Schengen Business Visa – 5 Easy Steps to Apply
If you wish to travel to any of the countries in the Schengen area for business purposes, you will need to apply for a Business Schengen visa. The 26 countries included in the Schengen zone are:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
You will need a Business Schengen visa if you are going to Europe for any kind of business. This could include:
- Attending a conference or seminar
- Working on a project at a partner company in Europe
- Facilitating a meeting
- Meeting clients/partners
- Taking part in an event relating to your business
Nationalities that do and do not require a Business Schengen visa
There are certain nationalities that require a Business Schengen visa to enter the Schengen zone for stays up to 90 days:
|Azerbaijan.||Guinea||Papua New Guinea|
|Benin||Indonesia||Sao Tome and Principe|
|Central African republic||Lebanon||Swaziland|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||Mali||Turkey|
|Albania||Holy See (Vatican City State)||Seychelles|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Israel||Singapore|
|Bahamas||Malaysia||St Kitts and Nevis|
|Barbados||Marshall Islands||St Lucia|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Mauritius||St Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Canada||Moldova||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Costa Rica||New Zealand||United Arab Emirates|
|Dominica||Nicaragua||United States of America|
|Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia||Panama Paraguay||Vanuatu|
Please note there are certain conditions regarding these exemptions, so you should check before you start to apply.
Applying for a Business Schengen visa from the United States
If you are a US citizen and are planning to go to Europe for up to 90 days for business purposes, you do not need to apply for a Business Schengen visa. However, you’ll need to apply for one if you are planning a longer stay.
If you are from any of above third countries that require a visa, you are a non-US citizen and permanently live in the US and you wish to conduct business in Europe, regardless of how long you wish to go, you will need to apply for a Business Schengen visa.
There are two types of visas available for business trips to Europe and the one you apply for will depend on the duration of your trip:
- Schengen (short-stay) visa – up to 90 days
- National (long-stay) visa – over 90 days
These visas can be:
- Single entry – permitted to enter once within 90 days
- Double entry – permitted to enter twice within 90 days
- Multiple entry – unlimited entries within 90 days
Most people only require business visas for a short time, so a single entry short-stay Schengen visa may suffice. However, if you are going to be making multiple trips it may be wise to apply for a multiple entry.
To apply for your Business Schengen visa you must apply at the consulate of the country you are visiting. However, if you are going to more than one Schengen country you must apply at the consulate of the country you will be spending the most time.
Each European country has a consulate in the US and you must apply at the right one. Each of them has a jurisdiction that they cover, so you must contact the one that covers the area in which you live. For example, if you live in the states of Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina and you are going to Spain, then you would contact the Spanish consulate in Miami.
The first thing you’ll need to do is to find out which consulate you need to approach.
Some consulates have outsourced the processing of visa applications to third parties, such as VFS Global. The consulate’s website will tell you if this is the case, but you need to follow the exact same steps.
To begin applying for your Business Schengen visa, there are 5 steps to follow:
1) Download or complete your application online
2) Schedule your appointment
3) Get your documents ready
4) The Schengen visa interview
5) Receive your visa
Step 1: Download or complete your application online
You can either complete your Schengen visa application online or download it from the consulate’s website. Most have on-screen instructions in case you need any help. Don’t forget to print the form, and any other documents such as receipt and/or acknowledgement, for signing.
Step 2: Schedule your appointment
In order to schedule your appointment, you need to go to your chosen consulate’s website and use their booking system. First, you’ll need to create an account, if this is your first time using the system. Then, you’ll receive an email to confirm your account. Once you’ve done that, you can use your log in details to make your appointment on a day and time that is suitable for you.
Don’t leave it too late to apply! Consulates aim to process visa applications within 15 days or so, but it could take longer. For example, the Spanish consulate in Los Angeles can take up to 6 weeks to process some business/work visas. Therefore, it’s advisable to apply well in advance of your trip. The earliest you can apply is 90 days prior to your departure date and the latest is around 15 days.
Making appointments with the embassy or visa application center is generally free and can be done yourself. However, If you are running short of time or not sure which consulate to apply to or have no idea on how to get this done yourself then not to worry, we will make the appointment for you for a small service fee!
