Schengen Visa for Indians (Short term tourism visa, fees, Application)

If you are an Indian citizen, you require a visa to travel to the Schengen Zone. In this post, I explain the process of Schengen visa for Indians

Written by: Soumya Nambiar

Last Updated on:

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links we may make a commission from.

Everyone wants to plan a trip to Europe and what is the thing that you need for a Eurotrip. You need a Schengen visa for Indians.

The biggest hurdle for any Indian (or anyone having an underprivileged passport) going to Europe is obtaining a Schengen Visa. If you are visiting multiple countries during your trip, there will be a confusion on which Embassy/Consulate you should apply to.  I have been to Europe more than 10 times and I have applied for the Schengen visa multiple times. Luckily, my application has never been rejected and that is why I decided to write this post on how to procure a Schengen tourist visa for Indians.

One advantage of the Schengen visa is that you need only one visa to visit 26 countries from the Schengen Area. Countries like United Kingdom, Ireland etc. however are not part of the Schengen Area even though they are part of the European Union and you need a separate visa to visit these countries. You can find the list of Schengen visa countries here.

So I would like to take you through my Schengen Visa for Indians process. The first time to Europe as an adult, I went to SOTC for my Italy trip. However from the next time, I wanted to apply on my own and in this guide, I take you through all the steps on how to apply for Schengen Visa from India. I will be mainly talking about the short term Schengen tourism visa for Indians in this post.

Skip to the bottom for a very detailed FAQ on this topic.

Note: Even though I applied through VFS for Spain visa, VFS is no longer valid for Spain from December 2016. Hence this post will list the general guidelines for Schengen Visa for Indians.

Table Of Contents

Schengen Visa for Indians Process

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Figure out which country’s Embassy You need to apply to for the Schengen Visa:

If you are visiting multiple Schengen countries, then you have to apply to only one country. There is an order to be followed in such scenarios.

Main Destination / Main purpose of travel: In case you are going for purposes other than tourism, then you have to choose the country for which this is intended. This did not apply to me.
Maximum Number of days: Next is to choose the country where you are going to spend the maximum number of days.
Port of Entry: The country where you are entering the Schengen area through.

In my case, I chose Spain. There was a lot of confusion regarding this. Many people suggested Portugal since my port of entry is Lisbon. But then I called both Spanish and Portuguese VFS helpline to clarify. They told me that maximum number of days is valid in my case since I am spending only 5 days in Portugal and 8 days in Spain. So while deciding, always choose this order.

Book Your Appointment for Schengen Visa:

Once you have decided which country you need to apply to, book a Schengen visa appointment for submitting your documents to the respective VFS Application centre.

Please note that VFS is an outsourced partner for many embassies and act as a collection and processing centre for some countries like India, Nepal etc. Register yourself at the link mentioned here and then book an appointment after giving the requisite details. For all Schengen visa countries in Bangalore, the application centre is Prestige Atrium, Shivaji Nagar (Opposite Empire restaurant).

I always prefer taking an appointment in the morning since you can finish the application processes faster and still get in time for office. I chose the 8:40 AM appointment time since I was not sure if I would get in time for the first appointment at 8 AM. For my appointment on 21st April, I scheduled it on 15th April. Ideally, it is better to apply for your Schengen visa at least 4 weeks before your intended date of travel since the minimum processing time for visas is around 15 working days (as stated by the Embassy).

Get All Your Required Documents Ready for Schengen Visa requirements

This was the most stressful part of the entire process for me. But just a few inputs from my side (From a Solo Woman traveller perspective). Please find some of the Schengen visa requirements for Indians below.

Write a detailed and convincing cover letter.

This should include the dates of travel and purpose of travel. If any of the required documents are not available, then explain why it is not available. In my case, since I will be between jobs, I did not have a leave letter and I explained the reason for the same in my cover letter. Also, I am working with multiple hotels this time and I gave the details here. All other details should also be mentioned in the cover letter.

Follow the Schengen Visa documents checklist to the T.

I did not read the checklist thoroughly and I missed the fact that we need to submit the photocopy of all the pages of all your passports. Luckily there is a photocopy machine at the application centre and I took the photocopy there. I believe this is required for Spain and Denmark.

Application Form for Schengen Visa for Indians

In the case of Bangalore, you need to submit only one filled Schengen Visa application form. You can download the Schengen visa application form online and you can find it here. In the case of other application centres, you may have to submit 2-3 photocopies of the application form. Please note that this has to be filled in blue ink or filled online. Also please note that the specifications of photographs vary from country to country. Ensure that you choose the right one.

Schengen Visa Insurance

This is mandatory for all Schengen countries and you should have a minimum coverage of 30,000 Euros. I always choose ICICI Lombard and I never travel without travel insurance. Also, note that this should be applicable for 15 days after your exit from Schengen Area. For e.g. if you are leaving Schengen area on 15th July, then your travel insurance should be valid until 2nd August. Also sworn declaration for travel insurance has to be signed and submitted by the applicant.

Hotel Accommodation and Travel Itinerary

This is mandatory and has to be submitted for all applicants. I will write a detailed post on this later. Ensure that you show proof for all days for accommodation and for internal transport/transfer within Europe. Also, you need to show reserved return flight tickets.

Proof of economic means:

You need to submit 3 months of bank statements. Online bank statements are not accepted and you need to get this from your bank with the proper authorization seal and signature. Rule of thumb is to have a consistent bank balance of Rs 1,00,000 (On an average of 50-75 Euros per day) over the past 3 months. Also, last minute money transfers are looked down on. In addition, 6 months’ salary slips, 3 years Income tax returns, a copy of PAN card also need to be submitted. I had copies of my fixed deposits and my apartment’s sale deed but the agent in charge said it was not required.

