Are you planning to travel abroad soon? If yes, then you should start preparing now. The application form for a Schengen visa is quite lengthy and complicated. In order to get a Schengen visa, you will need to fill out a long form. This article will guide you through the steps involved in completing a Schengen visa application form.
The Schengen area is a group of countries in Europe that signed a treaty in 1985 allowing them to share their borders without having to go through border control. There are 26 member states in the Schengen zone, and they include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
To apply for a Schengen Visa, you will need to complete a Schengen visa form. This form has to be filled out correctly and submitted within 90 days from the date of arrival at the Schengen country.
In this article
- What Is The Schengen Agreement?
- The Non-Schengen Countries
- What is a Schengen Visa?
- Categories of Applications for the Schengen Visa
- 1. In Transit.
- 2. For Tourism.
- 3. Visiting Family or Friends.
- 4. On Business.
- 5. For Official Visits.
- 6. For Cultural or Sports Events.
- 7. For Study.
- 8. For Medical Reasons.
- What are the General Requirements for a Schengen Visa?
- How To Complete A Schengen Visa Application Form
- 9 Steps to Apply for Schengen Visa from a non-Schengen country
- #1. Identify the type of Visa you need
- #2. Identify your Schengen country of residence
- #3. Apply at the Right Time
- #4. Book an Appointment with the embassy
- #5. Fill out the Schengen Visa Application Form
- #6. Gather the necessary documents
- #7. Attend the Visa Interview
- #8. Pay the Visa Fee
- #9. Wait for your visa to be approved
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Schengen Agreement?
The Schengen Agreement is a union of 26 countries that decided to wipe away all borders in the interest of their citizens. As a result, citizens of the Schengen area can travel within the zone, without visas.
But apart from these countries that form the Schengen Area, there are other countries that do not require Schengen visas to visit the visa-free zone.
The Non-Schengen Countries
There are more than 86 countries whose citizens cannot enter the Schengen Zone without the Schengen Visa.
For them, there is a uniform Schengen Visa Application Form which they must complete as part of the application process for a Schengen Visa.
What is a Schengen Visa?
A Schengen visa is an authority given to a visitor from a non-Schengen country, to stay in a Schengen country for a period of at most 90 days.
There are different categories of Schengen Visa.
Categories of Applications for the Schengen Visa
Basically, there are 8 categories of people who visit the Schengen zone. In view of this, the Schengen Visa is grouped into these categories:
1. In Transit.
This is for visitors who pass through any of the Schengen countries on their way to other non-Schengen destinations. Some Schengen countries may require the Transit Visa while some may not.
2. For Tourism.
People who are planning to visit the Schengen area for the purpose of tourism, are to indicate this on their application form.
3. Visiting Family or Friends.
For this category of visitors, a letter of invitation is necessary. This invitation letter should come from the family or friend who will be your host during your visit. The letter should be accompanied by the host’s bank statement to prove that he can take care of you.
4. On Business.
Business visas are easily granted because it is beneficial to the Schengen countries. A visa application for the purpose of business is rarely rejected.
5. For Official Visits.
If you are visiting at the invitation of a company or organization in Schengen, indicate this on the visa application. In this case, put down certain information like the name of the organization, address, phone number as well as contact person from the organization.
6. For Cultural or Sports Events.
If you are requesting a visa for this purpose, you stand a good chance if you are part of a performing crew like a sportsperson, singer or actor, or even a writer.
7. For Study.
A visitor is given a study visa if he indicates on his application form, that he intends to visit for the purpose of studying, within the time frame of 90 days.
8. For Medical Reasons.
If you are traveling to Schengen for medical treatment, you should indicate this on your application. You should also indicate the hospital where you expect to receive medical attention, as well as the nature of your ailment.
What are the General Requirements for a Schengen Visa?
If you’re traveling to any of the Schengen countries, take note of these general requirements which are accepted by the 26 Schengen countries.
However, there may be other requirements that are specific to the country you will choose as your point of entry.
a. The Visa Application Form. You can download and fill out this form.
b. Valid Passport. This should not be older than 10 months. The passport should have at least 2 blank pages where the Schengen visa sticker will be affixed.
c. Two Identical Photos. These should not be more than 6 months old. The photo size should be 35x45mm. It should be in color, not black and white.
d. Travel Health Insurance Policy. You will purchase health insurance that is a minimum of €30,000.
e. Flight Reservation. Of course, you should make a round-trip reservation. Your flight dates should fall within the 90 days of your visit.
f. Proof of Accommodation. You must show evidence of where you will stay during your 90 days in Schengen. This could be a hotel reservation or an invitation from a host. It could also be a pre-paid tour. Whichever one it is, proof of accommodation is a general requirement for all Schengen countries.
g. Proof of Finance. You must prove that you will not be a burden to anyone while on your visit. To prove your financial ability, you may present any or all of the following: Your bank statement for the past 3 months; Payslips; Proof of employment etc.
h. Travel Itinerary. Here, you are expected to list your reason for traveling, the places you intend to visit, the duration of your stay, and other personal information.
It is important to note here, that although your visa may be valid for 90 days, it does not necessarily mean that you are permitted to stay in the Schengen area for that duration. The embassy has the right to decide how many days you can stay in the country.
How To Complete A Schengen Visa Application Form
Now that you have the general requirements for a Schengen Visa, it is time to fill out the application form.
You can fill out the Uniform Schengen Visa Application online, or print it out, fill and submit it at the embassy whose country will be your point of entry.
Here are some of the questions that you should expect:
1. Surname. Here, you should provide your surname exactly as it appears on your passport. That is your family name, not your married name or your partner’s name.
