Europe is one of the most visited and famous destinations among the travellers and if you’re a frequent traveller, you must be aware of Schengen Visa. If not, let me tell you. Schengen Tourist Visa is a stamp on your passport like regular visa but the special thing about this is that this visa doesn’t only give you access to one country, but 26 countries. Yes, You can visit 26 countries and travel between these countries internally with no restrictions.
A Brief About Schengen Visa
Schengen Visa is a short stay visa in which you can stay for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. It is basically a European Union’s Passport free zone which covers most of the European countries and is largest free-travel area in the world.
Travelling between the Countries
The Schengen visa allows you to enter Schengen Area from any of the 26 countries and you can leave from a different country. At the immigration, you may have to show your itinerary or plan of travel between the countries. Even though your travel plans may change during you’re inside the Schengen Area, since there are no internal checks also, you can adjust the plan as per the requirement as long as you leave the Schengen Area before the expiration.
Countries included in Schengen Area
The countries which are included in the Schengen Agreement are listed below. You can get the visa from any consulate among them* and travel across all the countries here freely and without restriction, provided you’ve got the right type of visa.
In addition to the Schengen countries listed above, there are some non-Schengen countries which allow individuals with Schengen visa to enter their country. But most of these countries have a prerequisite that you should have multiple entry visa and you should have used in at least once to enter any Schengen country. You can read more about these non-Schengen countries here.
What is the Schengen Tourist Visa?
As the name suggests, a Schengen Tourism Visa allows you to enter the Schengen countries for the sole purpose of tourism. This is a short-term visa which allows you to explore all the countries and you can stay for a maximum number of 90 days during any 180 day period. If you exceed or complete 90 days, you won’t be allowed inside Schengen for the next 90 days.
Please read more on 90/190 rule.
Schengen Tourist Visa also is known as the Type “C” visa has multiple variants:
Single Entry Visa
Single Entry Visa allows you to enter the Schengen Area only once. If you leave the Schengen Area, you won’t be allowed to enter again on the same visa whether you’ve completed 90 days or not.
Please note that Single Entry does not mean that you can only enter one Schengen county. Once you enter into any Schengen country from this visa, you are free to travel across all 26 countries but as soon as you leave from this “Schengen Zone of 26 countries”, you won’t be allowed to enter again.
You are not allowed to stay for more than 90 days.
Important Note: The maximum validity of the visa given entirely depends on the Embassy. The stronger your visa formalities and proofs provided, the more chances of longer visa.
Double Entry Visa
With same specifications as Single Entry visa with one exception. You are allowed to leave the Schengen Area once and come back. If you left the second time, you won’t be allowed back in.
Multiple Entry Visa
This allows the visa holder to travel in and out of Schengen Area as many times as he wants throughout its validity. The individual is also expected to follow the 90/180 rule throughout. Following this rule is extremely important because if you completed 90 or more days in any 180 day period, you will not be allowed to enter again for at least the next 90 days.
Purpose of Travel: For tourism purposes, you have to select the purpose of travel as ‘Tourism’ in the application form.
Documents Required for Tourist Visa
- A valid Passport with at least three months validity from the date of return from Schengen Area. Passport must have been issued under the last ten years. You may also need an old passport if you have one.
- Visa Application Form must be filled and signed.
- Photos: Two passport-sized similar photos. The photos must have been taken recently, like within the last three months.
- Round trip reservation or Itinerary: It must mention all hotel books, flights, flight numbers, dates, entry, and exit.
- Travel Insurance: You’ll need to have travel insurance for the whole Schengen territory of 30,000 Euros in case of any medical emergency like any illness or accidents.
- Proof of Accommodation: Usually a hotel booking voucher, this ensures that you have a place to stay in Schengen Zones. It can be any one of the following:
- Hotel Booking
- Rental Agreement
- A Letter of Invitation from a host at whose house you’ll be staying
- Proof of Financial Means: This is required to show that you have sufficient funds to stay or travel around and take care of your expenses. It can be any one of the following:
- Bank statement – of last 6 months, not older than 3 days
- Sponsorship Letter – mentioning that you’ll be taking care of the person going to Schengen area financially. This must be also accompanied by the bank statement of the person who is sponsoring the trip.
- Combination of both
- Please note that each Schengen country has its specific requirement about the amount required in the bank.
- Proof of Paid Visa Fee: You’ll have to show the proof of paid visa fees while receiving your processed application. The fee is non-refundable in the case the visa is rejected. As of now, the fee for an Adult is €60, and €35 for a child (6-12 years) and no fees required for children below 6.
Important: The fees have been increased to €80 and €40 for adult and child respectively. The change will come into effect from 02 February 2020. (Source: The Financial Express)
- Schengen Visa Cover Letter: This is a letter written by you explaining why you are going to Schengen Area; your travel plan, and what will you do there.
The above are the mandatory documents required for all types of Schengen Visa. However, there are some additional document requirements based on the individual’s employment status.
Schengen Tourist Visa Fees
The visa fee for Schengen as of now:
|Child (Below 6)||Free|
- The actual fee is in Euros and the conversion amount in USD and INR depends on the current conversion rate, so it may differ.
- The fees may be increased from 60 and 35 to 80 and 40 for adults and children respectively, effective from 02 February 2020.
Application Process of Schengen Visa
The application process for Schengen Visa is similar for all countries, however, for some nationalities, few additional documents may be necessary. Application Process for Schengen Visa is a tedious one as it contains lots of formalities like deciding visa, documentation as per your nationality, the rules of visit, the document scrutinization, and much; that’s why we recommend you to go through any expert visa agency like Blinkvisa which will prepare the required documents for you, apply for visa, and schedule your appointment as well. All you have to do is to go through the interview process.
Note: Currently we’re only processing Schengen Visa from Bangalore; however we provide visa guidance and assistance for others as well.
The basic process for applying the Schengen visa is:
- Understand the type of visa required, purpose, and choose accordingly.
- Choose the correct embassy where you have to apply. Either apply for the Schengen country where you’ll be spending more time or if you’re spending equal time in every country, then select the arriving country’s embassy.
- Make sure you apply for a visa at least 15 working days prior to the intended date of travel. The most earlier you can apply for is three months.
- Book the appointment either via phone, email, online, or in-person depending on the country’s set procedure.
- Download and print two copies of Visa Application Form, and fill both of them and sign at the end.
- Gather all the required documents as per listed on Schengen Visa Documents.
- Attend the interview. This is a crucial part of the process. Make sure you arrive on time and stay relaxed. Answer all questions correctly as per the documents you have and be confident.
- Pay the Visa Fee. The fee for all Schengen countries is synchronized throughout all 26 countries until decided otherwise by Schengen states.
- Wait for the Application revert.
- If Visa gets approved: Make sure you read and understand the visa sticker labels correctly. It will mention the countries you can visit, the duration of the stay, and many more details.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What if my visa gets rejected?
You cannot enter if your visa is not approved, you can either apply again in the neighbouring country’s embassy or you can appeal against the rejection if you believe your visa was mistakenly rejected.
2. What happens if I stay for more than 90 days on a 90-day Tourist Visa?
You cannot enter the Schengen Area again for at least 90 days and maybe fined also.
3. Can I apply for the visa myself without any agent?
Yes, but the process is time consuming, tedious, and may be difficult to understand. One single mistake can get your visa rejected, that’s why we recommend you go through an expert agency to assist you at every point and reduce the chance of visa rejection.
4. How long does it take to get the Schengen Visa?
We recommend at least 15 to 30 days before the expected date of travel.