Given the amount of research I’ve done so far on visa applications and their requirements, I have almost begun to believe that I am some type of an expert on the reasons for visa applications getting approved or rejected. In this article, I am looking specifically at the Schengen Visa. This visa is issued to applicants interested in traveling to and within the Schengen Area, which comprises 26 countries, of which 22 are EU members.
Each year, millions of people apply for Schengen visas, 15.2 million applications for short-stay visas being lodged at the consulates of Schengen states, of which 14 million were issued, in 2016 alone, according to data published by the European Commission.
If you are wondering why the remaining 1.2 million failed to get their visa approved, you should know that they may have failed to present all the needed information about themselves to the consular officer, either by submitting false documents, damaged passports, invalid visas or insufficient evidence to prove the purpose and circumstances of the planned visit.
This led me to thinking that what people needed was a list of things they should do to maximize the chances of their Schengen visa being approved.
Do Thorough Research About Schengen Visas
Much before you think of applying for a Schengen visa, it is highly recommended that you invest a good amount of time in understanding what all you need to do as part of the visa application process. You don’t even have to scourge the World Wide Web to find the needed information, given that all you need to know is provided on the specific embassy’s website. Indian passport holders can understand the requirements, process of applying as well as the fees required for the Schengen visa application by visiting this link.
Keep a Checklist Handy
In order to apply for the Schengen Visa, the applicant needs to gather documents, including a fully completed and signed visa application form, passport, copies of their previous visas, a valid health insurance policy that can cover expenses of up to €30,000, itinerary or round trip reservation with flight numbers and dates to specify your entry and exit from the Schengen area, proof of accommodation, and most importantly, evidence of sufficient means of subsistence during your stay in the Schengen country.
Keeping the list handy will help you avoid missing any single document, since all are crucial to getting the visa approved.
Take Your Time
Many people commit the mistake of preparing for the visa application too close to their travel date. What you should know is that by doing so, they are increasing their chances of getting their initial visa application rejected, putting their travel plans in jeopardy. I am not saying that they’ll fail to fulfill the requirements, what I am trying to say is that the last minute hurry increases their chances of committing mistakes.
Ensuring that you have enough time before you travel date to re-apply for the visa, if needed, will only give you peace of mind and limit stress-related errors in the application process.
Lastly, the key to success at the visa interview is confidence, and lots of it. Look your best, even if you have to do so in a strictly-enforced dress code, and nail the face-to-face interaction by giving honest answers with utter confidence.