Passports:

All your passports will have to be submitted and at least 2 blank pages need to be there in your current passport. In addition, it should be valid for at least 3 months after your stay in the Schengen Area. In the case of Spain, photocopies of all your passports need to be submitted.

Authorization letter

An authorization letter has to be taken in favour of VFS.

On The Day of Your Schengen Visa Appointment

1 Ensure that you arrive on time on the day of your appointment. There is no point coming hours before your appointment time since they let you in only 10 minutes before your appointment time. Seating capacity is limited outside.
2 Get your token number once you are allowed inside the application centre. Switch off all your mobile phones. You will be searched and frisked when you are admitted to the centre. Laptops are not allowed inside and I did not see any storage lockers outside.
3 Wait till your token number flashes on the screen and then proceed to the counter number displayed.
4 They do give glue to stick on your photographs. You can check for them at the counters.
5 The agent in charge will ask for all your documents in order. Only if you submit all your documentation, your application will be accepted. Else you will be asked to return with the required documentation.
6 The agent in charge will then give you a slip to do the payment once he confirms that all documentation is in order and this is the Schengen Visa application fee. I paid Rs 6201 in cash (including service charge, visa charges and tax) at the payment counter. This may vary in your case. In case your visa is rejected, this amount is not refundable.
Note: As of February 1st 2020, visa fees for all Schengen countries have been increased to 80 Euros. 
7 Once this is done, go back to the agent in charge. He will give you the counter number and your application folder for your biometric submission.
8 Wait your turn at the biometric booth. Once you are called, enter the biometric room. In the case of ladies, you need to tie your hair for the photograph. Then submit your fingerprint data. Since I have only 9 fingers, I made this clear to him. He made note of this and made the appropriate observations in the collection form.
9 You are done once this is completed and you can leave.

Waiting for your Schengen Visa from India

Every application is considered as a fresh application. In spite of having so many visas on my passport, I was still worried about the status of my application since I would be between jobs during my trip. I applied on 21st April and I received my passport on 28th April. I opened my passport and there it was, that elusive hard earned multiple entry Schengen visa. The usual question is how long does it take to get a Schengen Visa? It took less than 5 working days for me. However, it will vary from person to person. My Schengen Visa duration was for around 45 days (2016 visa). 

Recommended Read – Spain Travel Guide

Frequently asked questions about Schengen visa for Indians

I am now going to answer most of the queries I have seen over the years when it comes to Schengen Tourist visas.

How many types of Schengen visas are there?

There are currently 3 categories of Schengen Visa:

  • Category A Schengen Visa (Airport Transit): This is a transit visa and is required when you are traveling from a non-Schengen country to another non-Schengen category through a Schengen country. This can only be used for transit and you cannot depart the airport of the Schengen country.
  • Category B Schengen Visa: No longer applicable.
  • Category C Schengen visa: These are short term visas where you intend to stay less than 90 days in a 180 days timeframe. Mostly for tourism, conferences etc and the visa that will be discussed in detail here.
  • Category D Schengen visa: You intend to stay more than 90 days in the Schengen area and then you will need this visa. These are mostly given if you intend to work, study or live in the Schengen area.

Is Schengen visa multiple entry?

There are three types of entry when it comes to the Schengen tourism visas for Indians.

  • Single entry Schengen visa: With this visa, you can only enter the Schengen travel area once. It is usually given for the time frame for which you have applied for.
  • Dual entry Schengen visa: This is very similar to the single entry. However, you can visit the Schengen area twice with this visa.
  • Multi entry Schengen visa: With this visa, you can enter the Schengen zone multiple times. However, you need to be aware of the 90/180 rule.

What is the 90 / 180 day rule?

For all short term Schengen visas, you cannot be in the Schengen zone for more than 90 days in a 180 day time period.

How long is a multiple entry visa?

Again, there are multiple durations ( 6 months to 5 years) when it comes to a multiple entry tourism visa.

  • 6 months multiple entry visa: This is the default duration for all multiple entry visas. Again, you cannot be in the Schengen zone for more than 90 days in a 180 days time period.
  • 1 year multiple entry visa: This visa will grant access to the Schengen zone for 1 year provided that you do not overstay for more than 90 days in a 180 day time period. You can apply for this visa only if you have applied and used 3 Schengen short term visas for the past 2 years.
  • 3 year multiple entry visa: You can apply for this visa only if you have applied and used the 1 year multiple entry visa in the past 2 years. 90/180 rule is still applicable.
  • 5 Year Multiple entry visa: This is granted to people who have applied and used the 2 year multiple entry visa in the past 3 years. You cannot violate the 90/180 day rule either.

How do you get around the 90 day rule in the Schengen area?

As explained before, you cannot stay in the Schengen zone for more than 90 days in a 180 day period for all Category C multiple entry visas. But what you can do is that you can hop over to the non-Schengen countries in Europe like UK, Ireland, Croatia, Montenegro etc. So if you are planning to spend 5 months in Europe, you can spend 3 months in the Schengen zone and the remaining in a non-schengen zone in Europe.

What happens if you overstay 90 days in the Schengen zone?

You will be deported and you also face a risk of getting a ban on entry to the Schengen zone for x number of years. Hence always be careful if you intend to spend more than 90 days in Europe at a stretch.

How many countries can I visit with the Schengen visa?

