According to statistics published by the European Commission, over 16 million short stay visa applications were received by Schengen consulates all over the world in 2018, says an article on Schengen Visa Info. After Russia and China, India was the top country, with one million tourist visa applications to visit Europe in 2018, representing an almost 17% hike from the previous year.
In this article…
Schengen Visa Application Procedure
Unless you are a citizen of a country that is exempted from requiring a visa to visit countries in the Schengen Zone, you will need to go through the visa application procedure if you wish to travel to any of the 26 member states of this region. The first step in the application process is to fill the Uniform Schengen Visa Application Form or Non Immigrant Electronic Visa (DS-160) Application Form.
You can either fill the form online and take a printout and fill by hand, before submission. Along with submitting the form, you will also need to submit some necessary documents and pay the visa application fee. The fee amount will depend on your travel category and age. Following this, you will need to book an appointment at the consulate of the Schengen nation that you intend to visit for your biometric reading and the visa interview. Here’s a look at what happens during this appointment.
Biometrics – An Important part of the Schengen Visa Interview Process
Every individual, looking to obtain a Schengen visa, is required to appear at the specific Visa Application Center to have their biometric readings taken. This includes fingerprints of all ten fingers and a recent photograph. On the day of the interview, the consular officer will verify these fingerprints.
Keep in mind that fingerprint requirements might change over time and across consulates. To be up to date, follow the instructions given by the staff on the day of the interview. In case you fail to appear for the biometrics, your application will not be accepted.
Questions to Expect at Schengen Visa Interview
At the interview, the consular officer will ask you questions and verify the documents you have submitted. Remember to answer truthfully and with confidence. It is best not to provide more information than asked for or present documents that are not asked for.
The main motive of the interview is to verify the authenticity of your documents and determine whether you qualify for the visa. The most common questions asked during the interview are:
- Why do you want to travel to the particular country?
- Have you been there before?
- Can you plan a shorter trip?
- With whom are you travelling?
- Which places are you planning to travel to?
- Do you have any friends and family members staying there?
- What is your occupation?
- What are your educational qualifications?
- Can you provide the address of friends and family staying there?
- Where are your friends and family working?
- What will you do during their work hours?
- How long have they been staying there and what is their current status in the country?
- Do you too have plans of working there?
- How do you want to assure that you will come back to your home country?
- Have you travelled to any other country before?
Things to Keep in Mind While Answering the Questions
Consider the following things when you start answering:
- Give precise answers and limit your information to exactly what they ask for.
- Be truthful while answering. Consular officers are trained to detect any misrepresentation of information.
- The officer is going to study your answers to figure out if the information is accurate. Make sure, you have a positive attitude towards all questions.
- Try to breathe deeply. This will keep you calm and composed, and let you think clearly, so that you can answer the questions appropriately.
Tips to Answer Schengen Visa Questions
- Do not hesitate to answer any question, no matter how personal or strange it might seem.
- Treat the interview as the regular conversations you have daily. This makes the process light and easy.
- Figure out which questions would require a little detail and for which a simple “Yes” or “No” would suffice.
- Do not show unwillingness to answer or hide any information. This might have a negative impact on their decision to award the visa.
Sample Schengen Visa Questions and Answers
A few common visa interview questions have been listed below with quick tips to answer them with expertise.
What is the purpose of your visit?
Here, the officer only wants to make sure that you are not planning to do anything illegal in the country. Be clear about why you are travelling.
Why do you need a visa for 3 months? Can’t a shorter trip be planned?
Explain to the officer that you wish to see multiple places in the country and visit friends and relatives too. It is useful to bring along your travel itinerary and proof of airline and hotel bookings.
How much will the trip cost you?
Do you have any friends or family living in the country?
Answer honestly and provide details of the people you know in the country. Mention if you intend to meet them.
Are you travelling with anyone?
If yes, provide the officers with the name(s) and relationship(s) you share with the person(s). If not, answer with a simple “No.”
Things to Remember before the Interview
Prepare yourself well before appearing for the interview. If the visa is approved, you will be informed immediately, and you will receive your passport within 3-4 working days. However, under some circumstances, you might have to pick up the passport personally from the consulate.
What to Do if Schengen Visa is Denied
If you visa application is denied, due to an inability to provide sufficient documents or meet the travel standards, you can reapply for the visa. However, in all cases, the visa fee is non-refundable.