If you want to visit any of the Schengen countries in Europe, you can apply for something called a Schengen visa. This visa allows you to travel to any of these countries for a period of up to 90 days for either business or simply for tourism.
There are 26 member countries in the Schengen area. These include:
- Czech Republic
If you wish to apply for a Schengen Visa, there are a few steps you need to take. These are:
The very first thing you need to do is to figure out the type of Schengen Visa that you need. Depending upon your purpose, there are different kinds of visa;
- Tourist visa for Schengen
- Business visa for Schengen
- National visa
- Limited Territorial Validity Visas (LTV)
- Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)
Depending upon your purpose, you will need to submit different sets of documents to apply for your visa.
Where do you need to apply for it?
The second step is figuring out where you need to apply for your Schengen visa. To do this, you have to find out from the embassy or consulate or VAC of the country where you are currently residing. You also need to look into the jurisdiction under which you fall.
When do you need to apply for it?
The third step to applying for your Schengen visa is figuring out when you can apply. While you can apply at the latest of 15 working days before you want to visit Europe, it can be a good idea to apply earlier on. You can apply at least three months before your planned trip to be on the safe side.
Collect all the Documents Needed for your Schengen visa
For the next step, you should get hold of all the appropriate documents which you need to file your visa application. Depending upon your purpose of visit, your documents might be different. However, the most common documents which you will need are:
- Two photocopies of the first and last page of your passport
- Two-colour photographs of yourself
- A cover letter which states your duration of stay as well as the purpose of your visit. This letter should be addressed to the Embassy of Switzerland, New Delhi.
- The proof of your airline reservation for a round trip
- Overseas medical insurance, which is valid for the country you are visiting. The minimum cover should be 30000 Euro.
- A bank statement of the last three months
- Your income tax returns for the last three years
- Salary slips of the last three months
- Download and fill in the visa application form. You can choose to download this online and then print out a hard copy, which you can fill at your leisure.
If your purpose of visit to the Schengen area is simply for tourism, then you will need a few additional documents. These are:
- All the documents mentioned above,
- In case you are visiting family in Schengen country, you will need to mention the name, duration of visit as well as a guarantee of expenses. Along with this, you will also need a copy of a passport or residence permit.
In case you are visiting a Schengen country for business purposes, you will also need these documents:
- All the documents mentioned in the ‘common documents’ section
- An invitation letter from a Schengen company
- An original no objection letter from your current employer granting you leave
- In case you are self-employed- you will need a cover letter on your company letterhead. You also require a company registration, tax registration and certificates, and a partnership deed
In case you are a student visiting Schengen for educational purposes, you will also need these documents:
- All the above documents stated in the ‘common documents’ section
- Proof of enrolment
- A no-objection certificate from your school or university in India
In case you are a retired person, you will need to show:
- A pension statement for the last six month
- In case you still have a regular income which is generated by a property, you will need to show this proof for the last six months
Appointment of Interview
After collecting all the necessary documents, you need to make an appointment for an interview at the visa application centre in India. Depending upon the availability, you can make this appointment either online, through the phone, or in person.
Take the Interview
The actual interview process is a very important part of applying for your Schengen visa. Make sure you attend the interview on time and can answer all the questions with ease.
Payment of Visa Fee
You will need to check the Schengen Visa Category, where you can find the fees you will need to pay for your visa. Each Schengen state has a fixed and synchronized visa fee, and according to where you are planning on visiting, you have to pay these visa fees. This is a nonrefundable fee that differs from country to country (where you are visiting), and also the type of visa you are applying for.
Processing of your Visa
Finally, after completing all these steps, you need to wait for your visa application to be processed. It will take a maximum of 15 days for this process, after which you will receive a response to your application.
Once you complete all these steps, you need to wait to receive your Schengen visa. These rules are set down by the Schengen countries in Europe to increase security, and you must fill in your Schengen Visa application form sincerely and honestly. Of course, obtaining a Schengen visa is not too different from applying a Visa for visiting any other country!