There are 26 countries in the Schengen zone and you can visit all 26 countries with a single Schengen tourism visa. You do not need separate visas to visit the different countries in the Schengen zone. Additionally, if you have the multiple entry Schengen visa, you can visit some countries in the EU like Croatia, Montenegro etc without an additional visa. This is not applicable for single entry Schengen touristic visas. The Schengen countries are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium,
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Which is the easiest country to get Schengen visa from India?

It really depends on a case to case basis and is dependent on a lot of factors. However, for Indians, some of the easiest countries to get a Schengen visa are Switzerland, Netherlands and France. That does not automatically mean that your visa will be automatically approved. You still need to make a fool proof application.

Can I travel to UK on Schengen Visa?

Uk is not part of the Schengen travel area and hence you need a separate visa to enter the UK. However, note that you can visit many Eastern European as well as Caribbean countries to your Schengen visa.

When did Schengen visa start biometrics?

When I applied for my Italy trip in 2013, there was no procedure to collect biometrics for Schengen tourist visas. However, since November 2015, biometrics are collected for all tourist visas.

How long is biometric valid for Schengen visa?

It is valid for a period of 5 years. Hence you do not have to submit your biometrics every time you apply for a Schengen visa. In my case during my next application, I will need to submit my biometrics again.

What biometrics do they collect during the Schengen visa process?

They take a digital photograph of your face and a scan of all 10 fingers of your hands. Since I have only 9 fingers, I made it clear to the person taking the biometrics and they made the changes accordingly while collecting biometrics.

How do I book my biometrics appointment?

Like I mentioned above, you need to submit only if it is your first application or if it has been 5 years since your last biometrics collection. You do not need to book a separate appointment only for your biometrics. It will be done along with your document submission process and it takes another additional 10-15 mins based on the wait time at the VFS center.

Can you fast track a Schengen visa?

This option has not started yet but hopefully soon we will have priority Schengen visas that can fast track an application. Unfortunately, currently, there is no way you have an option for fast tracking your Schengen visa process. It depends on the embassy and your application. The standard timeline given is 15 working days for all Schengen visas.

How much is the Schengen visa processing time?

The standard time for all Schengen visa applications is 15 working days or 3 weeks. If it is not your first time applying for a Schengen visa, most visas come in 3-5 working days. However, it is advised that you apply for a Schengen visa at least 1.5 months – 2 months before your intended travel date.

Why is Schengen visa taking so long?

There may be various reasons for the delay in processing your Schengen visa. It could be because they require more clarification from your side or they may have to cross check some of the details you have provided. However in most cases if it takes longer than 15 working days, it is because of the huge backlog at the specific embassy. Now since lots of people are traveling to Europe after 2 years, there is a huge wait time to get your Schengen visas. Additionally summer months are also jam packed and the embassy may take more time than usual.

How do I know if my Schengen visa is approved?

You have an option for checking the status of your visa application online. However, in most cases you will know the final outcome only once you receive your passport in hand. Since it shows only that your passport has been dispatched and it doesn’t say anything about your Schengen visa approval/rejection.

Does Schengen visa get rejected?

Every country in the Schengen area has a rejection rate when it comes to visas. It could be because of many reasons and you should figure out what your next steps would be in case of a rejection.

Why is Schengen visa rejected?

Some of the most common reasons for a Schengen visa rejection are:

  • You have a criminal record.
  • You did not provide proof of sufficient funds.
  • You did not submit all your documents.
  • You lied in your Schengen visa application. Please always be honest in your application since they have means of finding out if you try to game the system.
  • You do not have travel history. Like most other western countries, you need to show a good amount of travel history outside your home country. Your chances of rejection are lower if you have visas from other western countries.
  • You do not show clear intent of returning back to your home country. This is one of the main reasons that your Schengen visa is rejected. Especially when you are under the age of 30. In your application, you need to show that you intend to return to your home country. This should be mentioned in your cover letter and it could be reasons like job, aged parents, going back to school etc. Many young girls unfortunately are seen as potential immigrants and hence you should show a clear intention of coming back to your home country after your trip.
  • Your passport is damaged or about to expire.
  • You did not show a proper travel itinerary for your stay in Europe. If it is your first time, then it is advisable to show confirmed return flight tickets as well as proof of accommodation for every single day of your Europe trip.

What happens if Schengen visa is rejected?

You have an option of appealing the decision. But please note that you have only 60 days to make this appeal. And there is no guarantee that your appeal will be approved. It is always advisable to make a fresh application after correcting all your mistakes from your first application.

How do I get a refund from VFS if my Schengen visa is rejected?

Please note that you cannot get a refund from VFS if your visa is rejected. You can only claim for a visa refund if a decision has not been made with regards to your Schengen visa.

I am a solo women traveler. Why was my Schengen visa rejected?

Trust me. It is not very easy to procure a Schengen visa for solo women/men. The below reasons could be why it was rejected:

  • You are less than the age of 30.
  • You do not have a source of income.
  • You are dependent on your family members.
  • You did not show clear intention of returning back to your home country.
  • You are deemed as a potential immigrant.

How can I get an appointment for Schengen visa?

Go to VFS and search for the country from where you are applying for a Schengen visa. You will have to create an account on that country’s visa page. Once the account is created, fill in your details and schedule your appointment online.

How long does it take to get an appointment for Schengen visa?

Again, it varies from country to country. During the non touristic season, you can get an appointment maybe 5 days before hand. However, it is always ideal to keep a buffer of 2-3 weeks to schedule your appointment time. Please note that during the summer season, it may take 1-2 months to get a Schengen visa appointment.

