Schengen Visa Information

18th Apr 2019
Day 1

Schengen visa information for Indian Passport holders

What is a Schengen Visa?

It is a document that is issued by the authorities/consulate of the Schengen countries in order to travel to and within the Schengen countries. There are 26 Schengen countries which are, Austria, Belgium, CzechRepublic, Denmark,Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia,Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland,Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Let’s assume you are travelling to France and Italy, however the stay is for a longer duration in Italy then you have to submit the application with the required documents to the Italian Consulate in order to obtain the Schengen visa to travel to Italy and after that anywhere within the Schengen area. In most cases the rules are similar for each consulate. The point here is that you always apply for the Schengen visa to that particular country embassy where your stay is for a longer time. This visa can be applied as early as 90 days prior to date of travel and it is best in my knowledge to apply for this document well in advance. The Schengen visa cost approx INR 4600 for Italian Consulate and it takes anywhere within 7-14 working days to get it processed after submission of required documents to the consulate. The Visa charges may vary for the Embassy of other countries example, the Visa application cost while applying to Slovenian Embassy is INR 4200. There is a handling charge by VFS of INR 1614. VFS global manages the visa and passport issuance related services for 60 client governments including the Schengen countries. Application form along with documents have to be submitted at the VFS centers.

Photo of Bangalore International Airport Pvt LTD., Kempegowda International Airport Road, Hunachur, Karnataka, India by Roshan Chugh (@vagabondfootsteps)

Documents to be submitted while applying

As I mentioned earlier along with the application form signed by the applicant you also have to submit additional documents/credentials which are as follows

1. A covering letter stating the purpose of travel, funding information and duration of trip.

2. Return tickets

3. Confirmed hostel accommodations

4. Travel insurance for the period of travel

5. Intercity or inter country travel means.

An Indian passport must have a minimum validity of three months beyond your planned stay in Schengen.

Along with this you also had to submit your employment status and credentials.

In case you are self employed, your firm’s partnership deed and GST registration certificate which shows you are part of my firm. In case you are employed in an organization you will have to submit a letter of leave which is sanctioned by your employer and a no objection certificate again attested by the employer.

6. Bank account statements for the last six months from the date of application

7. ITR returns are few of the other documents required by the consulate.

8. Photos according to the Schengen specifications.

Biometrics has to be submitted by the candidate at the VFS global office.

The Schengen visa allows the holder to a total stay of up to 90 days within a period of 6 months for tourist or business purposes. If you get a multiple entry Schengen visa, you may leave and return any number of times within the 180-day period, but the combined stay within the region must not total more than 90 days. Here you have single entry and multiple entry visas as well. Just as the name goes single entry visa will permit you to enter the Schengen country once for the specific purpose which it has been granted for within the period of the validity of the visa. In case of multiple entry visas you may enter and exit Schengen countries as many times within the validity of the visa. You can apply for Schengen visa every time you travel or in the case your travels are sorted for the next 3 or 4 months you also have the option of applying for a long term visa.

In the case where the all credentials are perfect everything goes super smooth and you will receive the visa. However, the consulate can ask you to re submit your documents or any particular credential as a formality or in any case in which you have forgotten to add those papers while submitting the application form.

Photo of Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy by Roshan Chugh (@vagabondfootsteps)

If you are travelling to non Schengen countries like Albania, Andora, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, The United Kingdom and Vatican City the visa procedure is different.

In case of The United Kingdom you have to apply for a separate visa all together. In some cases you can enter and exit the country on multiple times based on a valid multi entry Schengen visa. In any case where in you plan on travelling to a mix of both Schengen and non Schengen countries make sure you look up the visa rules. For example if you travelling in the Eastern Europe region and you have a multiple Schengen visa document you can visit Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Montenegro etc… hassle free. In a scenario where in you are staying in a non Schengen country for a longer duration and planning to visit a Schengen country you will need to apply of two visas. Example; if you visiting Croatia for 10 days and plan on visiting Slovenia for 3 days you will have to apply for Visa first to Croatian Embassy and after obtaining that you will need to further apply to the Slovenia Consulate for a multi entry Schengen visa. Yes this would mean double paper work and of course paying the Visa application fee twice. However you can always plan accordingly. The rules may vary from each non- Schengen country always best to look up the VFS Global website to get more clarity.

Photo of Hvar, Croatia by Roshan Chugh (@vagabondfootsteps)

I would recommend you to apply with authentic documents such as confirmed accommodations and flights and not dummies as your application can certainly get rejected if it comes to the knowledge of the consulate that you are applying with dummies. Recently, to curb the immigrant numbers a person were withheld at immigration when the officer realized that all the documents of stay were dummies. Please follow the rules and make sure you apply well in advance to avoid last minute hassles. Yes of course there have been many cases of rejection of the Schengen visa incase the documents are not satisfactory or if there are a lot of dummy bookings or invalid proof of sufficient funds and lack of proper itinerary. In some cases visas have been rejected on the basis unfavorable situations at Schengen countries and unacceptable birth or marriage certificate. If you have a damaged passport your application can get rejected. Also, Schengen visa can get cancelled by the applicant with valid reasons or proof.

Photo of Slovenia by Roshan Chugh (@vagabondfootsteps)