Europe has always been a dream destination for Indians. The statistics released by Internal Migration and Affairs of the European Commission show that more than 700,000 applications for Schengen visas were submitted by Indians in 2015, as mentioned in an article on The Economic Times.
Schengen Visas are issued to those who want to travel to any of the 26 member states of the region, for the purpose of leisure, work, education or family visit for 90 days, and within a period of 180 days from the date of issuance of the visa. (Also read: Schengen Visa Rejection Reasons)
How Do You Start Schengen Visa Application Process?
In this article, I’ll explain how Indians can apply for Schengen Visa.
You will obviously have sorted out your plans regarding the date of departure and the itinerary, including places you will visit and accommodation at those places. The European Union has a highly developed Entry/Exit system in place to guard the borders of the Schengen Area and identify over-stayers. This provides records of all your travel histories in the area, according to information on the EU Home Affairs site. One of the main criteria for your Schengen visa application to get approved is that you know exactly where you are going and when. Book the tickets accordingly and make sure the tickets are refundable.
The Schengen visa is issued by the embassy or consulate of the member state you are visiting, in your country. If you are visiting multiple states, the one where you will reside for the maximum time will be applicable for visa purposes. In other cases, apply to the state whose border you will cross first during your trip.
After you have booked your tickets, invest in a good travel insurance, since the rules say that you should have insurance of at least €30,000 to cover your trip.
Now get all the documents required in place.
List of Documents Required for Schengen Visa
- Download the application form. For this, you need to go to the site of the country you want to apply for a visa to and download the form. For instance, the application form for visiting the Netherlands will be on the Netherlands’ government site. Fill the specific form and keep a hard copy.
- At least 3 passport size photos, with good contrast and brightness with a lighter background.
- Valid passport, with at least 2 blank pages; along with copies of previous visas (if any)
- Travel insurance documents.
- Flight tickets and itinerary; round trip details, specifying entry and exit dates from all states involved.
- Proof of accommodation; hotel booking vouchers, documents to show your family connections, if you are visiting relatives.
- Proof of Sufficient Finances; bank account statements of the last 6 months (soft copies are not allowed), TDS certificates from your employer, income tax return documents, pension statement of the last 6 months for retired people, company bank statements for self-employed people.
- For students; proof of enrollment and No Objection Certificate from their school or university.
- Minors; birth certificate, signed application form by parents or guardian, government ID or passport copies of both parents.
After you fill in the form and attach the documents with it, find out if the embassy grants appointments for submission. Then proceed to submit these documents to the respective embassy or consulate. Please make sure you submit the application 15 days before the date of departure and not earlier than 3 months from that date. Holders of multiple visas may apply six months prior to the expiry date of the valid visa.
Schengen Visa Processing and Fees for Indians
The process takes anywhere between 15 to 60 days from the date of submission. Currently, the visa fee in India for Indian passport holders is approximately €60 (₹4,400), and €35 (₹2,600) for children aged 6-12 years.
The visa enables you to travel within the Schengen territory multiple number of times. But, if you leave the territory, you cannot re-enter without a new visa.
So, there you have it. Enjoy your trip!