How much bank balance is required for Schengen visa?

The minimum bank balance is around 1 lakh Rs for a 7-10 days. But it is always better to keep a higher bank balance of more than 2 lakhs. This increases your chance for Schengen visa approval. And also remember to keep this balance for at least a period of 3-6 months.

What is the bank statement for Schengen visa?

You need to provide a 3-6 month bank statement from your bank. Like mentioned before, you should have sufficient bank balance and this should be taken 2- 3 days before you visit the VFS for document submission. This should be signed and notarised by a bank employee on all pages. If you are sponsored by a family member, you need to show sufficient bank balance and bank statement for that member of the family.

I deposited a large amount in my bank account a few days before my Schengen visa appointment? Will it get rejected?

You need to explain about the large amount in your cover letter. If it came from one of your other accounts, show proof. Else large amounts of money can raise suspicion.

How much does a Schengen visa cost for Indians?

A Schengen visa costs 80 euros (approx Rs 6500) for Indians applying in India. This was increased from 60 euros to 80 euros in 2020.

It costs 40 euros for a Schengen visa for kids aged between 6 and 12.

It is free for children less than the age of 6. It is also free for people holding diplomatic passports.

Are there any other charges other than the visa charges?

You may have to pay for the courier and SMS services if you decide to opt for them. This needs to be paid at the VFS center. It will be an additional 200-500 rs based on your location. Additionally, premium VFS services that help you with document verification / lounge services are also available at a price. It is usually around Rs 2300 but please note that they may not have these services in all VFS locations.

How much does a 1 year Schengen visa cost? How much does a 5 year Schengen visa cost?

The price is the same and it does not change based on the number of years of validity of the Schengen visa. It costs 80 euros for everyone over the age of 12.

Is Schengen visa valid for Switzerland?

Yes, Switzerland is part of the Schengen treaty even though it is not a member state of the EU (European union).

Can I enter France with a German Schengen visa?

Yes, you can. This is a common question where people believe that they can only enter the Schengen area through the country through which they applied through. You can enter the Schengen country through any of the 26 countries.

Another thing to note is that the order for choosing which country to apply to is always the following:

  • Main Destination / purpose of travel
  • Maximum number of days
  • Port of entry

Should my first trip be to the country which issued my Schengen visa?

Not necessarily and I am going to explain this in detail with an example. There is an order to be followed in case you are visiting multiple Schengen countries:

  • Main Destination / purpose of travel: When you are choosing which Schengen country you should apply from, this is the main criteria. Let us say you are going for a conference or you are visiting family/friends in a particular Schengen country, then that becomes your Main destination.
  • Maximum number of days: So you do not have a main destination, then you should apply to the country where you are planning to spend maximum number of days. So if you have 10 days in Portugal and 12 days in Spain, then you will have apply through Spain.
  • Port of entry: Suppose you are spending equal amount of time in Spain and Portugal and you do not have a main purpose of travel. Then your next criteria will be to apply the visa to the country through which you are entering the Schengen zone. So suppose you are entering through Lisbon, then Portugal is the country you apply from.

What documents do I need for Schengen visa?

These are the documents that are needed when you are applying for a Schengen visa:

  • Your filled application form (You can fill this online and print it or you can print it and fill it by hand)
  • Your appointment confirmation letter
  • Your passport (both current and old passports)
  • Cover letter explaining your travel itinerary and purpose of visit.
  • Travel itinerary on how, when you plan to enter the Schengen zone.
  • Hotel accommodations for the duration of your entire stay.
  • Documents showing financial means: Bank statements, ITRV forms, bank deposit statements. If someone else is sponsoring you, you need to submit their financial documents
  • Leave letter/ NOC from your employer. Salary slips from your employer for the past 3 months.
  • Schengen visa insurance documents
  • Any other documents showing intent to return to India.
  • 2 Photographs (Some countries like Netherlands have different photo specifications. Hence this needs to be carried accordingly.
  • Photocopy of all pages of your current and old passports. This is required in the case of some countries like Spain.

How long is passport valid for Schengen visa?

Your passport should have a maximum validity of 10 years. Also, note that it should be valid for at least 3 months after your trip to the Schengen area gets over. You also need at least two empty pages in your passport.

Can I use a valid Schengen visa in an expired passport?

I have done this and all you need to do is to carry  your old passport along with your new passport. This is asked when you are entering a Schengen country.

Is travel insurance a compulsory document for travel to Schengen countries?

Yes, it is mandatory for all Indians travelling to Schengen countries. This needs to be submitted with the rest of your documents in your Schengen Application pack. You should have a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros and should be applicable for during your trip as well as for 15 days post your exit from the Schengen country.

Which travel insurance is best for Schengen visa from India?

I have been travelling to Europe from India regularly for around 10 years now and I have always used ICICI Lombard. I however have never had the chance to claim for travel insurance till date. It usually costs a few thousand rupees for me depending on the length of my Europe trip.

Is Schengen travel insurance refundable?

This depends on the company that issued you the insurance. If your visa is rejected, it is very difficult to get this amount refundable. In case they cancel for some reason, you may be eligible for some part of insurance fees paid.

Are tickets required for Schengen visa?

Technically, you do not need to show round trip tickets. However, please note that when you are going to submit your documents at a VFS center in India, they will usually ask for some proof of tickets that are either booked or reserved by you. I always end up booking refundable tickets that can be cancelled later because of some unforeseen circumstances or if you just want to change your flights tickets to another date. I use Skyscanner for this to book refundable tickets. Travel agents can also do this for you for a charge.