Step 3: Get your documents ready
When applying for your Business Schengen visa, you’ll need to get the necessary documents together. It’s a good idea to check the consulate’s website for their particular requirements. Many of these documents are the same as if you were applying for any other category of Schengen visa, but there are additional ones that you need for your business visa. Documents include:
1) Application form for the visa – fully complete and signed
3) Proof of legal residence
– Valid for at least 3 months past the end of your trip
– Issued in the last 10 years
– 2 free pages
If your passport does not satisfy these rules, you must apply for a new one before applying for your business visa.
5) Round trip reservation and/or itinerary – to include entry and exit from Schengen area
6) Travel insurance – to cover €30,000 in case of a medical emergency such as illnesses, accidents, and repatriation in the event of death
7) Proof of accommodation – hotel booking, rental agreement, letter of invitation
8) Proof of funds – bank statements and/or sponsorship letter
– Employees: employment contract, leave permission, tax return
– Self-employed: business license, bank statements, tax return
9) Document proving the purpose of stay – cover letter
10) Employer letter – stating the purpose of travel plus full itinerary
11) Invitation letter from a European company
12) Proof of financial means – confirmation that applicant’s travel expenses will be paid by the employer and/or European company
13) Visa Fee
When you are preparing your documents, don’t forget to photocopy everything. This is an important requirement of all of the consulates. If you don’t submit originals as well as the photocopies, this may affect the outcome of your application.
Step 4: The Schengen visa interview
On the day of your appointment, head to the consulate or third-party center to submit your documents. It’s a good idea to arrive early because you have an allotted time and if you miss it, you may have to re-schedule. Your aim is to make a good impression and come across as someone who is serious about wanting a Schengen visa, so dress smartly. In addition, have all the necessary paperwork.
The staff may ask you extra questions if they are unsure of anything you have stated. Simply answer the questions truthfully and with confidence. Common visa interview questions are:
- Have you ever traveled to other European countries before?
- What is your salary?
- How long have to been employed?
- Has your time away been approved by your employer?
- Do you pay income tax?
You may have to provide biometric data which includes fingerprints and photograph if this is your first time applying for a Business Schengen visa.
The current fee for your Business Schengen visa is €60/$70. In some cases, the fee is waived, so you should check your consulate’s website to confirm if this applies to you.
Possible Schengen fee exemptions:
- Researchers traveling to perform scientific research
- Holders of diplomatic, official, or service passports traveling on official business
- A family member of EU/EEA national
- Applicants under 25 years of age attending seminars, conferences, sports, cultural or educational events – organized by non-profit companies
Depending on which visa authority you are applying to, you can usually pay by cash, cashier’s check, money order, or credit/debit card. Before you attend your interview, have a look at their specifications regarding how to pay.
Step 5: Receive your visa
When a decision has been reached about your visa, the consulate or third party will contact you, usually by email, and you will be able to pick it up in person. Some consulates require you to make an appointment for this, but usually, you can just turn up within the allotted hours. You also have the option of having your passport mailed back to you. If you choose this method, you will need to provide a pre-paid, self-addressed envelope to most consulates. Some will just post back by UPS courier.
Hopefully, you’ll find your business Schengen visa in your passport. However, there are times when visas get rejected. Common visa rejection reasons are:
- Employment and/or qualifications do not match the financial situation
- Employer’s letter does not show the company’s name and address
- Missing bank statements
- The business purpose of the trip is not clear
When you attend your interview, it’s important to provide all the necessary documents, including bank statements. Make sure the information you have stated is consistent and provide clear reasons why you are traveling abroad. Also, employer’s letter should be an official letter – stating company name and address.
There are 5 easy steps to applying for your Business Schengen visa.
- Download or complete your application online
- Schedule your appointment
- Get your documents ready
- The Schengen visa interview
- Receive your visa
Follow them to the tee and you’ll soon have your business visa in hand and can look forward to doing business as planned in Europe.
At Visa Reservation, we strive to simplify the visa process by providing free visa consultations, cover letter templates and no objection letter templates for our clients from US, UK, Canada, Philippines, India, China, UAE, Europe, Nigeria and globally. We also offer flight itinerary for visa, travel medical insurance, hotel reservations for visa and much more. To learn more about how we can help you with our visa services, please feel free to contact us today.