If you’re a non-EU national, navigating the Schengen visa application process may be an essential step before traveling to Europe.
This article will provide you with insights into the Schengen visa application process and a checklist of supporting documents.
What Is a Schengen Visa Application?
A Schengen visa application involves meeting specific requirements and submitting the necessary documentation to the embassy of a Schengen Member State.
If you meet all the requirements, the embassy will grant you a Schengen visa.
A Schengen visa is a type of short-stay travel permit. It enables certain non-EU nationals to travel to any of the Schengen Member States for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Currently, the Schengen Area consists of 27 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
These countries have abolished their internal border controls.
This means that border checks only take place on their external borders.
As a non-EU national, it’s important to check whether you need a Schengen visa to travel to Europe.
The EU has published a list of countries whose citizens are required to obtain a Schengen visa prior to traveling to Europe.
You can access the full list here.
Do note that the Schengen visa requirements may vary based on factors such as:
- Your personal situation
- The embassy or consulate you apply to
- Your travel purpose
While each embassy reserves the right to request additional documents, in most cases you are will need to submit:
- Duly completed and signed Schengen visa application form
- Two recently taken photographs of 35X45 mm
- Passport with at least two blank pages. The passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of return
- Round-trip flight reservation
- Proof of accommodation (e.g., hotel reservations, rental agreement, accommodation sponsorship letter)
- Schengen travel insurance covering at least €30,000 for medical expenses and emergency evacuation
- Proof of sufficient financial means (e.g., bank statements for the last 3-6 months or sponsorship letter)
- Cover letter
- Proof of employment, if applicable (e.g., leave permission from the employer, employment contract, NOC letter from employer, pay slips for the last 3-6 months)
- Copies of all documents
- Proof of paid visa fee (80 EUR)
- If you are applying for a Schengen visa for seasonal employment, you must also submit an employment contract and a letter from your employer stating they are responsible for compensation and costs
The average processing time for a Schengen visa application is 15 days.
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