How do you show proof of accommodation for a Schengen visa?

As much as I don’t like this, as an Indian, I need to show proof of accommodation for every single day I am in the Schengen area. Especially if you are applying for a 6 month multi trip visa. The VFS agent in charge always asks proof of accommodation. This may be difficult when you want to do an impromptu trip. During one of my trips to Europe for 40+ days, I didn’t have proof of accommodation for 4 days since I was staying with a friend. The VFS agent insisted that I send my friend’s work permit details as well as an affidavit from him in Germany saying that I will be staying with him. I found it was easier to book refundable hotel bookings at the last minute using Booking for those 4 days. I did end up cancelling those bookings once I got the Schengen visa and I already had a host.

Can I change my hotel after getting Schengen visa?

Like mentioned before, I always book refundable hotel bookings. I usually change them after getting my Schengen visa. This is usually because I wouldn’t have done proper research before applying for a Schengen visa when it comes to my hotels as well as my itineraries.

Is Airbnb accepted for Schengen visa?

Yes, it is accepted for Schengen visa.

How do I write a cover letter for Schengen visa?

I always say that the key to a successful Schengen visa application is to write a strong cover letter. This cover letter should cover the below points:

  • Dates of your travel
  • Purpose of your travel
  • A short bio of yourself
  • Documents you have attached
  • Show. a strong intent to return back to India.

Find the cover letter I use in all my Schengen visa applications below.

cover letter for Netherlands tourist visa

Is leave letter mandatory for Schengen visa?

If you are a salaried employee, you need a signed and stamped letter from your employer giving you a NOC (no objection certificate) saying that you are traveling during so and so date.

I am a married woman but I am traveling solo to Europe. Do I needed a signed affidavit from my spouse?

Only when your spouse is sponsoring your trip, you need to get a signed affidavit and your spouse’s other financial documents. Don’t listen to the travel agents when they say that you need permission from your partner to travel solo. That is extremely regressive for them to assume that. I have done multiple trips to Europe with my income and I have never taken my spouse’s permission to travel. In case you are taking your kids with you, you will need permission from your spouse for taking them with you.

How do I sponsor for a Schengen visa?

If you are sponsoring for your family (parents/spouse/kids), then you need to fill the application form accordingly and attach a copy of your financial documents along with any other relevant documents. If you are a resident of the Schengen area, then you need to provide those documents (residence permit etc) as well as an additional letter stating that you will be sponsoring them.

I am taking my child with me. Do I have to submit financial documents?

Yes, each application will be different and you will have to submit copies of all financial documents for each application.

Can Schengen visa be applied online?

You will have an option for some countries to fill the application form online. While for other countries, you will have to print the online form and then fill it by hand. The booking of the appointment for Schengen visa is online. However, you need to go to the VFS center to submit your documents. If it is not your first Schengen visa and you need not submit your biometrics again, you can send a travel agent on your behalf.

What documents are required to prove that I am not a potential immigrant and tend to intend to my home country?

There are no set documents to show this. But you can make your Schengen visa application stronger with one of these documents:

  • A concise and clear cover letter. This will always be your best bet. So please put all point here as if the person is reading about you for the first time.
  • Fixed Deposit Statements
  • Mutual Funds, shares and other investments.
  • If you are between jobs, an offer letter from your new job.
  • If you are a freelancer, letters from your clients with due dates in the future.
  • Dependent parents/ spouse/family.
  • Copy of your house’s documents if you own a house.
  • Still studying? Then a copy of your admission certificate from your college/school.

Can I go to VFS without appointment for Schengen visa?

Technically, you can visit the Schengen visa without an appointment only if you belong to one of the below categories:

  • Missed your appointment.
  • Was late for an existing appointment
  • Appointment is already booked for a later date.

Can I prepone my Schengen visa appointment?

Yes, you can prepone the appointment if an earlier date opens up in the scheduling calendar.

I received my Schengen visa from x country. But I don’t want to visit country x and I want to visit country y and z?

Technically note that there is no rule stating that you cannot do that. However, please note that they may ask you at the immigration checkpoint. In this case, you need to show proof that you are visiting the Schengen country x during the same trip. It is upto the immigration officer if you don’t show this proof. Please note that this is particularly true if it is your first visit to Europe. In case you have a multi entry Schengen visa and it is your 2nd or 3rd trip using the same visa, then you don’t have to show this proof. I have done this multiple times on my subsequent visits.

Can I go collect my passport from the VFS center post processing?

You have two options. You can either get it couriered to your address (home or office). Or you can go and collect it from the VFS center. There are timings on when you can go and collect your passport. Please check with the VFS center on what the timings are. This option can be selected if you are in hurry to get your passport back.

I am unavailable to collect the passport from the courier person. Will that be a problem?

Suppose the courier guy comes home when you are not in town or just out. In that case, your family members can collect the courier on your behalf. They may ask to show some form of identification for the person collecting. My mom always collects it for me and she usually show a copy of her Id and my id.

I am from Mumbai? Can I apply from Bangalore?

Yes, you can. This could be because of non-availability of slots in the region you are staying in.

Do I need to be vaccinated while applying for a Schengen visa?

You may need to show vaccination proof while applying for a Schengen visa. Most countries in Europe are accepting Indians if their last vaccination shot was less than 270 days ago.

I am not a resident of Dubai. Can I apply for a Schengen visa from Dubai?

Indians currently only have an option of applying from India if they are not a resident of a third country. You need to be a resident of that country if you need to apply for a Schengen visa.

Does Schengen visa have an interview?

