I am back to writing about one of my favourite topics and it is on how to obtain a visa if you are an Indian passport holder. This one is a little different since, in this post, I write about how to obtain a Schengen Visa Netherlands version and this is applicable for most nationalities. As many of you know, I am travelling back to Europe next weekend and I will be there for a month this time.
Even though I have multiple Schengen Visas on my passport, I had to start from scratch for my Netherlands Visa. So read on to find out how the process went this time and how long it took to get my Schengen visa in hand.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Schengen Visa Netherlands Edition
- 2 Which Schengen State should you apply to?
- 3 Book A Schengen Visa Appointment
- 4 Documents required for Schengen visa India
- 4.1 Netherlands Visa Application Form for Indian Passport holders
- 4.2 Netherlands Schengen Visa Checklist
- 4.3 Your Travel Document/ Passport (Including old passports) for Netherlands Schengen Visa from India
- 4.4 Schengen Visa Photo
- 4.5 Proof of Travel Documents for Netherlands Visa India
- 4.6 Schengen Visa Insurance
- 4.7 Schengen Visa cost India
- 5 Netherlands Schengen Visa Processing time in India
- 6 Netherlands Visa Tracking
- 7 Actual Schengen visa experience at VFS Netherlands
- 8 Valid Schengen Visa on an Old passport
- 9 Is it easy to get Schengen visa the second time?
- 10 Answering some frequently asked questions about your Schengen Visa:
- 10.0.1 Can Indians get Schengen Visa easily?
- 10.0.2 How much bank balance is required for a Schengen visa for Indians?
- 10.0.3 How much does a Schengen visa cost from India?
- 10.0.4 Which is the easiest country to get Schengen visa from India?
- 10.0.5 Which is the hardest country for Indians to get a Schengen visa?
- 10.0.6 How long is the Schengen Visa valid?
- 10.0.7 How many countries are there under the Schengen treaty?
- 10.0.8 Can you get a 5 year Schengen visa?
- 10.0.9 Do Schengen countries issue an eVisa for Indians?
- 11 Conclusion
Schengen Visa Netherlands Edition
In India, VFS Netherlands handles the Netherlands Visa application on behalf of the Netherlands Embassy in India. You can go submit all your Schengen Visa documents at the respective VFS center in your city. Also, you can delegate this task to someone else if they already have your biometrics data with them (past 5 years). If you have applied for a Schengen Visa after Nov 2015, you need not go to submit your biometrics data again. I am a DIY kind of person and hence I went to submit my documents this time too.
Which Schengen State should you apply to?
This is one query that I keep seeing on most forums. “I am travelling to the Schengen zone and which embassy should I apply to?” I know it can be confusing since there are 26 countries to choose from. This confusion is not there if you are only going to be in one country. But what do you do if you are visiting more than one Schengen country?
Take my instance. I fly into the Netherlands for a conference, before moving to Germany and then east towards few more countries before exiting from a non-Schengen country, Croatia. This is the order to be followed in all cases.
- Main Destination/ Main Purpose of Travel: I am going to the Netherlands for a conference. Hence this time, I had to get a Netherlands visa for Indians. This option takes precedence when you are going for a purpose other than tourism.
- Maximum Number of Days: Lots of people are confused about this. But the next thing to take into consideration if the above is not applicable is that you have to apply to the Schengen state where you are intending to spend the maximum number of days in.
- Port of entry: Last thing to take into consideration is your port of entry.
Book A Schengen Visa Appointment
Once you have figured which embassy to apply to, book your Netherlands visa appointment online at the VFS visa application center. As mentioned before, VFS global handles the collection of documents and biometrics on behalf of the respective Schengen country. You will need to first register an account to log in to this portal.
Once you login, you will see an option to schedule an appointment. Enter the details and on the next screen, you have the option of adding all the applicants. You can add up to 5 applicants for a group appointment. Choose the most convenient slot and date from the calendar once all applicants are added.
I always choose the first or second appointment of the day. As the day progresses, the queue gets longer and your waiting time gets longer as well. To avoid this, I prefer the first appointment of the day. Usually, when you are scheduling, you will see the dates for one to two weeks ahead of the current date.
