How to apply for a Schengen visa?
Every person planning to enter the Schengen zone, under whatever reason, maybe a subject to the visa system, depending on his or her citizenship.
To get a Schengen visa the application process is mansatory for your freedom of movement in this zone. Therefore, you should be cautious when lodging your Schengen visa application.
The guidelines of a Schengen visa application process:
1. Understand which Schengen visa type you need:
Depending on the reason you plan to enter the Schengen zone, you can apply for one of the following Schengen visa types:
- Transit visa
- Tourism visa
- Visa for Visiting Family or Friends
- Business visa
- Visa for Culture and Sport activities
- Visa for Official Visits
- Study visa
- Visa for Medical Reasons
2. Find out where you need to apply:
This depends by how your target country in Schengen sways visa submission. In your country of residence, you will have to lodge your Schengen visa application at one of the following:
- Their embassy
- One of their consulates
- A visa center to which the ministry of your destination country has delegated visa submission
- The ministry/consulate of another Schengen state to which the ministry of your destination country has delegated visa submission
3. Find the most suitable time to apply:
Because of the time that the Schengen embassies/ministries worldwide need to process a Schengen visa, you have a scheduled time within which you can submit your visa application.
- The earliest you can submit a visa application is 6 months before you start your intended trip.
- The latest you can submit a visa application is not more than 15 working days before you plan to travel.
- The suggested time to submit a visa application is at least 3 weeks before your trip.
4. Book an appointment:
Reserve a Schengen visa appointment to continue with your application. Most of the states allow you to reserve an appointment online. In others you will need to reserve the appointment in person, at the ministry of your destination country.
5. Fill out the visa application form: Download the application form and fill it honestly and correctly.
You will have to fill in the following details on your Schengen visa application form:
- Your personal information,
- Information on your background,
- Your purpose of wanting to enter the Schengen zone,
- Other information regarding your trip.
6. Gather the required documents:
The required records are an essential part of your visa application. Usually, these records are classified into two groups.
The first group is of the basic important documents, which include:
- The visa application form.
- Valid passport.
- Two identical photos.
- Travel insurance policy.
- Proof of accommodation.
- Proof of financial means, etc.
The second group is of the visa exact prerequisites. These records and their specifications are different from one visa type to the other. Additionally, some of the Schengen countries have their extra prerequisites for visa applicants.
7. Attend the visa interview:
On the day of your scheduled appointment, come on time at the place where you will be interviewed. There you will meet a visa diplomat to whom you will be required to hand the collected documents, as required.
Throughout the interview, you will be asked private questions about your movements, the planned trip, and other travel information. Ensure your answers are firm and honest, and that they comply with the details in the application form and the other records. The interview may last 10-15 minutes.
8. Pay the visa fee:
You will be required to pay a non-refundable visa fee when applying for a Schengen visa, for your visa application to be processed.
The member states have harmonized the visa fees; therefore, they are static until decided differently by the Schengen country.
Presently, a Schengen visa fee is €80 per individual. Children and some other specific persons will have to pay reduced fees or no fees at all, depending on their condition. Browse through the list of Schengen visa fees, their exemptions, and reductions to see if you are among any of those categories.
9. Wait for a response to your application:
Wait until you get an answer to your visa application. However, in most cases, it takes less than 15 days for processing a visa. There are times when the visa process takes a much longer time. That duration can be extended from 15 up to 45 days in some states concerning some citizens.