In some cases, you may be asked to attend an interview before your Schengen visa is approved or rejected. It could be because there was something missing in the documents you submitted or because they wanted to verify some of the facts that you have mentioned in your application. This could be over the telephone or it could be in person based on the embassy. Some countries like Hungary can schedule interviews for a majority of its applicants. So just be your confident self and go answer all your interview questions as honestly as possible.

Disclaimer: Writing down my experience is just to help you with your application process. Please do not take this as the only point of reference since this may be different in the case of your application. But if you follow these steps, then getting a Schengen Visa is not that hard.

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Schengen Visa for Indians - Spain

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95 thoughts on “Schengen Visa for Indians (Short term tourism visa, fees, Application)”

  1. It is actually my 4th trip to Europe and 2nd time to the Schengen area. Still it was the first time I was applying on my own. So was naturally tensed if I would miss some documents. Also I will be between jobs during my trip. So was not really sure how they would consider that.
    Thank You.

    Reply
  2. Great information Soumya! I will be applying for Schengen visa for the first time in a few months. I have a quick question for you. How long is the visa valid for? I have two trips planned and I would like to adjust them based on how long my visa would be valid for. Any information on that would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Reply
  3. From what I understand it is valid for 90 days and is given for 6 months. That means if you are doing 2 trips within 6 months, then you cannot stay for more than 90 days in that 6 months time frame. You will however have to apply for a multiple entry visa.

    Reply
  4. Thanks Soumya! My two trips together will not exceed 90 days, but they are 7 months apart. Probably I have to apply for Schengen visa again for my second trip since the first one will be only valid for 6 months.

    Reply
  5. I have completed my Medical school in 2017 and I am Doctor but unemployed bcoz I m preparing for USMLE exams — exams to get admission in USA..I don’t have USA visa and I applied for Germany visitor visa on Thursday..I mentioned in covering letter that my purpose to visit Europe is to strengthen my travel history and smoothen USA visa process…I have just visited Dubai and my Europe travel shall be solo trip…My parents r my sponsors … what r my chances of getting Visa ??

    Reply
    • Hi Dhruv, I really can’t comment on whether you will receive the visa. That is left to the discretion of the consulate.

      Reply
  6. I missed the Visa appointment due to health issues and am planning a trip to France around Christmas time. There won’t be a problem if I reapply for the Visa at that time?

    Reply
  7. Hi,

    I submitted france visa application 5 days ago. I received 2 messages from vfs. One stated my application has been received by france consulate. Another message stated my application is being processed by france embassy. Today I received another message stating my application has been couriered via logistic partner of . Does that mean my passport is dispatched?

    Reply
    • Yes, that means your passport has been dispatched and you should receive in 1-4 working days depending on your location. You will know if a visa has been granted only once you receive the passport.

      Reply
  8. Hi,
    I have query regarding passport validity.
    Here you mentioned that ‘passport should be valid for at least 3 months after your stay in the Schengen Area’ – this is my understanding too, but I have read contradicting statements online. Few of them say that it has to be valid for 3 months from end date after duration of Schengen visa (which is 90 days for short stay visa). This has really confused me, I have 3 months passport validity from the date of departure from the Schengen area but i definitely don’t have 6 months validity and I also don’t have much time left before my trip to renew my passport.
    Would be great if you had any expert advice regarding this from your personal experience or you could point me to the right authority to get this verified? 🙂

    Reply
    • Yes, this is my understanding too. A passport that should be valid for 3 months after your stay in Schengen Area. You can check the VFS and SchengenVisainfo site and they say the same thing as well.

      Reply
      • You passport must have a validity of minimum 6 months at the time of application and be valid for at least 3 months after your stay.

        Eg: Passport valid for 10 years expiring in December 2018, does not have 6 months validity (Balance valid period is only 4 months).

        Eg: Passport valid for 10 years expiring in March 2019, does have a 6 months validity (Balance valid period is 7 months)

        Reply
  9. Hi,
    I applied for a Schengen visa to the Czech republic embassy on 20th August. My Visa is now being processed at the embassy. I have maintained a minimum balance of 30k-40k consistently for the last three months. Most of my money is in fixed deposits. On consulting an agent, the agent told me not to transfer the money from my fixed deposit accounts to my savings account and instead told me to submit all the fixed deposit accounts statements in original duly signed with seal by a bank official along with the savings account statements. I did exactly what he advised me. Now I am quite worried. Are there chances of getting the visa rejected due to the fact that most of my money is in fixed deposits? Please advise.

    Reply
  10. Hey
    I’m 24 year unemployed person and i have only 3 lakhs in my bank account. Should i apply for (Greece) schengen visa. I want to celebrate christmas in greece.

    Reply
    • I can’t answer this question without knowing your circumstances. You seem to have a healthy bank balance. But you need to make your case stronger. Since you are unemployed and you are young, you need to show enough proof that you have every intention of coming back to India. However, note that granting a visa is upto the visa authorities.

      Reply
  11. Hi. I am travelling this November to Hungary through Thomas Cook Travel Agency. I have a job in bangalore and also have all the documents which can be arranged for my visa. What is bothering me is, i had 1.5 lakhs in my account before and my father deposited 2 Lakhs in my account recently. Will this make the consolate go suspicious on my bank account transfer?

    Reply
    • Hi Aradhana, You can always mention in your cover letter that this was transferred by your father for your trip’s expenses and can include documents to show that he is also sponsoring you.

      Reply
  12. Could you pls let me know how long Netherlands schengen visa takes to process for the first time visitor.I have submitted application 12 days back.