In the case of Bangalore, I feel we have more open slots and hence you can book the appointment even couple of days prior. But one of my friends who applied from Singapore couldn’t find any free slots for almost a month. So while scheduling your appointment, please keep this in mind.
Tip: Did you know that VFS handles visas for Australia, USA in addition to Europe?
Documents required for Schengen visa India
Most Schengen countries have the same set of requirements when it comes to applying for a Schengen visa. Please find the Netherlands visa requirements for Indians below.
Netherlands Visa Application Form for Indian Passport holders
Firstly, go and download the Netherlands visa application form. Fill this and carry with you a signed copy of this Schengen visa application form.
Netherlands Schengen Visa Checklist
Next, download the checklist of all the documents you need to carry for your appointment. Fill this Netherlands visa checklist as well and carry it with you on the day of your appointment.
Your Travel Document/ Passport (Including old passports) for Netherlands Schengen Visa from India
Yes, you need a passport if you intend to go to the Schengen area from India. I guess it is kind of obvious. Your passport should be valid for at least 3 months after you leave the Schengen area and should have at least two free visa pages. (Sigh. I am out of pages and the first thing I have to do once I am back is to apply for a new passport.)
I did not have to submit my old passports. But please keep them handy with you since sometimes you may have to submit them as well. Also, make sure that you take a photocopy of personal pages of all your passports. Even though the checklist had asked me to take a photocopy of all my visas and stamps (trust me. I have a lot), the VFS guy did not take these copies while collecting the documents and gave them back to me. But this can vary from case to case and hence keep these handy as well.
Your passport can be submitted as proof of legal residence.
Schengen Visa Photo
For Netherlands Tourist visa from India, you need to carry with you two passport size photos. You can find the photo specifications here. This is to meet the Dutch passport requirements. For all my other Schengen visas, a photo was taken at the VFS center itself.
Proof of Travel Documents for Netherlands Visa India
These documents are mandatory for all Indians travelling to the Schengen zone.
Cover letter for Schengen visa Netherlands
I always include a cover letter in my docket. It is usually a one-page word document listing where all I am visiting as well as few details about me and my travel history. I also include details on my purpose of travel. Please find a sample cover letter for Netherlands Visa below
Invite Letter from my conference partners
Since I am going for a conference this time, I did not apply under tourism category this time. I attached an invite letter from the folks conducting the conference and hence the VFS guy collecting my documents told me that I was not eligible for a Schengen tourist visa.
You have to show travel reservations to and from the Schengen zone. They advise you to book refundable tickets or enlist the help of a travel agent to make the reservation on your behalf.
Hotel Reservations for your entire stay
Again, you have to show reservations for every day of your stay in the Schengen zone. I will definitely get back to this soon.
Documents showing financial means
I recently heard that they don’t accept your fixed deposit statements. I am not sure how true this is. But you have to include bank statements for the past 3-6 months. Additionally, if you own a property in your country of residence, include details of the same as well. I had included my Income tax returns for the past 3 years as well.
Leave letter from your employer
If you are employed, then this should be included in your docket as well.
Other Proof of travel documents
One of the biggest concerns that all immigration officials have is that few people don’t return to their country of residence after entering the Schengen zone. This is one of the biggest reasons that they have made the Schengen visa application process so cumbersome for Indians. So when you are submitting your documents, your case becomes stronger if you include documents that show intent to return. This can be showing proof of property or proof that you still studying or an employment contract.
Schengen Visa Insurance
This is mandatory for all Schengen visas. You should take insurance that provides coverage for at least 30,000 Euros for the entire duration of your stay in the Schengen zone. I always take the maximum coverage and my go-to insurance is ICICI Lombard in India. I always do it online and it is usually done in 5 mins.
Schengen Visa cost India
The Schengen Visa Application fee needs to be paid when you are going to submit the documents at the VFS center. The Schengen Visa fee is approximately 80 Euros + VFS service fees. If you are opting for courier service, then you need to pay additional Rs 350. I paid approximately Rs 6700+ according to the exchange rate that day. They accept only cash. Hence don’t forget to withdraw cash before you
Note: As of February 1st 2020, visa fees for all Schengen countries have been increased to 80 Euros.
