A Schengen Visa permits entry to any of its member countries. Visa holders can move freely within the schengen zone. The Schengen member countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
There are three major types of Schengen visa issued by the designated Embassy/Consulate.
- The Uniform Schengen Visa stands for a permit of one of the Schengen Area Member Countries to transit or reside in the desired territory for a certain period of time up to the maximum of 90 days every six month period starting from the date of entry.
- The Limited Territorial Validity Visa allows you to travel only in the Schengen State that has issued the visa or in some other cases, in the certain Schengen States specifically mentioned when applying for the visa.
- The National Visa is granted to certain individuals who plan to study, work or permanently reside in one of the Schengen countries.
What you need to do:
- Identify the type of visa you intend to apply for and compile the relevant documents. The type of visa will determine the documents required.
- Where you are travelling to a single country in the schengen area then your application should be to the embassy of the country you intend to visit.
- Where you want a random schengen visa, you should apply to the embassy or country that will be your first stop (arrival country).
- If you are travelling to two or more schengen countries, you should apply to the country which is your main destination.
- Complete Schengen Visa Application Form.
- Submit application and supporting documents to the embassy of the country you are applying to.
- Wait for the decision on your application.
- Visa application form
- Valid passport and all copies of previous visas.
- Introduction letter from your company
- Leave letter
- 3 months bank statement updated not longer than 15 days before your application.
- Recent passport photograph (in the prescribed form)
- Health/Travel Insurance
- Evidence of hotel reservation
- Evidence of return air ticket reservation
- Visa fee
- Copy of marriage certificate
- Invitation letter from spouse
- Copy of children’s birth certificates.
- Each application is examined on the strength of the information provided by the applicant, the visa application form and the supporting documents. As long as you meet all the requirements, your visa will be approved.
- You can submit your application up to 10 weeks prior to your departure date. Visa is usually issued 3 months with effect from the date of intended stay.
- Your Health/Travel insurance must cover expenses up to 30,000 Euros.
- Your air ticket and hotel reservation should allow for refund in case of visa denial. In most cases you may not require a reserved ticket but your hotel reservation is important.
- Where you have an invitation letter from a sponsor, then you need to attach your sponsor’s financial records and evidence of permission to stay in the country.
- For a tourist, your best bet is to apply on your own and allow your application to be assessed on its strength.