    Reply
  13. Hi, I am applying second time for Schengen visa first time visited The Netherlands for ten days I want to apply for lituhana as entry port and exit port Netherlands is it good idea or enrty n exit port should be same? Plz help

    Reply
    • Your exit and entry port don’t have to be the same. In fact for all my trips to Europe, my entry and exit ports have been different.

      Reply
  14. Hi Sowmya,

    I’m planning my first Europe with my husband this month to Italy, swiss, France, Norway. Initially we had submitted all the documents to Norway embassy but they had rejected our application saying proof of stay not clear. But I cross verified and we have given all the documents correctly. Anyway dint want to go through the same embassy again, so we modified our itinerary and applied to France embassy on Oct 1st but not got any word from them yet.I believe we have submitted all the required documents correctly this time as well. Our flight is on 17th October and despite trying to contact the embassy and writing mails stating the need for an update as our travel dates are nearing , I haven’t got any response except our Visa application is in process. No idea what to do!! Do you have any suggestions?

    Reply
  15. Hi Sowmya,

    My husband and I are planning to visit Europe ( Italy, Switzerland, France, Norway) this month and this is our first time. Initially we applied to Norway embassy but it got rejected saying our proof of stay not clear inside Norway even when we had submitted confirmed hotel booking and transport. Anyways we didn’t want to apply to the same embassy, so modified our itinerary a bit and applied to France embassy at Bangalore on Oct 1 but no word yet from them. Our travel date is Oct 17th and despite trying to contact the embassy and writing mails asking about the status as our travel dates are nearing, they are just saying your application is in process. We were so looking forward to this trip but now not sure what to do! Do you have any suggestions?

    Reply
    • My only advice is to wait and hope you get an answer before you are intended to travel. Since it is your first time, they will take more time to process the application. I know this is not the answer you are looking for but Schengen visa for first timers is always tricky. Wish you all the best with your application.

      Reply
  16. Hi Soumya Nambiar
    I have travelled UK four times with three visas and I hav also travelled to Holland and Spain.I have a plan to visit my brother in Canada for how long should I wait to apply as I hav returned in this month after spending 25 days in UK and Europe

    Reply
  17. Hi soumya, traveling to spain this weekend, but have not recieved my Visa. any luck will i be able to recieve it? submitted application with BLS on 10th october. 1st time traveller to Europe.

    Reply
    • Hopefully, it will come by end of this week if all your documents are in proper order. Since you are a first timer, they may at least take 3 working weeks. Best of luck and do keep us updated.

      Reply
  18. Hi! I have submitted my short term business visa application on 22nd Oct for Spain. My intended date of journey is on 10th November. The problem is I am a bit scared since within 22/10 to 10/11 there are only 13 working days….

    I have provide all documents that include Conference invitation from European Commission.

    Also, I am late in applying for the visa because I was in Germany till 17th oct (gave a photocopy of that visa too). Returned to delhi on 18th. 19th, 20th and 21st were holidays.WILL THEY CONSIDER MY CASE?

    Reply
    • Since it is not your first time in Europe, you definitely have a chance to get the visa in a lesser amount of time. But it depends on your luck. All the best and hope you get your visa on time.

      Reply
  19. Hi Soumya,

    I submitted my application for Spain visa at BLS on 9th Nov for a travel on 22nd Dec. My worry is that I have a business trip scheduled on 7th Dec to Romania which I have mentioned in the form. This is not my first time to a Schengen country. You think I’ll be able to make to both the places?

    Reply
  20. I have bank balance near 3 lakh . I m getting salary in my account 20k , some amount transferred from another account and made J form on same amount, ITR’s 2 revised 1 original with 3.4 L . I have hotel job . Salary slips, leave letter ,land paper . Travel history Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam.
    Can I apply France .

    Reply
  21. Hi,
    A great piece of article for a first-time traveller like me. Just wanted to have your opinion on an issue. I applied to VFS on 14th Jan and on 15th Jan I got a mail from the embassy asking me to submit the marriage certificate within the next 10 days (I am travelling with my spouse). The issue here is I have applied for the marriage certificate and yet to receive that from the local govt authorities (you know how things move!).
    So, can a request to the embassy to consider wedding pictures, invitation card etc. hold good as an alternate document? Any opinions on this?

    Reply
  22. Hii…Soumya….I m planning to visit prague on schengen visa. Shud I stay there for work with schengen visa?Is schengen visa used for visit only?

    Reply
  23. Hi im applying for Schengen tourist visa through spain and this would be my second visa . I applied last year and got the visa but couldnt travel because of some reason. Im 23 and unemployed, would it be easier to get the visa again considering i got the tourist visa last year applying as unemployed through spain embassy. Also the parents would be sponsoring the trip. Thank you

    Reply
    • In most cases, if you are truthful about why you couldn’t go last time, they will still give your application a consideration. I am not aware of what your circumstances are and I didn’t understand the exact question. Did you apply through Spain last time too?

      Reply
  24. Dear soumya, you explained it very well. Thanks alot.
    I need some information and suggestions from you.
    I’m going to apply for schengan visa for the first time and I would like to spend 3 months in Rome Italy. I will be staying with a friend and he will show me around. So basically I don’t have to book rooms and internal transportation. As I quit my job 2 years ago and since then I’m traveling, I have no payslip. However his invitation and sponsorship letter will also be included in my visa application. And I have enough bank balance to prove my stability and my property documents. Do you know what is the solution for not getting rejected ?

