According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, 1.4 billion people travelled to another country in 2018. Europe alone welcomes about 713 million tourists, accounting for more than half the international tourism market each year. In 2016, almost 7 million Indians travelled to Europe, making India the 6th largest nation of visitors to the European countries. This number is expected to reach 15 million by 2020.
Top Schengen countries like France attract more than 8 million tourists each year, while Spain attracts over 5 million and Germany over 2 million. To visit these countries, Indian citizens need to apply for a Schengen visa.
Schengen Visa Application Process from India
To obtain permission to visit European nations that are part of the Schengen area, Indians need to first fill the Uniform Schengen Visa Application Form. You can fill it up online, submit and take a print out. Or, download it and fill it by hand and submit a physical form.
After you have gathered all the mandatory documents required to complete the visa application process and paid the visa fee, schedule an appointment with the consulate of the country you will be travelling to. Appear for the visa interview in time and bring all the important documents with you.
It usually takes about 10-15 days to process the visa after the interview. However, a lot could depend on whether you’ve submitted all the necessary documents and how busy that embassy is at that point in time.
How to Track Schengen Visa Application Status from India
After this, all you need to do is wait for your visa to be approved. The good news is that you can track the status of your visa application online. The visa center where you submitted your application is supposed to provide you information about your application.
You can also check the status online, using your passport number. Here are the steps to check online:
- Visit the official website of the country you are visiting
- Locate where the option of visa application status is
- Provide the passport number and date of birth
- After this, enter the captcha code properly and click on “Submit”
- You will be taken to the page that displays the current status
All Schengen countries have the same application process for the Uniform Schengen Visa Application Form. Let me explain with an example. Suppose you are traveling to France. You need to determine where you have submitted the application. Depending on this information, you can track your visa in the following ways:
- If you have applied at a French Embassy or Consulate, provide your reference number and date of birth here.
- If you have applied to CAPAGO Visa Application Center, enter your reference number of your file and your email address here.
- If you have applied at the VFS Visa Application Center, enter your reference number and last name here.
- Lastly, if you application was submitted at TLS Visa Application Center, login to your TLS account to check the status.
Once your application has been successfully processed, you will be contacted to collect your passport from the visa application center or get it delivered at your address.
Validity of Schengen Visa
A short stay visa will allow you to stay for up to 90 days at a stretch within a period of 6 months. However, if you want to stay longer than that, you will need to apply for a long stay national visa for the country you want to stay in.