Schengen visa is a special category of visa which allows the visa holder to travel freely among all the Schengen countries for a period of up to 90 days in a maximum of 6 months time.
Schengen Visa application can be filed for any of the 26 Schengen countries. Some of the basic questions that need to be answered while applying for the Schengen visa are-
- Which is the country in the Schengen zone that is your main destination of travel?
- Which is the country that is your first point of entry into Europe?
- Place where you will be spending most of your days on the trip?
If the applicant wishes to visit/ travel to just one Schengen country, he/she will need to apply for a visa with the embassy or the consulate of that particular country. However, in case the applicant wants to visit several Schengen countries, the visa application must be submitted to the embassy or the consulate of the country which is the main destination.
When do you need a Schengen Visa?
Schengen Visa Application must be submitted by the residents of the non-Schengen countries to travel within the Schengen Area depending on the purpose of the visit such as tourism, employment, business, transit, or studying. Schengen Visa holders are not required to have the citizenship of the designated Schengen country. It permits them to live and travel freely in the Schengen Area for the time period of the isued Schengen Visa.
Documents required for the Schengen Visa Application
Depending on the purpose of the travel the documents required for the Schengen visa varies, however, there is a standard list of the Schengen Visa Application Requirements, as stated below:
Schengen visa application form
- Completed Schengen visa application form: For every Schengen visa application, this is the first and foremost requirement. The application form can be downloaded from the internet and needs to be duly filled and signed by the applicant.
Important update: Applicants can now fill the entire Schengen visa application online and simply take a print out if it. Not only it saves a lot of time but also saves the hassle of unnecessarily worrying about the typos or other errors in the application form.
The passport should have at least two blank pages and validity for at least three months from the visa application date is mandatory. Also, in case the applicant has an old passport that also needs to be submitted along with the application.
Two recent and high-quality photographs as per the specifications mentioned for the Schengen Visa application.
The purpose of the travel
The Schengen visa application mandates submitting the detailed purpose of the visit to the respective Schengen zone. This is a kind of personal covering letter which explains the entire travel itinerary along with the documents submitted to the Embassy/Consulate.
For every Schengen Visa application, the application needs to submit confirmed flight itinerary or flight reservation to the destination. Although the flight ticket need not be submitted necessarily for the visa application, the flight itinerary is a safer way of submitting a Schengen visa application.
Schengen Visa Travel Insurance
A medical insurance is mandatory for every Schengen Visa application with a minimum cover of Euro 30,000 for medical emergencies and repatriation.
Important to know: Medical treatment could be quite expensive in most european countries. Therefore it is recommended to obtain an Schengen Visa travel insurance with an comprehensive cover. Some insurance providers offer tariffs with an unlimited cover.
For the Schengen visa application, the applicant also needs to submit the details of the hotel booking, hotel reservations for Schengen visa, or any other country they are planning to travel and stay.
Schengen visa applicants need to submit the original bank statements for last three months with the original stamp and signature of authorized signatory of the bank.
Additional requirement in case of employed individuals
- Letter of the employment contract or latest 4 months salary slips
- Latest bank statements for last 6 months
- A letter of leave permission from the current employer
- Latest Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary
Additional requirements in case of self-employed individuals
- Valid copy of the business license
- Bank statement of the company for last 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR) statement filed for the company
However, for specific travel purpose to the Schengen area, below is the list of additional documents required:
Specific Visa Application Requirements
Tourist Visa (in case of visit to relatives/friends in Schengen Area)
- Latest Bank statements of last 6 months
- In case of no bank account or low balances to cover the expenses, an ‘official affidavit of support’ is needed which should be signed by the friends/relatives you are visiting and the same must be attached along with the tourist Schengen visa application
- An undersigned letter from the applicant with the detailed purpose and intent of the visit along with complete personal address
Tourist Visa documents for Minors
- Consent letter signed by both parents in case the minor is traveling unaccompanied
- Completed visa form signed by both parents
- Valid copy of the parent(s)’ passports
Tourist visa (not visiting relatives/friends)
- The applicant’s bank statement for the last 6 months
- Information about the detailed itinerary of the traveling days in the Schengen Zone, accommodation, and hotel bookings
Business Schengen Visa
- A signed letter from the current company/employer stating the purpose of the travel, duration of stay in the Schengen area, name, position, duration of employment, address, salary, and contact numbers of the employer
- Original signed letter from the school/college or University in case the applicant is student traveling for a conference
- Salary slips of the applicant for the last three months
- Personal bank statement for last 3 months
- Letter from the guarantor confirming to bear the cost of all accommodation and expenses
- Additional documentation for business or training
- Letter of invitation from the business partner stating duration and purpose of visit in the Schengen country
- Valid proof of business activities with the inviting company in the Schengen area
- Additional documentation for conference or other cultural events
- Letter of invitation from the organizer in the Schengen area stating the complete details and status of the event including the attendant, speakers etc.
Visa requirement for permanently residing in the Schengen country due to a Schengen spouse
- Dully filled application form (2 in number)
- Valid and certified copy of the marital certificate
- In case the spouse is Schengen country citizen, a valid copy of the spouse’s passport is needed. However, if the spouse is not a Schengen country citizen, but only lives in a Schengen country the copy of his/her residency permit is required.
Student Schengen Visa
- Valid documents to support the fact that you have sufficient funds to cover your stay in Europe while studying there. Some example of these proofs include the cash in a bank account that can be converted to required currency, cheque books, traveler’s cheques, credit cards, or any other hard currency to prove sufficient funds in possession
- Valid proof supporting the acceptance at a certified university/institution in the Schengen Zone
Working Schengen Visa
- The valid employment contract between the applicant and the future employer residing in the Schengen zone you are traveling to work
- Valid proof of accommodation for your entire stay in the Schengen area
- Flight reservation or the time intended to be traveling in the Schengen zone
Where to apply for the Schengen Visa
For any kind of Schengen visa, the applicant has to apply at the embassy/consulate of the country where your main destination/ longest stay during the travel. Sufficient proof has to be submitted about the complete stay and the travel details in the Schengen Territory while applying for the Schengen Visa.
Time required for the processing of the Schengen Visa
It is recommended to apply for the Schengen Visa well in advance (preferably 2 months before the departure) as the Embassy/Consulate can take anywhere between 15 days to 3 months time to process all the documentation and sanction the traveler’s request for the Schengen Visa. However, depending on the individual cases and additional documentation requirement, it might take longer and you will be informed by the embassy accordingly.