    Reply
    • It is a bit tricky this way, Ann. One common reason for rejection for first timers is that they can’t show proper proof that they will return back to India. So if your friend sponsors you, then they may think that you have no intention of going back or both of you are in a relationship. Do you have someone else who can sponsor you like your parents? Or any other proof to show sufficient bank balance.

      Reply
  25. We have planned our honeymoon for greece …..I have applied my greece visa on 25th march yet not recieved …. Its a tourist visa …

    Reply
      • My tour is starting from 19th april …19th april is my flight to antalya…. i am going to turkey for 10 nights and then going greece for 6 nights …my all bookings are done ….and secondly i have to also apply for turkey visa… There is less time ….thats why i am worried …

        Reply
  26. My tour is starting from 19th april …19th april is my flight to antalya…. i am going to turkey for 10 nights and then going greece for 6 nights …my all bookings are done ….and secondly i have to also apply for turkey visa… There is less time ….thats why i am worried …

    Reply
  27. I got msg from bludart that Your U.S. visa Shipment vide with Blue Dart AWB # will be delivered by 04-APR-19 but in the website application status site it is shown that your application is still under process ….What does it mean?

    Reply
  28. i have applied my turkey visa on 5th april 2019 , how many days they take to process , i have not applied for e visa ….i have flight on 20th april …will i able to get before 20th april

    Reply
  29. i have applied my turkey visa on 5th april 2019 , how many days they take to process , i have not applied for e visa ….i have flight on 20th april …will i able to get before 20th april

    Reply
  30. I’m planning to travel in September. Does it make sense to apply for Visa in April?
    How much is the validity of visa once approved?

    Reply
    • It is ideal to apply not more than 3 months in advance. Your visa validity can range anywhere from 7 days to 5 years based on your previous travel history.

      Reply
  31. I got turkey visa for 10 days single entry duration (passport validity is from 15-4-2019 to 14-7 -2019) duration of stay is for 10days …i will be entering turkey on 20th april 2019 but i got flight booked on 30th april in the morning for athens from istanbul SAW at 7.40 am …is it ok as per 10 days duration ?

    And i have schengen visa valid from 29th april

    Reply
  32. Hi Soumya
    My first point of entry from India is Barcelona ( Spain ) for 10 days , from there I am visiting Lisbon and Porto for three days , from Porto I reach to Madrid ( Spain ) and I have a return flight from Madrid to India. Do I need Multiple entry visa for Spain ? or I just need normal Spain visa ?Please advise

    Reply
    • Spain visa is valid in your case. It doesn’t have to be multiple entry since you are not leaving the Schengen zone.

      Reply
  33. Hi..
    How are you?
    Sincr last one year i have travelled Europe two times and again i have applied for schenzen visa on 11th this month..
    My question is that the chances of getting visa is easier for me as i have travelled before or not?

    I scare everytime i apply for visa..
    Kindly reply
    Thanks

    Reply
    • It definitely gets better every time for sure. But the final decision lies with the respective consulate. Hopefully, you will get your visa soon.

      Reply
  34. I want to visit Paris after visiting Ireland and Uk, do I need to get bivs Visa as well as schengen Visa and how to apply for both Visa at the same time. Also advise as to which country’s consulate gives schengen visa fast.

    Reply
    • Yes, you need two separate visas. You can apply only one at a time. So make sure you apply well in advance. It is summer now. So all Schengen visas will take time if it is your first time. Else Netherlands is one of the fastest.

      Reply
  35. I have recently gone through the process of applying to receiving schengan visa.
    Sharing the information based on my experience. This includes list of all docs needed at VFS office during verification.
    Links are not allowed in comments.

    Reply
  36. Hi Soumya,
    Thank you for all the info. I’m applying for Schengen visa to Lithuania since I’ll be travelling to 3 countries and Lithuania will be my 20 days stay. Do I need to fill only their Schengen visa application form on the Lithuanian website? They’ve a different application form. So that must be enough?
    Also, about the travel insurance , my travel insurance dates are the same as the entry and exit dates and not with extra 15 days. Dates beyond travel dates compulsory? I’ve never seen it on any checklist. Please clarify. Thank you.

    Reply
    • I just applied via Latvia and the insurance clause was part of the checklist. I had to fill the Latvian application form online as well and then take a printout when I went to submit my documents

      Reply
  37. Hi.
    I am planning on a trip to Spain (first 8days from dec 21 2019) and then London(next 3days) before returning back to India.

    Should I apply for the UK visa first or can I apply for Schengen visa and then the UK visa ? I am asking this query specifically because the applicaiton form has a field
    “Entry permit for the final country of destination, where applicable
    Issued by ………………………………..Valid from …………………………until…………………”

    Reply
  38. Hi, You have mentioned, you dint submit your Leave letter, as you will be between work. did you had the authorisation / permission letter from your employer to work ?
    is it legal to work when you are on a schengen tourist visa (assuming you were on Tourist schengen visa)

    Im in a situation, where my employer is ready to approve my leave provided im available to work on certain dates. but legally, they have a concern, i cant work when on a schengen tourist visa – what documents / authorisation letters should i carry to make it legal to work while on tourist visa.

    Reply
    • I took a few months sabbatical during this trip and hence I was not working. I was between jobs back then.
      I am a little confused by your question. Are you going on a tourism visa and working there? Why don’t you just get a Schengen Business visa?

      Reply
  39. Amazing services are there. thank you so much for the information. it was nice. coming to flight itinerary i can recommend schengen visa flight itinerary also.

    Reply
  40. Very useful information, really thank you so much for providing such information. I am really glad to see this information.

    Reply

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