Passport to Europe: A Complete Guide To Schengen Visa Application Requirements
The Schengen Area is made up of the following countries:
- Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland
If you are planning on traveling to Europe, you may need a visa to be able to enter and stay in any of the above countries.
In order to get a visa, there is a strict process that you will have to follow.
For example, you will need to follow these steps:
- Step 1 – Complete your application
- Step 2 – Make an Appointment
- Step 3 – Prepare your documents
- Step 4 – Attend your appointment
- Step 5 – Receive your visa
Whilst it is important to follow all the steps of the visa application process, the one that you want to take particular attention to is preparing your documents. Each embassy/consulate will have a list of required documents depending on the type of visa you are applying for.
Before you attend your appointment, you should spend time checking what documents are required and that you have everything together before you submit your application. If you miss anything, this could result in your application being rejected.
Documents Required When Applying for a Schengen Visa
For any short-term Schengen visa, you will be required to provide the following documents as part of your application:
- Visa application form – to be fully completed and signed. You should be able to complete this online, but you will still need to print to sign and submit
- Two photographs – taken within the last 3 months, passport sized and must meet certain specifications
- A valid passport – your passport should be valid for at least 3 months after your departure date from the Schengen Area. It must also have been issued within the last 10 years
- Flight Reservation/Itinerary – you must be in possession of a round-trip flight reservation. Embassies advise not to pay or book a flight until you know the outcome of your visa application, but you can obtain a reservation from visareservation.com
- Travel insurance – you must have valid insurance which covers the whole Schengen territory for a minimum cover of 30,000 Euros. It should also cover medical emergencies caused by illness or accidents and repatriation in case of death
- Proof of accommodation – on your application, you must state where you will be staying. Whether that is in a hotel or you have accommodation with a family or friend, you must prove it by providing a hotel booking or a letter of invitation
- Proof of financial means – you must show bank / credit card statements, sponsorship letter or any other proof that you can afford to sustain yourself whilst in the Schengen Area. There must also be enough funds for your return flight home
- Visa Fee – you may pay the visa fee online or at the visa application center
- Proof of status – you will be required to prove whether you are employed, self-employed, a student, retired or unemployed. Documents such as employment contract, income tax return, no objection letter, proof of enrolment in study programme, pension statement, marriage certificate and spouse’s passport will all be sufficient
- For minors – for those under the age of 18, you will need a birth certificate, parent’s ID and application form signed by parents
The documents mentioned are the minimum requirements. There may be other documents required depending on the type of visa you are applying for. It is very important to check what you need before submitting your application. In addition, the embassy may ask for additional documents to be able to make the decision about whether to grant your visa or not.
Additional Documents for different types of visa
Airport transit visa – in additional to the above documents, you will need proof of the final destination after you have transited through a Schengen country airport
Visiting friends/family visa – you may need proof of address where you are staying, family passports, letter of invitation from your host in the Schengen Area
Tourist visa – you may need to provide details of the countries you are visiting, a tour itinerary, evidence that you are a tourist, proof of return to home country
Business visa – letter of invitation from the business in the Schengen Area, sponsorship letter, permission of leave from home country employer, cover letter proving the purpose of the visit, employer letter stating the purpose of travel plus full itinerary, confirmation that travel expenses will be paid by employer and/or European company
Medical Visa – proof of accommodation in the clinic/hospital, proof that you have the financial means to pay for medical expenses or proof of payment of treatment. In addition, documents to confirm the need of health treatment in Europe such as a letter from the doctor/hospital, confirmation of the treatment/appointment in the EU or letters between the doctor in the home country and the doctor in the Schengen country
Student visa – letter of acceptance showing enrolment, the study programme and length of study. Proof of qualifications. Proof of financial means such as confirmation of any scholarship or sponsorship
Working visa – employment contact, proof of qualifications, proof of language knowledge of the country where you will be working
Visa for Cultural, Sports, Religious events – cover letter explaining why you need to enter the Schengen Area, letter of sponsorship with information on the purpose of your trip and all expenses will be covered. Event information such as entry tickets and what the event is, proof of participation in previous events. Other documents could include, film shooting locations, list of crew names and film permits
If any of your documents are in your own language, you must get these translated to English or the language of the country you are visiting. Translated documents must be certified and officially stamped by an authorized notary
Submitting your Application
When submitting your application, you must attend the appointment on the day and time given to you. If you are late or do not turn up, you may have to reschedule. You should submit your application in person, but you can authorize someone to do this on your behalf. If you do this, you must do the following:
- Have provided your fingerprints within the last 5 years
- Prepare written authorization signed by you and give to the person nominated to submit your application
Visa application documents should be original although some embassies will accept certified copies of some documents such as marriage certificates. It’s best to take copies of everything. That way, you have a record of what you have submitted. Embassy websites will tell you what documents need to be original and what can be accepted as copies
As part of the appointment, you will also provide your fingerprints and have a photo taken. This is known as Biometric Data and is required in order to apply for a visa. This data is stored in the Visa Information System (VIS) and used for future reference by authorities. You will be asked to submit this data if this is your first visa application. If you are applying for a visa and you have provided biometrics in the last 5 years, you will not have to do this
You must ensure that you submit everything that is required for your visa application otherwise it could be rejected. If you fail to provide just one document, the embassy may reject it straight away. However, some embassies may ask you to submit the application again with the forgotten document, but this depends on the embassy and what document it was. Instead of risking this, it’s best to have all the documents together when you submit your application even if you have more than you need.
Tips for Schengen Visa Applications
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 , Book Visa Appointment, Travel Guides, Visa Interview Guides and many more. To learn more about how we can help you with our visa services, please feel free to contact us today.