Traveling to Europe, am sure is something we all have on our bucket list. The beauty in all forms, artistic, romantic, historical, floral, breezy, hilly, gothic, symmetric, colorful with beautiful cafes, fresh bread, excellent coffee, good food, cheese, wines, great beers, and overall a feeling of bliss. As I began writing this post, I started recalling the magical week that passed by, and hence, with some deep sighs and yearn to go back again sometime soon, I sat down to type. mmhmmmmmmm! 🙂
So, here you go guys, my next post on Schengen visa application as promised!
Whenever you start the process of applying for a Schengen visa the very first question that pops up is which country do I apply from? Because when we do a Euro trip, most of us happen to visit multiple countries. After all the greed to witness and accumulate as much of the beauty as possible in our tiny little eyes is completely human. Even if you do plan to stay in just one country, you would always want to have the option open right?
Which countries can you visit with a Schengen Visa?
The Schengen area comprises of 26 European states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Which country to apply from?
- You can apply for a Schengen visa at the embassy/consulate of the country you plan to spend the maximum number of days in.
- If you’re going to spend an equal number of days, then apply at the embassy of the country you first land in.
- Again you can either directly apply at the embassy or consulate or the nearest VFS center for the country you choose to apply for.
- For VFS, you need to register and schedule an appointment, fill the form and print it or vice versa.
Essential and supporting documents needed for Schengen visa:
- You can easily find all these details on vfs website. I am just listing down everything here for you guys. But please go back and refer to vfs website as well as these things keep changing.
- Application form duly filled and signed at VFS center. Schengen application costs around 5 – 6k now( as of Mar 2018). This fee is subject to change.
- Passport( New and Old passport if any)
- Tour details – Basic itinerary, Flight details, and hotel bookings or stay related details, letter of invitation if you are going to stay with friends or family.
- Employees:- NOC from the employer, Payslips(3- 4 months), IT returns(3 years), Bank account statements signed by the bank (6 months)
- Self-employed:-IT returns(3 years, personal and company/firm/business etc), Bank account statements (6 months).
- For Self employed, you might want to submit some proof that explains your work and implies that you don’t intend to stay in Europe longer than your planned dates.
- Travel Insurance.
- Other documents like land registration, mortgage documents if you have any assets.
- If married, documents showing your marital status, such as Marriage certificate etc. or any other proof.
- Other ID proofs that have your permanent address. Ex: Aadhaar card etc.
- A document checklist with all the above details.
- A cover letter to the embassy, explaining why you need the visa.
Visa processing time?
- Apply in advance. The maximum you can apply is three months before your date of travel.
- Schengen short-term visa processing takes a minimum of 7 – 15 working days (excluding weekends).
- The application processing time also varies based on the embassy you’re applying to. They say VFS Netherlands and VFS Germany usually takes less time.
- I applied from the VFS Czech Republic and got my visa in exact 7 days.
- You might get your visa in less than 7 working days when there isn’t much traffic but it is safe to assume 7 to 15 working days and apply accordingly.
What if I don’t have that much time?
- Unlike UK visa you don’t have any option of priority visa here.
- But if you are in a hurry, my suggestion would be to apply directly at the corresponding embassy.
- This might take 2 -3 days time at max. You can wait and get your passport in hand after it is processed.
What to do after applying ( if applied from VFS)?
- You can track the status of your application through VFS portal and go get the passport once it arrives at the nearest VFS center.
- You can also opt for mobile and courier services on some additional charge while applying, which will provide you, update on the status of your passport and courier it to your address.
- Remember that either you or anyone related to you with a valid ID proof has to be present to collect the passport on arrival.
Things to note:
- You should submit a clear itinerary along with flight tickets and hotel bookings.
- If you have not planned so much yet and wish to apply for a visa first then the best option is to book refundable tickets for the dates you plan to go.
- And book hotels or Airbnb or hostels in advance from booking.com or similar online platforms.
- They only block some amount from your card which will be returned if you cancel before time.
- Note that usually Schengen visa will be given from the date you land in the Schengen area (according to your itinerary and flight bookings) till your vacation period.
- So you cannot change your travel dates later.
- I would suggest, plan everything well and if you submit all the relevant documents, there won’t be much risk.
Hope you like this post and this information helps you. As boring as the process is, once you step your foot on those magical lands, nothing shall seem unworthy! Here’s is one of my favorite picture for you that added a deep perspective on me. More about it in my next post!
If you are traveling any time soon, have an amazing vacation as mine or hope you have even more amazing than mine 🙂 And if you are not, start planning now!