Schengen refers to the 27 European Countries that agreed to unified border requirements for entry and exit of their countries. So, if you meet the requirements for one country, you can freely apply for Schengen Visa to visit any of the countries without restrictions or further requirements.
Thus, this document is referred to as Europe’s passport-free zone. It is about the world’s largest travel area, as it sees thousands of people commute through the country every day.
As we progress, we will discuss the documents necessary for your application for the Schengen Visa and the process for a seamless application.
What is a Schengen Visa?
A Schengen visa is the type of visa issued when you intend to visit any of the 27 countries that make up Schengen for a duration of about 90 days. Moreover, It does not matter what the purpose of your travel is, could be for tourism, business, short-term study, conference, medical reasons, cultural/sports, or family/official visit.
Therefore, so long as it is within 90 days, a Schengen visa is what you need. But, if it exceeds 90 days, you will have to apply for a national visa of the country, and no longer a Schengen visa.
Depending on your reason for requiring a Schengen visa, there are specific requirements for each purpose. However, below are must-have documents for any reason you want to visit the Schengen area.
Schengen Visa Application Form: This is the form that proves you applied for a Schengen visa. It should be well-filled and signed.
A valid Passport: This should be valid for at least 3 months from when you are applying for a Schengen visa.
Two Passport Photographs: You will need to submit two identical passport photographs of yourself which were taken not more than 3 months before you applied for a Schengen visa.
Travel Insurance Policy: This document proves that you have travel health insurance for the whole Schengen territory. it requires a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros in case of any medical emergency, such as illnesses, accidents, and even repatriation in case of death.
Accommodation Proof: You will be required to provide proof of where you will be staying during your stay in a Schengen area. It could be payment proof for hotel accommodation, rental space, or a letter of invitation from your host.
Bank Account Statement/Sponsorship Letter: This is to show that you can financially take care of your bills without running into debt or getting stranded. So, if you are sponsoring yourself, you will provide your bank statement of not older than 3 months. If you are being sponsored, you will provide a sponsorship letter from your sponsor.
Road Trip Reservation or Itinerary: This is primarily for tourists, where you provide sufficient information about the places you will be visiting. What time you will be going? Where you will leave from.
Cover Letter: This should answer; Why you want to travel, how you will fund your stay, where you will stay. When you will travel, what you are coming to do, and who you will travel with or visit. Need help to create an interesting cover letter to stand out? Contact Fasthire Today.
Other Special Requirments
Family Relations Proof: If you are visiting a family member or friend, you have to provide proof that you are related to or know those people.
Flight Reservation Proof: You will have to provide proof that you have made bookings for when you will be leaving.
For Minors: They will require; a birth certificate, an original notarized NOC by the other parent, if accompanied by a parent, plus copies of the parent’s passports or ID. And for minors traveling alone, they must provide an original notarized NOC by both parents / legal guardians. Also, copies of parent’s passports or ID.
Visa Fee Payment Proof: This is evidence that you have successfully purchased your visa.
If there were previous trade relations between the two companies proof of such an event; This is the case where you are traveling for business purposes.
Requirements based on occupation status:
If employed; you will provide your employment contract, current bank statement of the last 6 months, leave permission from the employer, and Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary.
If self-employed, you will provide a copy of your business license, company bank statement of the last 6 months, and Income Tax Return (ITR).
Things to Consider While Applying for a Schengen Visa
1. Do I Need a Schengen Visa or not?
This is a major consideration to make, because if you intend to stay longer than 3 months in Europ. You may have to apply for a national visa of that European Country and not a Schengen visa.
2. What is the purpose of my Travelling?
This has to be clear and well-defined, and this is the purpose a cover letter will serve for you. Many times, people get visa rejections, it is often because their purpose of coming to a Schengen area is not clear or they don’t state clearly how long they will be staying. And their due date to leave. Defining and clearly stating your purpose is a quick ticket to getting your application accepted.
3. Do I match the requirements for a Schengen visa?
Before applying for a Schengen visa, ensure you have all your documents ready. Refer to the requirements above to know the documents you need. Ensure you make inquiries about all you will need to submit for the specific purpose you are traveling for before making an application.
4. What duration is my Visit?
This has to be clear from the word ‘go’, as it is part of what your cover letter must cover. So, get this sorted first.
5. What Country should I visit:
Do well to put this into consideration while applying for a Schengen visa. They would want to track your movement while in the Schengen area. So, decide on the countries you will be visiting, especially if you are coming for tourism.
6. Do I have sufficient proof of funds?
You should consider this before making an application, as a certain amount of money is required before you can be granted a Schengen visa. So, ensure you can show proof of the amount or its equivalent before applying for a Schengen visa.
7. Meet all the Requirements
This includes that your documents are valid and accurate and that all information or proof you presented is not to be questioned.
How long does it take to get a Schengen visa?
It takes about 15 days to process a Schengen visa. But, you are encouraged to make your application as early as 3 to 6 months before your time of travel.
Where to apply for Schengen visa
Depending on the country you are applying to, ensure to make your inquiries properly. However, the places to apply include:
If you are planning to visit only one country—then you need to apply at the diplomatic representation of the Schengen, located in your country of residence.
If you are planning to visit more than one country—then where you need to apply depends on the number of days you will be spending in each of the states you will be staying.
When spending an equal amount of days in each, you need to apply for the diplomatic representation of the country where you will arrive first.
When spending an unequal amount of days in each, you will need to apply at the diplomatic representation of the country where you will be spending more time.
Depending on how your Schengen destination state has regulated visa submission in your country, you may have to lodge your application at:
A visa application center, to which your visa-processing country has outsourced visa submission
The embassy/consulate / VAC of another Schengen state, to which your visa-processing country has outsourced visa submission
The embassy/consulate / VAC of your destination country located in a neighboring country, to which the embassy in your country of residence has outsourced visa submission
In addition, in some larger countries, one Schengen state has more than one embassy and one consulate that accepts visa applications. In cases like this, the embassy and each consulate have their jurisdiction. You have to apply at the embassy or consulate / VAC under the jurisdiction of which the area where you live falls.
It is important that before making your application for a Schengen visa; you take some time and make your findings. Not paying attention to salient details is often one reason people’s applications are rejected. However, if you make adequate inquiries and provide enough proof, then you are well on your way to one or many of the Schengen countries.