Netherlands Schengen Visa Processing time in India
You are allowed to apply for a Schengen visa at least 3 months in advance but no later than 15 working days before your intended day of travel. Since this was peak time, I was told to expect that it may take up to 30 calendar days for my visa to come. I hoped that was not the case since I knew I didn’t have that much time. Thankfully, it took only 7 working days for me to get my passport in hand.
I get frequent queries from my readers if they can get Schengen visa in 5 days? They have introduced a new priority visa for Schengen visa for Indians. I am still waiting for more updates to get this clarified. (Update September, 2019)
Netherlands Visa Tracking
You can track your Netherlands Visa status online. However, you will know if your visa has been rejected or approved only once you receive your passport in hand.
Actual Schengen visa experience at VFS Netherlands
This is cross-posted from my FB wall. It was an extremely frustrating experience for me this time and I want you to be aware of what not to do while applying for a Schengen Netherlands visa.
“So, long story short. I had to apply for my next Schengen visa and I was up bright and early in the morning to go submit my documents for my next Schengen visa. Even though I could have sent someone else to do this (They already had my biometrics details from my past experiences), I am a DIY person when it comes to travelling and visas. Also, travel agents are really negative when it comes to my case. If I had listened to them, I would have never gone anywhere in my life.
So, for people who know me know that I am not a morning person. I am up in the morning only when I am travelling or in this instance since I had to go for a visa run. The reason is very simple. The later your appointment is scheduled in the day, you will realize that the wait times get longer, the center will be extremely crowded and you will find more people with bad moods. So, I usually end up scheduling the first or second appointment in the day.
So, I am third in the queue (at 8 in the morning) and I am soon called for my appointment. I give the guy my documents and the conversation goes like this after he takes my documents.
“Him: Madam, your flight is scheduled for the 24th of this month. The processing time is 30 calendar days and the time is not enough.
Me: That is Ok. I will still go ahead with the submission. (I knew about the 30 day processing time since it was already on their website. However, due to personal reasons, I couldn’t apply before yesterday. They told me the same thing the previous two times and the visa came in 4-6 days)
He goes through my documents and he notices that I had not submitted accommodation proof for 4 days.
Him: Where are you staying for 4 days between so and so date?
Me: I am staying with a friend in Germany and I have mentioned the same in the Netherlands visa cover letter. (I had not given booking details for 4 days out of the one month I am there this time)
Him: We can’t accept the documents. You will have to show proof of accommodation for every single day you are in the Schengen area. Please attach an invitation letter from your friend and a copy of his passport. I will give you time till 11 AM to submit the documents.”
I walk out after this conversation, trying to figure out what my next steps are. It must be around 4 AM in Germany and there is no way I can contact either of my friends in Germany. So, I decide on the next logical thing to do. Book a hotel for those 4 days which I can cancel later when I get my visa. There is a printer in the ground floor for which they charge Rs150 for 30 mins web browsing and 4 printouts (the atrocity of taking advantage of people like us).
I go back up and take another token for submitting my documents. My early morning advantage is gone by now. The whole place is crowded by then and I wait patiently for them to call out my token.
This time, another guy goes through my documents. He just flicks through it and he accepts my documents. The only thing he tells me is that some of the countries are not in the Schengen area. I tell him that I have a valid US visa for the same. He asks me to pay my fees and then wait for them to give me the confirmation of the acceptance. I finally walk out at 10:30 AM after all the hungama.
So why am I writing this? As someone who writes so much about visas for Indians and the endless set of problems we face, I believe it is time for some dialogue around it. Unless we start asking for change, how can we expect for things to change? We have started to take such practices as the new normal and that is definitely not done. My friend had warned me that things were different now but I didn’t realise that they would be so adamant about 4 days (out of 30 days).
I now have a community of readers who look to me for advice when it comes to visas. I get daily queries from my readers on how to apply visas for some of the countries I have been to. I know it is confusing and I try to assuage their fears in whatever way I can. If I can’t answer their queries, then I direct them accordingly. I don’t pretend to be an expert but I try to guide them from my experiences.
For my non-Indian friends, let me just tell how difficult the process can be for us. For this application, I had to submit at least 150 pages of documentation (paper wastage and responsible travel, anyone?) in my docket. I had to submit my flight tickets, proof of stay for every single day I am in Europe, insurance coverage, proof of transportation in Europe, my income tax returns, my bank statements, leave letter from my employer, copy of all stamps and visas in all my passports and other documents based on the individual case.
