- While this should guide through the Schengen-application process fairly well, the following instructions are never 100% final...
- Please post or PM me with any suggestions for improvement
- This is work in progress, and I will adapt this to changes in the Schengen-system as I become aware of them
- If you prefer German, I translated this post >>here<<.
since applying for a "normal" Schengen-visit-visa raises the same questions and problems again and again, I will try to summarise all you need to know here.
If you plan to permanently immigrate to a Schengen-country, this post is not for you
Start and General:
- This visa can be applied for, if you plan to visit the Schengen-area for 90 days or less.
- This post intends to be valid for all Schengen-countries.
- Although requirements should be identical throughout, they are not.
- You will always have to check the details on the website of the Embassy you plan to apply with for local specialities
- This >>Wikipedia-List<< shows the nationalities that (do not) have to apply for a visit-visa.
- If you are the family member of an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, you may not need a visa, regardless of your nationality. See >>here<<.
- At the Embassy of the country you plan to visit, usually in your home country or country of usual residence.
- If you plan to visit multiple Schengen-countries, you have to apply at the Embassy of the country you intend to visit the longest.
- If you plan to visit several countries equally long, you will have to apply at the Embassy of the country you plan to enter first.
- Realistically you can "tweak" this a little bit, if you have a preference for a specific Embassy . Don´t overdo it though. There are cases of refused admission because of "wrong" visas. This definitely requires a precise and consistent "story". If you understand this hint - use it. If you want to ask a question about this: do not even ask the question and do not use this hint
- Find the contact details of the appropriate Embassy.
- Find out how and when you can hand in your application.
- Applications have to be handed in in person.
- You may apply 3 months prior to the planned trip.
- some Embassies accept "walk in" applications, others accept applications according to appointment only.
- If you are stuck with an "appointment only" Embassy, they are "as a rule" obliged to give you an appointment within 2 weeks.Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) wrote:CHAPTER II
Practical modalities for lodging an application
1. Applications shall be lodged no more than three months
before the start of the intended visit. Holders of a multiple-entry
visa may lodge the application before the expiry of the visa
valid for a period of at least six months.
2. Applicants may be required to obtain an appointment for
the lodging of an application. The appointment shall, as a rule,
take place within a period of two weeks from the date when the
appointment was requested.
- If you are stuck with an "appointment only" Embassy, they are "as a rule" obliged to give you an appointment within 2 weeks.
- Your passport, valid for 6 months beyond the intended visit
- Two (2) identical passport-photos, according to the biometric requirements
- fully filled application form
- I wish I could link to "the" application form, however they slightly differ from Embassy to Embassy.
- While in theory they should be interchangeable, it is not advisable to confuse ECOs with forms they are not familiar with.
- Thus, visit the website of the Embassy of the country you plan to visit, and download it from there.
- (travel)-health insurance, covering the period of intended stay
- proof of how you plan to finance the trip OR an invitation
- Some countries have a system for "formal" invitations.
In this case the host has to formally declare that he will pay all costs to the state, should the guest claim anything.
- Some countries have a system for "formal" invitations.
- Everything that proves that your planned trip is indeed "only" a visit.
- bear in mind that the main reason for the visa-requirment is the fear that you might "illegally" stay after your visa expires.
- It´s your onus to dispel this fear.
- You can, but do not have to, achieve this through:
- an informal letter explaining in a few easy sentences why, where and who you plan to visit (always include this, irrespecive of a possible formal invitation as per (5)).
- displaying family ties in your home country (certificates of birth of your children, marriage certificate...)
- work-contract, including attestation of holidays for the time of your trip
- ownership of property
- rental contract for a property
- active bank-accounts (showing movements within the last 3 months)
- excerpt from the commercial register, proving you have/run a company
- I recommend getting as many as you can of the above, and more (whatever you can think of).
- application fee
- usually EUR 60.00, payable in local currency - see local embassies´ website.
- Some countries have arranged reduced fees for their own nationals. The website of the corresponding Embassy will tell.
- You now have your appointment, and you have your papers ready.
- At the Embassy (worst case):
- in spite of appointments, be prepared for long waiting times, possibly outside (rain, sun, cold, hot...).
- For independence take food and water. Mostly there are no shops in Embassy-areas.
- Closed containers (backpacks) may not be admitted into Embassy grounds.
- In most embassies, no-one will be admitted to accompany you!
- A friend can wait outside and hold the belongings you may not take inside with you.
- At the Embassy (best case):
- Of course it´s not always the "worst case". Large embassies (Germany/France) tend to be less flexible/easy than small embassies (Austria, Estonia).
- You might find something about the reputation of "your" Embassy in advance, and prepare accordingly.
- It can all happen without wait and friendly staff.
- Once inside, be prepared for anything between polite and rude handling. Never become rude yourself. It won´t help, and may hamper your chances of getting the visa.
- If you have to attend an interview, just be relaxed and answer everything as asked. It´s not just about your answers, but also about how credible you come across.
- Once the application is handed in, you should usually hear back within 2 weeks.
- Often they are faster, rarely it takes longer.
A visa does not guarantee entry into the destination country A visa barely allows you to present yourself at a "port of entry". It is your onus to convince the immigration-officer that the information provided during the application-process is still valid. As such, take all papers from the application-process with you and be prepared to answer all questions, just as you would in the embassy. In most cases you will just be waved through without questioning, just don´t bet on it.
- Each visa
- has an individual timeframe within which it is valid,
- specifies the amount of days it is valid, and
- specifies how often you can enter the Schengen-area.
- You will have to leave
- on or before the "valid until" date is reached, OR
- your "duration of stay"-days are up (whichever comes first).
- Any part of a day counts as a full day (=calendar days).
- If you arrive shortly before midnight or depart early in the morning, you practically "lose" that day.
- In this case you came to the right forum I advise to search this forum for a similar case. If nothing resembles your scenario, open a new thread.