How to Apply for a Schengen Visa? Steps you Need to Know
Europe is a fairy-tale castle. You will surely get awestruck by its magnificent natural beauty, classic history, Mediterranean sunset, and more. But your dream can only come true once you get a Schengen visa. Yes! You have to apply for and get this special visa to travel to the old continent. If the questions like how to get it, is the process complicated or why it is necessary, scorching your mind, then don't worry. We'll walk you through each step for the Schengen visa application process.
What is Schengen Visa?
It is a short-stay visa that allows foreign travelers to stay in any member country of the Schengen Zone. Till now, there are 26 European countries those who have signed the Schengen agreement. With this visa, tourists can travel and stay until 90 days in the European countries for tourism and business purposes. They do not need to show their passport or get a visa every time they cross the Schengen countries' borders. It is the largest free travel area in the whole world. However, there are different Schengen visas categories basis on which you can apply for it.
What are the Schengen Countries?
Below is the list of the countries that have signed the Schengen agreement:
- The Czech Republic
What are the Types of Schengen Visas?
With a Schengen visa, you Schengen Visa allows travelers to move freely within the Schengen Zone. There are different Schengen Visas categories. The type of visa issued has different conditions for travel and stays related to Schengen countries, respectively. Indians and other foreign nationals can obtain below different visas to travel to Schengen countries.
Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)
The Uniform Schengen Visa permits travelers to travel or resides in the desired territory under Schengen Zone for a certain period maximum up to 90 days for every six months commencing from the date of entry.
According to the purpose or nature of the trip, there are different types of Schengen Visas under USV:
Category 'A' – It is the Airport Transit Visa. This visa is mandatory for travelers who are traveling from one non-Schengen country to another through a change of flights at the airport of any Schengen member country. It permits you to cross the international borders without entering in Schengen area.
Category 'B' – It stands for Transit Visa. Under this visa, travelers get permission to transit to any Schengen country from a non-Schengen country via any mode. However, the period of transit cannot exceed more than five days.
Category 'C' – It is Short Term Visa. Schengen Visa type c allows travelers to reside in any Schengen member country for a fixed duration depending on the visa's validity. Under Category 'C' three types of visas can be obtained:
- Single-entry visa: With single entry Schengen Visa travelers are allowed to enter in any Schengen country single time within the stipulated period mentioned in the visa sticker. When the travelers leave the Schengen territory, their visa expires immediately. They could not return on the same visa even if they left with the permitted number of days to stay.
- Double-entry visa: It is quite similar to a single-entry visa. However, the basic difference is that it allows travelers to re-visit the Schengen area even once they left it. But, this should not exceed the permitted number of days to stay in the Schengen Zone. Also, the moment they step out of this zone for the second time, their visa gets expire immediately.
- Multiple-entry visa: It allows travelers to transit in and out of the Schengen Zone as many times without violating the 90/180 rule. It is a long stay Schengen Visa that permits you to stay there for a long period. As per your travel needs, you can obtain the following multiple-entry visas:
- 1-year multiple-entry visa
- 3-year multiple-entry visa
- 5-year multiple-entry visa
However, for Schengen Visa type c the duration cannot exceed 90 days for every six months.
Limited Territorial Validity Visas (LTV)
It is one of the types of Schengen Visas in which foreign nationals holding it are permitted to commute only within the Schengen country or countries from where they have got the visa. This visa is invalid for other Schengen countries, and also holders are not allowed to visit any other member country. This visa issued only in some exceptional cases or emergencies.
Categorized as D, this visa is similar to a single entry Schengen Visa. It is for the individuals who want to move to Schengen countries either for study or work purposes or permanent residents of any member country. It is for a certain period and purpose. After completion of the duration, they have to return to their home country. However, you can obtain it as a long stay Schengen Visa (multiple-visit visa) that allows travelers to visit Schengen Zone multiple times and stay there for a long time.
Who Needs Schengen Visa?
- All the citizens of third countries that have not yet signed the Schengen agreement
- A person traveling for a holiday
- Employees of the companies for business purposes
Why is Schengen Visa Necessary?
With a Schengen visa, you do not need to fall into the hitch of those cumbersome visa formalities again and again. So for a hassle-free European holiday, you have to get it.
Steps for Schengen Visa Application Process
Getting a Schengen visa is not easy, but looking to another side of the coin is not that hard. All you need to do is to follow the below-mentioned steps correctly:
Travel Insurance: Before applying for the visa you have to get a travel insurance plan with a minimum coverage of €30,000. With this travel insurance, tourists are secure and also meet medical and non-medical expenses in case of emergencies.
Online Application Form: Once you get travel insurance, your second step is to fill an application form. You can easily download it from the official website or can also fill it online. You have to put all the necessary details mentioned in the form to avoid any kind of rejection.
Cover Letter: The next step is to prepare a cover letter. In this, you have to mention your purpose of the visit and your travel itinerary, which includes your flight tickets and hotel bookings. You have to attach this cover letter along with other necessary documents online.
Other Documents: You have to submit some other essential documents while completing your visa process application. It includes such as your bank statement showing a minimum balance of €30,000 over the last six months, proof of civil status (birth certificates), employment contract, and ITR for the previous three months.
Schedule an Appointment: Once you have done all the online application formalities, your next step is to schedule an appointment for an interview. It is advisable to schedule an appointment a month before to ensure your smooth travel.
Visa Interview: After collating documents and booking an appointment, you have already won half the battle. Now you have to appear for a visa interview at an embassy. Don't forget to check the list of the documents you need to carry. Appear right on time and ensure you answer them correctly.
Visa Fee: To get a visa, you also have to pay the fee. You need to pay it once officials have checked your documents along with the application form. The amount can be paid in cash or by card. This cost is around INR 6000, and that too non-refundable.
Visa Rejection: Be prepared to face visa rejection as well. The right to issue a Schengen visa lies with the Embassy. They have their criteria to check your eligibility, documents, and reasons to approve your visa. If they find everything valid, they allow you, if not, they may reject it. In that case, they return all your documents.
What to Do If Your Schengen Visa Application Gets Rejected?
There is a possibility that on the below grounds, your visa application gets rejected by the Embassy or Consulate.
• Any past or present criminal actions such as terrorism, child or drug abuse, addiction, etc.
• Submitted false travel documents
• No valid purpose for traveling
• Passport is not in good condition
• Unsatisfactory travel itinerary
• Invalid reference letters, birth certificates, marriage certificates, bank statements, etc.
• Inadequate travel insurance
• Lacking to present proof of accommodation, sponsorship, etc.
However, you have a chance to re-apply for the visa under Article 32(3) of the Visa Code of the Schengen Agreement. What you need to do is:
• Write an Appeal Letter for Schengen Visa Refusal on valid grounds along with personal details, date of the rejection, reasons for rejection, your reasons for rejection was incorrect, and your signature.
• Attach supporting documents along with appeal letter
• Submit a more detailed travel itinerary
• A current bank statement that shows you have adequate funds
• Valid international travel insurance
• Employment contract and other valid documents
Once you submit all the required documents with an appeal letter to the Embassy a higher rank officer will again verify your documents. The officials communicate if your visa is accepted.
Schengen visa is your gateway to the fantastic European trip. So get all the things done in the right way. Opt for travel insurance for Schengen countries offered by Religare Health Insurance with coverage against medical and non-medical emergencies to enjoy your trip hassle-free.