Apply for a Schengen Visa from India
More Indians are traveling to Europe than ever before, with over 920,000 Schengen visa applications being filed from India in 2017, making it the fourth highest, according to information provided by the European Commission.
What You Should Know Before Applying for a Schengen Visa
Before applying for a Schengen visa, it is important to know the type of visa that would be most suitable for the purpose of your visit. The different types of Schengen visas are:
- Tourist Visa
Europe is one of the favorite tourist destinations for Indians. If you are planning to visit the Schengen area for the purposes of leisure and sightseeing, then you need to apply under this category.
- Transit Visa
Transit visa is suitable for those who need to stop at a Schengen nation for a short period of time for the purpose of changing their means of transportation. This visa is generally valid for a period of 24 hours.
- Business Visa
People traveling to one or more Schengen countries for business related purposes, such as meetings, conferences, training courses, etc., need to apply under this category.
- Medical Visa
If you are traveling to the Schengen area for the purposes of undergoing medical treatment, then you can select this category on the application form. To be eligible for this visa, you need to produce your medical reports and an appointment letter from a hospital or doctor in the Schengen area.
- Visa for Visiting Friends and Family
If you intend to travel to the Schengen area for the purposes of visiting your friends or family members staying there, then you should select this category. You need an invitation letter from your friend or family member in the Schengen area for this visa.
- Study Visa
This visa allows you to travel to the Schengen area for the purposes of attending an educational course, such as an internship, language course, etc., as long as the course is shorter than three months in duration. You need a letter of acceptance from a college or educational institution in the Schengen area for this visa.
- Visa for Official Visits
This visa is issued to those traveling to the Schengen territory for official purposes.
What Documents are Needed for a Schengen Visa?
- Visa Application Form
The first step is to fill and submit the Schengen Visa Application Form. All the information filled in the form must be accurate to the best of your knowledge.
- Valid Passport
You must also have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the completion of your intended stay in the Schengen zone. The passport should not be older than 10 years and have at least two blank pages.
You also need to attach two passport sized color photographs with the application form. The photographs must be taken against a light background and have your full face clearly visible in them. It is also recommended to not staple the photographs to the application form.
- Residence Permit
A residence permit or a national ID card is required to prove that you are a legal resident of India.
- Means of Subsistence
To travel to the Schengen zone, you need to prove that you have the funds to support your entire stay in the region. The finances you will require can vary for different Schengen countries, according to the average price of boarding and lodging, as well as the duration and purpose of stay. Documents such as your bank statement and pay slips for the last three months can be used for this purpose.
- Cover Letter
You also need to attach a cover letter with all the details, such as the reason for your visit, the countries you intend to travel to, and the duration spent at each destination, with the form.
- Travel Health Insurance
Travel health insurance with coverage of at least €30,000 is necessary for traveling to the Schengen area. The insurance must cover you in case of any medical emergencies and should be valid throughout the entire Schengen territory.
Where to Apply for Schengen Visa from India
If you plan to visit just one country, then you should apply at the embassy of that nation. If you intend to visit more than one country, apply at the embassy of the country where you will be spending the maximum time. In case you are traveling to multiple countries and spending equal amounts of time in each of them, then you should apply at the embassy of the country that you will be visiting first.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa from India
- The first step in applying for a Schengen visa is to submit the completely filled and signed visa application form, along with all the necessary documents.
- Next, you need to book the appointment for your visa interview and attend it. The visa interview can be scheduled online as well as in person, by visiting to the consulate or embassy in your home country.
- The last step is to pay the visa processing fee. The visa fee can be paid via cash, credit or debit card. However, some embassies do not accept credit card payments. So, check before making a payment.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Schengen Visa?
The embassies generally take about 15 days to process a visa application. But, if further investigation is required for any application, the processing time can extend up to 30 days. Also, the processing time could extend if it is the peak travel season and the embassy is flooded with applications. Therefore, it is recommended to apply at least 4 to 5 weeks before your intended travel date.
What to Expect Upon Arrival in the Schengen Zone?
Once you arrive in the Schengen zone, you will be asked to provide your passport as well as your documents and go through the customs. After that, if your entry is approved, the date of your entry will be stamped on your passport After this, you are free to travel throughout the Schengen area.
For any further information, it is advisable to contact the embassy of your destination country.