The Schengen area is a region of immense beauty and a rich cultural heritage. The glaciers and northern lights of Iceland, the idyllic beaches of Greece, the gastronomical delights of Spain, and the rich art and architecture of Italy, the list of things to experience here seems endless. However, to visit any of these countries, you might need to first apply for a Schengen visa.
In this article…
Who Needs a Schengen Visa from Australia?
Australian citizens are not required to apply for a visa to travel to the Schengen member nations or any other country within the European Union, as long as the duration of stay in no longer than 90 days, within a six-month period. However, not all Australian nationals qualify for such visa-free travel.
- Australian passport holders who have been previously denied entry into the Schengen territory are required to apply for a visa.
- Individuals temporarily living in Australia, who are nationals of a third country that does not have a visa-free regime with the Schengen area are also required to apply for a visa.
- Individuals living in Australia, who are citizens of a nation with a visa-free regime with the Schengen zone, but have previously been denied entry, must also apply for a visa.
Also remember that if you are on a visitor visa to Australia, but wish to visit one of the Schengen countries, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa at the appropriate embassy in your home country.
Where to Apply for a Schengen Visa?
The embassy where you submit your visa application depends on the countries you wish to visit and the duration of the trip:
- If you are visiting a single country, then you should apply at the embassy or consulate of that nation.
- In case you intend to travel to multiple Schengen nations, then you will need to apply at the embassy of the nation where you will be spending the maximum time.
- If you intend to visit multiple countries, while spending equal amounts of time in each country, then you should apply at the embassy or consulate of the country that you will visit first or where you will enter the Schengen zone.
A Schengen visa only allows you to stay for a duration of up to 90 days. If you wish to travel for a longer duration, then you will need to apply for the national visa of the specific country you will be staying on at.
What Do Your Need to Apply for a Schengen Visa from Australia?
The following documents are required for a Schengen visa from Australia:
- Valid Passport
Your passport should be valid for at least three months after the completion of your intended travel to the Schengen area. The passport should not be older than 10 years and have at least two blank pages. One of the pages is for a visa stamp, the other being a spare.
- Visa Application Form
You need to submit the completely filled and signed visa application form. All the information filled in the form should be accurate, to the best of your knowledge. Any mistakes could lead to a delays in the processing of the visa application or even visa denial, in the worst case.
- Australian Residence Card
You need to present your permanent or temporary Australian Residence Card to prove that you are legally residing in Australia. Your residence card should be valid for at least three months beyond the date of your return from the Schengen area.
You also need to attach a passport-sized photograph with the application form. The photograph must be taken against a light background, with your face and upper shoulders clearly visible. Remember, the photograph must not be stapled but glued on the application form.
- Travel Health Insurance
To travel to the Schengen area, it is necessary for you to have travel health insurance with coverage of at least €30,000. The insurance must be valid for the entire Schengen territory and cover you in case of medical emergencies, such as an illness or accident.
- Means of Subsistence
You also need to prove that you will be able to financially support yourself for the entire duration of your trip. For this purpose, your bank statements and/or pay slips for the last three months can be used. In case your expenses are being covered by someone else, a letter of sponsorship is required.
- Cover Letter
A cover letter specifies the details of your trip, such as the countries you wish to visit and the number of days you will be spending in each country.
- Proof of Accommodation
You need to provide proof of hotel bookings in the Schengen area. If you are being hosted by family or friends, then you will need a letter of invitation. The letter should include the contact information and financial details of the host.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa from Australia?
- Before applying for a Schengen visa, it is important to select the type of visa most suitable for your travel. The different types of Schengen visa are tourist visa, business visa, study visa, medical visa and transit visa.
- Next, you need to submit the visa application form, along with all the necessary documents.
- After submission, schedule and attend the visa interview at the appropriate embassy. The appointment for the interview can be taken online or by visiting the embassy.
- After attending the visa interview, you are required to pay the visa processing fee. The fee can be paid in cash or via credit/debit card. However, not all embassies accept credit card payments.
When to Apply for a Schengen Visa from Australia?
You can apply for a Schengen visa a maximum of three months before your intended travel. The processing of the visa application generally takes around 15 days. However, the processing time can extend up to 30 days, in case further investigation/processing is required. Therefore, it is always better to apply at least three to four weeks before your trip.
For any further information, it is advisable to contact the embassy of your destination country.