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Note: Even though I applied through VFS for Spain visa, VFS is no longer valid for Spain from December 2016.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
- 1 Schengen Visa for Indians Process
- 2 Other Visa posts
- 2.1 Figure out which country’s Embassy You need to apply to for the Schengen Visa:
- 2.2 Book Your Appointment for Schengen Visa:
- 2.3 Get All Your Required Documents Ready for Schengen Visa requirements
- 2.3.1 Write a detailed and convincing cover letter.
- 2.3.2 Follow the Schengen Visa documents checklist to the T.
- 2.3.3 Application Form for Schengen Visa for Indians
- 2.3.4 Schengen Visa Insurance
- 2.3.5 Hotel Accommodation and Travel Itinerary
- 2.3.6 Proof of economic means:
- 2.3.7 Passports:
- 2.3.8 Authorization letter
- 2.4 On The Day of Your Schengen Visa Appointment
- 2.5 Waiting for your Schengen Visa from India
- 2.6 Frequently asked questions about Schengen visa for Indians
- 2.6.1 How many types of Schengen visas are there?
- 2.6.2 Is Schengen visa multiple entry?
- 2.6.3 What is the 90 / 180 day rule?
- 2.6.4 How long is a multiple entry visa?
- 2.6.5 How do you get around the 90 day rule in the Schengen area?
- 2.6.6 What happens if you overstay 90 days in the Schengen zone?
- 2.6.7 How many countries can I visit with the Schengen visa?
- 2.6.8 Which is the easiest country to get Schengen visa from India?
- 2.6.9 Can I travel to UK on Schengen Visa?
- 2.6.10 When did Schengen visa start biometrics?
- 2.6.11 How long is biometric valid for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.12 What biometrics do they collect during the Schengen visa process?
- 2.6.13 How do I book my biometrics appointment?
- 2.6.14 Can you fast track a Schengen visa?
- 2.6.15 How much is the Schengen visa processing time?
- 2.6.16 Why is Schengen visa taking so long?
- 2.6.17 How do I know if my Schengen visa is approved?
- 2.6.18 Does Schengen visa get rejected?
- 2.6.19 Why is Schengen visa rejected?
- 2.6.20 What happens if Schengen visa is rejected?
- 2.6.21 How do I get a refund from VFS if my Schengen visa is rejected?
- 2.6.22 I am a solo women traveler. Why was my Schengen visa rejected?
- 2.6.23 How can I get an appointment for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.24 How long does it take to get an appointment for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.25 How much bank balance is required for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.26 What is the bank statement for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.27 I deposited a large amount in my bank account a few days before my Schengen visa appointment? Will it get rejected?
- 2.6.28 How much does a Schengen visa cost for Indians?
- 2.6.29 Are there any other charges other than the visa charges?
- 2.6.30 How much does a 1 year Schengen visa cost? How much does a 5 year Schengen visa cost?
- 2.6.31 Is Schengen visa valid for Switzerland?
- 2.6.32 Can I enter France with a German Schengen visa?
- 2.6.33 Should my first trip be to the country which issued my Schengen visa?
- 2.6.34 What documents do I need for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.35 How long is passport valid for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.36 Can I use a valid Schengen visa in an expired passport?
- 2.6.37 Is travel insurance a compulsory document for travel to Schengen countries?
- 2.6.38 Which travel insurance is best for Schengen visa from India?
- 2.6.39 Is Schengen travel insurance refundable?
- 2.6.40 Are tickets required for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.41 How do you show proof of accommodation for a Schengen visa?
- 2.6.42 Can I change my hotel after getting Schengen visa?
- 2.6.43 Is Airbnb accepted for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.44 How do I write a cover letter for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.45 Is leave letter mandatory for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.46 I am a married woman but I am traveling solo to Europe. Do I needed a signed affidavit from my spouse?
- 2.6.47 How do I sponsor for a Schengen visa?
- 2.6.48 I am taking my child with me. Do I have to submit financial documents?
- 2.6.49 Can Schengen visa be applied online?
- 2.6.50 What documents are required to prove that I am not a potential immigrant and tend to intend to my home country?
- 2.6.51 Can I go to VFS without appointment for Schengen visa?
- 2.6.52 Can I prepone my Schengen visa appointment?
- 2.6.53 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?
- 2.6.54 Can I go collect my passport from the VFS center post processing?
- 2.6.55 I am unavailable to collect the passport from the courier person. Will that be a problem?
- 2.6.56 I am from Mumbai? Can I apply from Bangalore?
- 2.6.57 Do I need to be vaccinated while applying for a Schengen visa?
- 2.6.58 I am not a resident of Dubai. Can I apply for a Schengen visa from Dubai?
- 2.6.59 Does Schengen visa have an interview?
Schengen Visa for Indians Process
Other Visa posts
Find more posts similar to this and find out all the details about how to apply for a visa as an Indian traveling abroad.
Check out your options for applying for an Australian visitor visa
The US tourist visa is a coveted one and you can find all the details here
Learn all about the eVisa
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.
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.
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:
- Czech Republic
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.
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.
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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