For many people, traveling to Europe is a dream come true. But in order to do so, you need to have a Schengen visa. This can be a daunting task, but we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of applying for a Schengen visa, step by step.
Did you know that apart from the 14.3 million short-stay visas issued by the Schengen consulates, 66,000 uniform visas were issued at the external borders by the Schengen nations in 2018? This is what information provided by the European Commission had to say.
The Schengen agreement has resulted in free movement between the nations bound by the agreement, without lengthy border control procedures and only an EU state sign with the name of the countries present at the border between two nations.
To travel to a Schengen member nation, most people who are not citizens of the EU will need to apply for a Schengen visa. This visa allows you to travel to the 26 countries bound by the Schengen agreement for a duration of up to 90 days within a six-month period.
In this article…
What is a Schengen Visa
A Schengen visa is a visa that allows you to travel freely within the Schengen area. The Schengen area is a group of 26 European countries that have abolished border controls between them. This means that once you have a Schengen visa, you can travel freely throughout the Schengen area without having to go through customs or immigration.
First, let’s find out what are the types of Schengen Visa.
Types of Schengen Visa
Before applying for a Schengen visa, it is important to decide the type of visa most suitable for the nature and purpose of your trip.
- Transit Visa
A transit visa is issued to those who need to travel through a Schengen country for the purposes of changing their means of transportation for an onward journey. This visa is generally valid for up to 24 hours.
- Tourism Visa
If the purpose of your travel to the Schengen territory is leisure and sightseeing, then you can select this category on your visa application form.
- Business Visa
A business visa is suitable for you if you are traveling to the Schengen area for business-related activities, such as conferences, meetings, training courses, etc.
- Medical Visa
A medical visa is issued to those who wish to travel to a Schengen nation for medical treatment. Your medical reports and appointment letter with a doctor or hospital in the Schengen area are required for this visa.
- Visa for Visiting Friends or Family
If the purpose of your travel is to visit your friends or family living in the Schengen area, you can apply under this category. For this, you will need a letter from your relative or friend, inviting you to visit them in a specific country.
- Visa for Official Visits
This visa is issued to those traveling to the Schengen territory for official purposes.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa?
The first step in applying for a Schengen visa is to fill out the visa application form.
Next, you need to submit the filled and signed application form, along with all the necessary documents.
It is important to ensure that all the details in the application form are correct to the best of your knowledge.
After the submission of the application form and the documents, you will need to pay the visa processing fee.
The last step is to schedule and attend a visa interview.
What are the requirements for a Schengen visa?
In order to apply for a Schengen visa, you will need to have a valid passport or travel document, a recent passport-sized photo, and proof of travel insurance. You will also need to show proof of your travel itinerary, as well as proof of financial means to support your stay in the Schengen area. Finally, you will need to submit a completed Schengen visa application form.
How much does a Schengen visa cost?
A Schengen visa costs between 60 and 80 euros, depending on the country of application. The cost is the same for adults and children.
Where can I get a Schengen visa application form?
Schengen visa application forms are available at the website of the country’s embassy or consulate. For example, if you’re applying for a Schengen visa to visit Germany, you can get the application form at the website of the German embassy.
The application process can vary depending on the country, but in general, you’ll need to fill out the form and submit it along with other required documents, such as your passport and proof of travel insurance.
How long does it take to get a Schengen Visa?
The short answer is that it takes about two weeks to get a Schengen visa. However, the actual time frame can vary depending on a number of factors, such as where you apply and how complete your application is.
In general, it is best to apply for a Schengen visa at least two weeks in advance of your trip. This will give you the best chance of having your application approved.
Supporting documents for Schengen Visa
There are a few different types of Schengen visas, and the specific documents you’ll need to submit vary depending on which one you’re applying for.
Generally speaking, though, you’ll need to submit a completed visa application form, a passport-style photo, your passport or other travel documents, proof of travel insurance, and proof of your financial means.
You may also need to submit additional supporting documents, such as a letter of invitation or proof of hotel reservations.
Schengen Visa Requirements for US Residents
To apply for a Schengen Visa as a US resident, you will need to submit the following documents:
- A valid US passport
- A completed Schengen Visa application form
- Two passport-size photos
- Proof of travel insurance
- A flight itinerary
- Proof of financial means (bank statements, credit card statements, etc.)
- An employment letter or other proof of income
- If you are self-employed, you will need to provide proof of business registration
- If you are a student, you will need to provide a letter of enrollment from your school
- If you are retired, you will need to provide proof of income from your retirement fund
Is it easy to get a Schengen visa for the second time?
Schengen visas are valid for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. If you have already used up your 90 days, you will need to apply for a new visa if you want to visit again. The process for applying for a Schengen visa is relatively straightforward, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, make sure you have all the required documents, including a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond your planned trip. You will also need to provide proof of travel insurance and a flight itinerary.
Once you have all of your documents in order, you can submit your application online or in-person at a consulate or embassy.
The processing time for Schengen visa applications is typically about two weeks, so make sure to apply well in advance of your planned trip.
How to schedule Schengen Visa appointment
To get a Schengen visa appointment, you will need to contact the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit and make an appointment.
To schedule a Schengen visa appointment online, visit the website of the embassy or consulate where you will be applying for your visa. On the website, you will need to create an account and log in.
Once you are logged in, you will be able to select an appointment date and time.
Schengen Visa Processing Time for US Residents
Schengen Visa Processing Time for US Residents is typically around 10 days. However, this can vary depending on the country of origin and the time of year. For example, during peak travel times, such as summer and winter holidays, processing times may be longer.
For additional information, it is best to contact the embassy of your destination country.