What is a Schengen Visa: Documents Required, Eligibility Criteria, and Application Process


What is a Schengen Visa: Documents Required, Eligibility Criteria, and Application Process

What is a Schengen Visa?

A Schengen visa refers to a short-stay visa that permits foreign travellers to stay in any Schengen Zone member country. Till now, 26 European countries have signed the Schengen agreement. With this visa, tourists can travel and stay for 90 days in European countries for business and tourism. They do not need to show their passport or get a visa whenever they cross the borders of Schengen. It is the largest free travel area in the whole world. However, there are different Schengen visa categories based on which you can apply it.

What are the Schengen Countries?

Below is the list of the countries that have signed the Schengen agreement:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • The Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa? Steps You Need to Know

Europe is a fairy-tale castle. You will surely be awestruck by its magnificent natural beauty, classic history, Mediterranean sunset, and more. But your dream can only come true once you get a Schengen visa. Yes! You must apply for this special visa to travel to the old continent. If questions like how to get it, whether the process is complicated or why it is necessary, scorching your mind, then don't worry. We'll walk you through each step of the Schengen visa application process.

What are the Types of Schengen Visa?

With a Schengen visa, your Schengen Visa allows travellers to move freely within the Schengen Zone. there are different typesSchengen Visa categories. The type of visa issued has different conditions for travel and stays related to Schengen countries. Indians and other foreign nationals can obtain different visas to travel to Schengen countries.

Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)

The Uniform Schengen Visa permits travellers to travel or reside in the desired territory under the Schengen Zone for a specified period, a maximum of up to 90 days for every six months commencing from the date of entry.

According to the purpose or nature of the trip, there are different types of Schengen Visa under USV:

Category 'A' – It is the Airport Transit Visa. This visa is mandatory for travellers travelling from one non-Schengen country to another through a change of flights at the airport of any Schengen member country. It permits you to cross international borders without entering Schengen Schengen area.  

Category 'B' – It stands for Transit Visa. Under this visa, travellers get permission to transit to any Schengen country from a non-Schengen country via any mode. However, the period of transit cannot exceed more than five days.

Category 'C' – It is a Short Term Visa. Schengen Visa type c allows travellers to reside in any Schengen member country for a fixed duration, depending on the visa's validity. Under Category 'C', three types of visa can be obtained:

  • Single-entry visa: With single entry Schengen Visa, travellers are allowed to enter any Schengen country single time within the stipulated period mentioned in the visa sticker. When the travellers leave the Schengen territory, their visa expires immediately. They could not return on the same visa even if they were left with the permitted number of days to stay.
  • Double-entry visa: It is quite similar to a single-entry visa. However, the basic difference is that it allows travellers to re-visit the Schengen area even once they left it. But, this should not exceed the permitted number of days to stay in the Schengen Zone. Also, the moment they step out of this zone for the second time, their visa gets expire immediately.  
  • Multiple-entry visa: It allows travellers to transit in and out of the Schengen Zone many times without violating the 90/180 rule. It is a long-stay Schengen Visa that permits you to stay there for an extended period. As per your travel needs, you can obtain the following multiple-entry visa:
    • 1-year multiple-entry visa
    • 3-year multiple-entry visa
    • 5-year multiple-entry visa

However, for Schengen Visa Type C, the duration cannot exceed 90 days every six months.

Limited Territorial Validity Visa (LTV)

It is one of the types of Schengen Visa wherein foreign nationals holding it are permitted to commute only within the Schengen country or countries from where they have got the visa. This visa is invalid for other Schengen countries, and holders cannot visit any other member country. This visa issued only in some exceptional cases or emergencies.

National Visa

Categorized as D, the national visa is similar to a single-entry Schengen Visa. It is for individuals who want to move to Schengen countries either for study or work purposes or to be permanent residents of any member country. It is for a certain period and purpose. After completing the duration, they must return to their home country. However, you can obtain it as a long-stay Schengen Visa (multiple-visit visa) that allows travellers to visit the Schengen Zone multiple times and stay there for a long time.

