Fancy a trip to Europe? You must! A trip to Europe is not as expensive as you may think and can be one of the most enriching experiences of your life. Each country has its own unique culture which is so different from our own here in India. From spectacular monuments to scenic landscapes, from trekking and adventure opportunities to a vigorous nightlife, Europe has it all. The first step, of course, is to get your Visa.
Here is all that you need to know about the Schengen visa for Indians:
What is a Schengen visa:
Short-stay or “Schengen” visas allow holders to move freely in countries in the Schengen Area for stays not exceeding 90 days per period of 6 months from your first entry to the Schengen Area. Schengen visas may be issued for one or several entries. This type of visa is generally issued for tourism, business travel, family visits.
Indian nationals and nationals of other countries legally residing in India can apply for a Schengen visa to travel to one or more of the countries in the Schengen area. On obtaining the Schengen visa, the holder is allowed to circulate within the Schengen territory a multiple number of times. However, if the holder of this visa leaves the Schengen territory, he/she cannot re-enter again without a new valid visa.
Which countries are covered by the Schengen visa?
As per the European Union, there are currently 26 European countries in the Schengen Area, 22 of which are member states of the European Union. These 26 countries share a common legal framework and there are no checks on the borders between them.
The countries issuing Schengen visas are:
the Czech Republic*
Countries marked as * are included in the European Union.
When to apply:
According to the EU, it is advisable to lodge the application at least 15 calendar days before the intended visit. It is important to note that applications can be lodged no more than three months before the start of the intended visit.
How to apply:
Applicants may be required to obtain an appointment for the lodging of an application.
The applicant shall present a valid travel document (passport) which extends at least three months after the intended date of departure from the territory of the Member States (or, in the case of several visits, after the last intended date of departure from the territory of the Member States). It shall contain at least two blank pages and shall have been issued within the previous 10 years.
One shall download the latest form of the application since that is the only form accepted.
The application form can be filled in either by handwriting or by typing into it. The applicant has to sign the form in the corresponding gaps. If the applicant is a minor, the parents have to submit a written consent and also sign in the corresponding column of the application form.
Every Schengen country shares more or less the same requirements for issuing a visa. However, depending on the consulate/embassy, there can be small differences in the additional documents required.
The application form must be fully completed and signed in the corresponding blanks.
One recently captured passport-size photo is to be attached.
The passport as well as all the copies of your previous visas, valid for at least 3 months prior to your departure is required.
The passport must have at least two blank pages.
One must have a copy of the reservation of the return ticket for the time intended to be travelling.
The travel medical insurance policy is to be secured, covering any medical emergency with hospital care and travel back to one’s native country due to medical motives. This health insurance policy has to cover expenses up to 30,000 euros, the sum depending on the residing days, and also it has to be valid in all Schengen countries. The health insurance policy must be purchased before picking up the visa and if your visa is refused you can cancel it!
In addition, tourists need to submit:
Bank statement (preferably for the last 6 months)
The detailed itinerary of the traveling days in the Schengen Zone, hotel reservations or a formal invitation letter from a resident of a Schengen country.
Where to apply:
In cases where the applicant will be traveling to one and only one Schengen country, the applicant has to apply at the appropriate embassy/consulate of the country.
If the applicant is planning to visit two or more Schengen countries, it is highly recommended to apply for the visa in the embassy/consulate of the country where the person will be residing in for most of the traveling days, referred to as the main destination.
In case there is no main destination but just a random visit to several Schengen countries, the applicant has to apply for the visa in the embassy/consulate on the first Schengen country he/she will enter according to the itinerary.
Once it’s determined in which embassy/consulate one will apply in, the applicant will apply in the embassy/consulate of that country that has jurisdiction over your place of residence.
In most embassies, the visa fee must be paid in local currency. Some consulates also accept payment by credit card.
If visa is refused:
Even after the applicant submits all the required documentation and proof, the consulate/embassy has the authority to deny him/her the visa since there is no right to a Schengen visa whatsoever. The magnitude of the documentation will assure the applicant that the request is accepted and will be preceded yet it’s never a guarantee to an issued Schengen visa. Therefore, it’s highly recommended not to make non-refundable travel arrangement prior to getting the visa.
Applicants who have been refused a visa have the right to appeal. Appeals shall be conducted against the Member State that has taken the final decision on the application and in accordance with the national law of that Member State.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is to the best of our knowledge. Please visit the embassy website for the most recent updates.