character is the result of a complex calculation, based on the previous area according to an algorithm defined by the ICAO



Territorial validity


For LTV visas, insert the letter T


For uniform visas insert the filler <



Number of entries

1, 2, or M



Duration of stay


Short stay: number of days should be inserted in the visual reading area


Long stay: <<



Start of validity

The structure is MMDD without any filler.

Visa Information System

The Visa Information System (VIS) is a system for the exchange of data on short-stay visas among Schengen States.

The VIS consists of a central database, a national interface in each Schengen state, and a communication infrastructure between the central database and the national interfaces. The VIS is connected to the national visa systems of all Schengen States via the national interfaces to enable competent authorities of the Schengen States to process data on visa applications and on all visas that are issued, refused, annulled, revoked or extended.

The VIS is composed of two systems, first the VIS central database with alphanumerical searching capabilities and an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) that compares new fingerprints against those in the database and returns hit/no hit response, along with matches.

The principal central VIS is located in Strasbourg (France) and a back-up central VIS, capable of ensuring all functionalities of the principal central VIS is located in Sankt Johann im Pongau (Austria).
The VIS continuously processes the information collected by Schengen states' consulates. For example, any information entered by local visa authorities will be available in the VIS for all users within a few minutes. Border authorities can then verify visa holders' identities at the border crossing points in just a few seconds. The VIS operates 24/7, 365 days a year.

The Commission was in charge of the development of the central database, the national interfaces and the communication infrastructure between the central VIS and the national interfaces. Their development was funded by the EU budget (the cost amounted to €135 million between 2004 and 2011). Each Schengen state is responsible for the development, management, and operation of its national system.

The Agency for the management of large-scale IT systems in the area of justice, freedom and security will be the Managing Authority of the VIS. Until the Agency becomes operational, the Managing Authority will be the Commission and the French authorities, in line with the relevant legal base.

The VIS did not start operations in all Schengen consulates worldwide at once, but was progressively deployed, region by region. In November 2009, the Commission adopted a Decision (2010/49/EC) determining the first regions for the VIS consular rollout. The VIS was first started operations in all Schengen states' visa-issuing consulates in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia). The VIS was subsequently deployed in the Near East (Israel, Jordan, the Lebanon, and Syria), and then in the Gulf region (Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen).