How to apply for a Schengen Visa. Step by Step Procedure, Documents required, and Tips on how to successfully obtain a Schengen Visa.
If you are a holder of a third-world nation passport, I'm pretty sure you know that applying for a visa can be one of the most tedious tasks to do, especially with visas for first-nation countries. Aside from the inch-thick documents that we need to collect & submit plus the time it takes for it to be processed, there is also an amount we need to pay and above all these, there is still no guarantee that our application will be approved.
Anyway, in this article, I’ll discuss mainly the different procedures and documents required to obtain a Schengen Visa. First, what is a Schengen Visa? Well basically, a Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area. The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) without border controls between them.
Below are the Schengen States:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
Aside from the Schengen States, you can also use your Schengen visa to visit other countries like:
Albania, Andorra, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey
Fully Completed and Signed Visa Application Form
Cover Letter Stating the purpose of the visit. (On my latest application, a cover letter wasn't required when applying through 'The Netherlands'.)
Original Passport and passport Info Page Copy
Residence Visa Copy (if you are based abroad)
Sole Professional License(if self-employed)
ID Photos (Bring at least 2 copies, though they only needed one when I was at the Visa Application Center)
Roundtrip Flight Ticket Reservation
Proof of Accommodation(hotel bookings, rental agreement, or title deed of sponsor)
Proof of Financial Means (latest 6-months bank statement)
Employment Certificate/ No Objection Certificate if Employed (should contain your salary details)
Day-to-day Itinerary (This wasn't required on my latest application)
Invitation Letter if you’re invited by Someone from the EU
Affidavit of Support if someone else is paying for your expenses
Enrollment Certificate if you’re a student.
A step-by-step guide to getting a Schengen Visa
Basically, the first step in getting a Schengen Visa is to choose your main country of travel or the country in which you’ll be spending the most time if you’re planning to travel to several Schengen States, as this will determine which Visa Application Center you will need to apply to.
For Schengen Visa Applications, it is mostly handled by VFS Global, although there are some countries where the Visa application is handled by the country’s embassy itself, there are also those which are handled by a different agency. So it is important to make sure to decide which country is your main country so you can go to that specific Visa Application Center.
Book an Appointment Online through VFS Global after choosing the country. As mentioned in the first step, you should book an appointment based on your main country. In my case, I applied for a Schengen Visa in the Netherlands. VFS Global handles visa applications for the Netherlands.
I highly suggest that applicants should plan and apply for at least 60-90 days before their intended travel dates to have ample time to fix any problems if there will be any.
On your appointment day at the Visa Application Center, representatives will collect and scan your documents, they will also assess what else may be lacking from all the documents you have submitted. After this, once everything is ok, you will then be called for biometrics collection (fingerprints and photo). Once everything is finished, you will be given a receipt to claim your passport once your application is ready. A tracking number is also written on the receipt for you to be able to track the progress of your application online. You can also opt for an SMS message update with an additional fee.
Processing time takes up to 45 days as of the moment, so I advise that you only contact the Visa Application Center if you haven’t received any results yet after this timeframe. In my case, I received my passport with a Schengen Visa after 8 days.
Schengen Visa Fees vary in each country of Application, Since I applied for The Netherlands through VFS GLOBAL in the UAE, then here is the breakdown of all the fees that I paid in the local currency:
I hope you find this article helpful. For questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below and I will try to answer as soon as I’ll be able to read them.
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