All I am asking is for some consideration in some cases. I know there are people who try to game the system and this is one of the reasons they have been wary of potential immigrants. But then shouldn’t the same rules apply to people from western countries as well? Why is it that they have a privilege when it comes to their westernized passports? I have been to Europe consistently every year for the past 5 years. I have a great travel history with numerous visas and stamps from around the world. I think my passport is enough proof that I am not a potential immigrant. I may sound like a pompous ass but all I am asking is to give me the same privilege as my contemporaries from other countries.
I have had enough experience in this area to think calmly yesterday and come up with an alternative solution. But what about the numerous others who are clueless when it comes to visas? Those people who have to be dependent on travel agents when it comes to such trips. Let us face it. The more rules you put in place, the more you are dissuading people with buying power, especially senior citizens from not visiting your respective country. This means loss of tourism revenue and that just does not make sense to me. There are so many youngsters who have the money but are scared to apply due to fear of rejection. You may ask why we have to go to Europe and not go to some other place where it is easier to obtain a visa. But you shouldn’t take the spotlight from the actual problem and that is one of the reasons I penned this post.
Did I open a can of worms by writing this? The guy was just doing his duty and I don’t have any hard feelings against him though.
“Let us strive to create a dialogue on making the process of application of visas simpler for Indians. That is all I ask of you. “”
Valid Schengen Visa on an Old passport
I had to change my passport in July since I ran out of my pages. So when I was planning my trip to Scandinavia post WTM in London, I had my doubts if I could use my valid Schengen visa which was on my old passport.
I asked this query in multiple forums and I got different answers each time. Some said that I could use my valid visa while some insisted that I had to apply for a new visa. I ended up writing to the Danish embassy and the VFS office who takes care of Danish visas. Both confirmed that I could travel to Denmark with my valid Schengen visa using my old passport.
Post WTM, I ended up flying to Stockholm and flying out of Copenhagen in November 2018. I carried both my new and old passports and I faced no issues during immigration at any of the checkpoints. I just had to mention to the immigration officer that the visa is on the old passport.
Is it easy to get Schengen visa the second time?
Another query I get from my readers is that is if it makes sense applying Schengen visa second time if my visa was rejected the first time. In my experience, as long as you have a solid docket with all the required documents as mentioned above, you will not be faced with rejection the second time. But it is critical that you are honest with your application and have sufficient proof of funds and documents showing intent to return.
Answering some frequently asked questions about your Schengen Visa:
Can Indians get Schengen Visa easily?
Every applicant is treated differently. But we do not have the option of visa on arrival when it comes for Schengen visa. You need to apply before visiting and the entire process can be daunting for some. And every time you apply for a Schengen visa, you need to submit all the documents all over again and your prior travel history to Europe does not matter here. However, your chance for rejection while applying for the second time considerably reduces if you were successful in your first application.
How much bank balance is required for a Schengen visa for Indians?
If it is your first time applying, I would suggest a minimum of Rs 1.5 lakhs (2000$) in your bank account for a period of 3-6 months. I always keep couple of lakhs in my bank account during every Schengen visa application.
How much does a Schengen visa cost from India?
The current cost for visa applications from India is 80 Euros. This translates to approximately Rs 6500 in case you are not going for any additional VFS services.
Which is the easiest country to get Schengen visa from India?
Currently Switzerland is the easiest country from where you can get Schengen visa for Indians. Additionally, some countries like Netherlands and France are also relatively easier than other countries for Indians?
Which is the hardest country for Indians to get a Schengen visa?
From what I have heard from my counterparts, Hungary and Germany can be relatively harder.
How long is the Schengen Visa valid?
You can stay in the Schengen zone for a period of 90 days in a 180 day period with a c type visa. However, note that if it is your first time applying, most countries won’t give you a 6 month multiple trip visa. For my first trip to Europe in adulthood, I was given exactly a 2 week visa for my 10 day trip to Italy.
How many countries are there under the Schengen treaty?
There are currently 26 countries under the Schengen visa system. With a single Schengen visa, you can travel to these 26 countries. Additionally, some countries like Montenegro, Croatia etc that are not in the Schengen zone but are part of Europe allow entry if you have a valid Schengen visa.