>>Also Read New Schengen Visa Code in 2020

Who Needs Schengen Visa?

  • All the citizens of third countries that have not yet signed the Schengen agreement
  • A person travelling for a holiday
  • Employees of the companies for business purposes

Why is Schengen Visa Necessary?

A Schengen visa is a pre-requisite to visit any of the Schengen countries. Citizens of many countries, including India, must obtain a visa for entering the Schengen area. Thankfully, with a Schengen visa, you need not repeatedly fall into the hitch of those cumbersome visa formalities. So, for a hassle-free European holiday, you have to get it.

Steps for Schengen Visa for Indians: Application Process

Getting a Schengen visa is not easy, but looking to another side of the coin is not that hard. All you require is to follow the 

Travel Insurance: Before applying for the visa, you must get a travel insurance plan with a minimum coverage of €30,000. With this travel insurance, tourists are secure and can meet medical and non-medical expenses in emergencies.

Online Application Form: Once you get travel insurance, your second step is to fill out an application form. You can quickly download the form from the official website or fill it out online. You must put all the details mentioned in the form to avoid rejection.

Cover Letter: The next step is to prepare a cover letter. In this, you have to mention your purpose for the visit and your travel itinerary, which includes your flight tickets and hotel bookings. You have to attach this cover letter along with other necessary documents online.

Other Documents: You must submit other essential documents while completing your visa process application. It includes such as your bank statement showing a minimum balance of €30,000 over the last six months, proof of civil status (birth certificates), employment contract, and ITR for the previous three months.

Schedule an Appointment: Once you complete all the online application formalities, your next step is to schedule an appointment for an interview. It is advisable to schedule an appointment a month before to ensure your smooth travel.

Visa Interview: After collating documents and booking an appointment, you have already won half the battle. Now, you have to appear for a visa interview at an embassy. Don't forget to check the list of the documents you need to carry. Appear right on time and ensure you answer them correctly.

Visa Fee: To get a visa, you must also pay the fee. You need to pay it once officials have checked your documents and the application form. The amount can be paid in cash or by card. This cost is around INR 6000, and that too non-refundable.

Visa Rejection: Be prepared to face visa rejection as well. The right to issue the Schengen visa lies with the Embassy. They have criteria to check your eligibility, documents, and reasons to approve your visa. If they find everything valid, they allow you, if not, they may reject it. In that case, they return all your documents.

What to Do if Your Schengen Visa Application Gets Rejected?

There is a possibility that on the below grounds, your visa application gets rejected by the Embassy or Consulate. 

  • Any past or present criminal actions such as terrorism, child or drug abuse, & addiction
  • Submitted false travel documents
  • No valid purpose for travelling
  • Passport is not in good condition
  • Unsatisfactory travel itinerary
  • Invalid reference letters, birth certificates, marriage certificates, & bank statements
  • Inadequate travel insurance 
  • Lack of proof of accommodation, sponsorship, etc. 

However, you have a chance to re-apply for the visa under Article 32(3) of the Visa Code of the Schengen Agreement. What you need to do is:

  • Write an Appeal Letter for Schengen Visa Refusal on valid grounds along with personal details, the date of the rejection, reasons for rejection, your reasons for rejection was incorrect, and your signature.
  • Attach supporting documents along with the appeal letter
  • Submit a more detailed travel itinerary
  • A current bank statement that shows you have adequate funds 
  • Valid international travel insurance
  • Employment contract and other valid documents 
  • Once you submit all the required documents with an appeal letter to the Embassy, a higher rank officer will again verify your documents. The officials communicate if your visa is accepted. 

Schengen visa is your gateway to a fantastic European trip. So get all the things done in the right way. Opt for travel insurance for Schengen countries offered by Care Travel Insurance with coverage against medical and non-medical emergencies to enjoy your trip hassle-free.

Disclaimer: Plan features, benefits, coverage, and claims underwriting are subject to policy terms and conditions. Kindly refer to the brochure, sales prospectus, and policy documents carefully.


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