2. Surname at birth. Often, your surname is the same as your surname at birth but whether it is different or not, please write it.
3. First Name(s). Remember that your passport is your guide. Put down your first name, middle name, and any other legal names, just as they appear on your passport.
4. Date of Birth. Use this format – dd. mm. yyyy. ie day, month, and year.
5. Place of Birth. Again, write it exactly as it is on your passport.
6. Country of Birth. Write the country where you were born, even if that detail is not in your passport.
7. Current Nationality. If your birth nationality is different from your current nationality, write it and other nationalities you had before. If you have dual citizenship, this is the place to indicate it.
8. Sex. Check the appropriate box.
9. Civil Status. Are you married, single, widowed, in a partnership, divorced, etc?
10. Parental Authority. This is for minors (underage travelers). If you are not the legal guardian, please indicate the guardian’s details.
On the whole, there are about 32 questions, and you must answer each of them. But for the questions which do not apply to your situation, please write N/A (No answer). You see, the trick is not to leave any questions unanswered.
You are, however, required to answer the questions that are marked with asterisks (*). If you do not answer them, your application will not be complete.
9 Steps to Apply for Schengen Visa from a non-Schengen country
Now that you are ready to apply for a Schengen Visa from a non-Schengen Area, the following are important steps to follow:
#1. Identify the type of Visa you need
This is easy. All you need is to answer the question – What am I going to the Schengen zone for? You can choose an answer from any of the 8 categories listed above.
#2. Identify your Schengen country of residence
It is possible that you would like to visit one or more Schengen countries within the 90-day period. Simply identify the Schengen country which will be your point of entry, and where you will most probably spend the most of your stay. Apply to their embassy or consulate. To make it easier for you, make it your country of exit too.
#3. Apply at the Right Time
It is advisable to apply for a Schengen Visa 6 months before you plan to travel, and 1 month before your desired travel date. This is because Schengen embassies require time to process visa applications.
#4. Book an Appointment with the embassy
You can do this online, or in person. Some embassies require you to appear in person while some would permit you to book online. This is important before you can proceed with your application.
#5. Fill out the Schengen Visa Application Form
You can download the Schengen Visa Application Form here. This form is the same, irrespective of the Schengen country you intend to visit. In order to ensure that you do not go through this process more than once, please be careful to give correct and honest information. Basically, you will give information like your personal details, your purpose for visiting the Schengen area, and other details.
#6. Gather the necessary documents
This is a very important part of your visa application process. Certain general documents are required, irrespective of the Schengen country you are visiting. They are:
#7. Attend the Visa Interview
When you get an appointment to attend an interview, please do not be late. At the interview, you will meet a Visa Consular who will receive the above documents.
Although the interview would probably last from 10 to 15 minutes, the Consular will ask you lots of questions ranging from your personal background, your financial situation, and the reason you want to travel to Schengen. Please answer these questions as honestly as possible.
#8. Pay the Visa Fee
The Schengen Visa fee is a non-refundable fee paid at the time of application for the visa. You can pay online or with cash, at the embassy or its representative. Currently, the Schengen visa fee is the equivalent of €80 in your country’s currency.
For children between 6 to 12 years of age, the visa fee is €40. Citizens of Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan pay a slightly lower fee of €45.
#9. Wait for your visa to be approved
Between 2 to 5 weeks, you should get a response from the embassy or its representative. Most likely, you will get the desired response. If your visa application is approved, congratulations! This is the time to plan your trip, to ensure that you have appropriate clothes for the trip ahead, as well as adequate money to spend.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Early Can I Apply For A Schengen Visa?
You can apply for a Schengen visa 6 months or 180 days before you intend to travel. You must apply for a Schengen visa more than 15 days before you intend to travel. This means that once it is 15 days to your intended travel date, it is not advisable to apply.
I made a mistake in my Schengen Visa Online Application. What do I do?
If you make a mistake while filling the application online, simply print out and manually fill another application. Take this along with you and submit it during the appointment, and request an acknowledgment receipt. Ensure that the acknowledgment receipt bears the bar code of the application you filled out manually. The form that matters is actually the one you submit on the appointment day.
Is it possible to overstay in Schengen territory for only 2 hours?
Schengen measures time in days, not in hours. If you are due to leave the country at 11.59 pm on 15th January of a particular year, please do not extend your time to 12.02 am on 16th January of that year. To you, this may just be 3 minutes but to the Schengen system, you have overstayed by a day, not by minutes.
Possibly, Schengen immigration may not bother you about it but the stamp on your passport will always show that you overstayed your welcome.
Can I apply for a Schengen visa again if my application was rejected the first time?
Yes you can. For every time your visa is rejected, there is a reason. Simply find out from the refusal letter that accompanies your rejection. Make your corrections after thoroughly finding out the specific requirements of the country you are applying to. Correct the mistakes you made before, and hope for the best.
What are the common reasons why visa applications to Schengen are rejected?
There are two common reasons for rejection. One is overstay. If you had visited the Schengen area before, and overstayed, it will count against you. As a result, your application could be denied.
Another reason is insufficient funds. If you cannot provide proof of sufficient funds, this could be a reason for rejection.
The Schengen Area makes it easy for applicants to visit. However, bear in mind that the embassy has the right to decide how long your stay will be. If you are authorized to stay for only 10 days, please do not overstay your welcome.
Additionally, be as honest as possible during the application process. This is because your little omission can cost you a Schengen visa.
Remember, the consular officer makes the rule. He has the power to reject your application.