Can you get a 5 year Schengen visa?
Yes, you can apply for a 5 year Schengen visa if you have sufficient travel history to Europe. Not all countries provide them though. But some countries like Switzerland and France has this option. Please note that the application fees will be higher and the requirement criteria will also be different. However, note that you cannot overstay the 90 days in 180 days rule.
Do Schengen countries issue an eVisa for Indians?
Unfortunately, we do not have that option for Indians.
I hope you found this post about the Schengen Visa Netherlands edition useful. Please do let me know if you have any queries in the comments below.
Liked it, then pin it.
Read my visas to Europe posts:
Find my recommendations for guide books on the Netherlands.
Guidebooks for Netherlands
Traveling to Netherlands and need more guidance on which books to read? These are our recommendations for you to read before you go.
Recommended: Travel Tips for Netherlands
Looking to book your trip now? Find some of my favorite resources I use while booking my trip. You can also find my travel gear here.
Book Your Flight
I am a Skyscanner fan when it comes to booking international flights. I use Makemytrip and Yatra for domestic flights.
Booking is my go to resource for booking hotel accommodation and I use Airbnb for booking my homestays. I also compare prices on Tripadvisor always.
As an Indian, I prefer ICICILombard and I am always insured when I am traveling outside India. In addition, I have used World Nomads and SafetyWing for some of my trips.
I do go on a lot of day tours especially when I am traveling solo. Depending on convenience, my choices are Viator or Getyourguide.
20 thoughts on “Your Ultimate Guide To Procuring a Schengen Visa from Netherlands in 2023 (Indians)”
That’s a good read. Thank you taking the time out and write the whole process. I’m sure that it will help many including us while planning a trip to Netherlands.
Excellent breakdown Soumya. Timely too; we met a German friend yesterday and chatted about doing the Schengen thingee when we eventually do a proper Europe trip. Still chilling in NZ but maybe down the road. I wish we US folks got more than 3 months. Oh well.
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Hey Soumya… that’s very informative and some how comforting. I had my visa appointment in Bangalore , yesterday and my flight tickets are scheduled for 9th next month. We were also told that its no point applying for visa now as visa processing will take 30-35 days. We are kind of in a lurch whether to book train passes and entries to various attractions… We have already booked hotels for 12 days…
Can you plz share when you submitted your documents and when you got visa?
did u get ur visa and passports in time… u had applied just 2 weeks prior
wow. Truly an amazing blog post. Keep it up.
I am a new Indian expat in Europe and collecting several information about visa stuff. I need to navigate through different countries here somehow was being difficult because of little knowledge. Your post is highly useful for me. Thank you for taking time out to compile such information for people like us.
This is really amazing Soumya. Loved the way you described. Surely will read more on it when plan for Europe .
Thanks Soumya for sharing great information.
Thanks for sharing the information.
Thank You for this post. They are really amazing Post. They are sharing uses in post
Loving the informative knowledge on this web site, you have done an outstanding job on the content.
Great write up.A small querry…..say if iam attending an interview in Netherlands what visa should I opt for and the company has stated on their cover letter that flight tkts and accommodation will be covered. So..is that proof sufficient or should I reserve flight tkts and reserve accommodation as well.
You just have to tick ‘Official visit’ under ‘Main purpose of the journey’ in the application form. It is still Schengen type C. If the company has already mentioned that they will cover both, you don’t have to book again.
“I recently heard that they don’t accept your fixed deposit statements. I am not sure how true this is.”
I was planning to show them my fixed deposit statements. Why would these not work.??
For my friend, they didn’t accept. I guess only fixed deposits won’t work. You need to show money in the bank as well.
Soumya the post is excellent..last week my visa got reject so i was searching and got with this post..same from netherlands embassy..as they given the rehection reason that the purpose and the circumstances of the intented stay are not properly demonstrated..what can i do now to apply again..i want to show you my case if you can guide..which mail or something i can contact..i need immediate response so that next week again i can reapply..if you can help me then…i have change my itinerary again..please can you check…its a request..!!
Please send it to [email protected]
I have replied please check thanks
That is well written!!! You should write more…. I usually don’t read much but I couldn’t stop reading ur story…. amazing 🙂
very informative content. thanks for sharing