Do you require a Schengen visa to travel to Europe? Are you looking for the best tips to get a Schengen visa? Then, this post is just for you as it looks at the top tips for obtaining a Schengen Visa with ease. If you have always wanted to visit Europe and to experience the charm of quaint European towns, you need to read on. Millions of people from around the globe apply for a Schengen visa every year in the hopes of getting a chance to visit Europe. Plan your next European getaway by successfully applying for a Schengen visa.
What Is A Schengen Visa?
A Schengen visa is required by many non EU-nationals in order to visit any of the 26 member states of Europe. These include Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Portugal, Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Malta, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Italy, Iceland, Hungary, Greece, Germany, France, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Belgium, and Austria. If you plan on visiting any of these countries, you will need to first obtain a Schengen visa if your passport does not offer visa on arrival for Europe.
Which Visa Type Do You Need?
Tourists wishing to travel to the Schengen region have to apply for a short-term tourist visa. It is available in two types (Type A and Type C). The tourist visa that you receive would either offer a single entry access to the Schengen Area or multiple entry success depending on the type of visa you require. Normally, the multiple entry visa would be valid for a period of up to 3 months. Moreover, if you want to visit more than just one country, you will have to apply to the consulate/ embassy of the country where you want to spend the majority of your time. Furthermore, if you planning to study abroad, then, you can apply for a Schengen visa to visit the country you want to study in before making any huge commitments.
Top 15 Tips For Getting A Schengen Visa
When applying for a Schengen Visa, the following tips will come in handy.
- Be Prepared
The first and most important thing that you need to keep in mind when applying for a Schengen visa is to be prepared. Make sure that you have prepared all the documents, made the hotel bookings, booked the airplane tickets, and decided your itinerary for the period you want to visit Europe. Visa application officers only process visa applications of individuals that have prepared the right documents. Therefore, you need to ensure that you have the following documents.
- Application Form: The application form for Schengen visa is available on the official website. You can either print a hard-copy to fill it up or you can fill it online.
- 2 Passport-Sized Photos: The next thing you need are two passport-sized photos. The photos must be recent and should show your complete face meaning that both your ears and complete face. The passport-sized photos must be against a white background. The picture has to show about 70 to 80 percent of the Applicant’s face. The required size of the photo is 35 mm x 45 mm and should have a matte finish.
- Enclose Past Passport and Previous Visa Copies: Do not forget to include your past passport as well as copies of all previous visas. The passport that you intend to use for traveling to Europe should have at least 2 blank pages.
- Travel Insurance: If you want to travel to Europe, then you need to get travel insurance covering a minimum of €30,000 for the entire Schengen area.
- Cover Letter: You have to write a cover letter which includes your itinerary and states the purpose of your visit.
- Flight Tickets: Copies of your booked flight tickets which clearly show the starting dates, the date of entry into the Schengen area and the date of departure.
- Proof of Accommodation: It is crucial that you show proof of accommodation. This can be done by including your hotel booking, Airbnb booking, or a letter from a family relative clearly stating that you will be staying with them during your stay. You also need to include details of the hotel as well as the person to contact.
- Tickers For Traveling In Europe: If you plan on traveling within the Schengen zone, you will also need to show tickets for traveling in Europe. This could be done by including your airplane tickets or train tickets.
- Proof of Civil Status: This is where you can include your birth certificate as proof of civil status.
- Bank Statement: Although the cost of staying in the Schengen zone varies from country to country. It is important that you have a minimum balance of 3000 Euros over the last 6 months. However, if you do not have such an amount of money in your bank account, then, you can always show a guardian or family member’s bank statement as proof that you will be able to afford your trip to Europe/ If you do so, you will also need to include a letter from your sponsor stating that they are sponsoring your stay and travel. The bank statements have to be attested by your bank and a contact card of the bank head should also be included.
- Employment Contract: If you are an employee of a company, you will also need to enclose your employment contract and a leave letter clearly stating the duration of your trip. Make sure to also include your last 2 salary slips.
- Income Tax Returns: The importance of Income Tax Returns cannot be stressed enough. To ensure that you are an active income tax filer, you have to include your Income Tax Returns for the previous 3 years.
- Letter From University: If you are currently a student and wish to travel to Europe, then, you will need to get a letter from your university clearly stating that you are a student of the university as well as a no objection certificate.
- Pension Statement: Pensioners hoping to visit Europe should include their pension statement to show that they will be able to afford their trip.
- Ties To Home Country
Now that you have an idea about the documents you require when applying for a Schengen visa, you need to prove close ties to your home country. Due to the huge influx of migrants, European countries have made it strict for foreigners to visit. This is why it is crucial that you show close ties to your home country. This can be proven by including documents like your salary slips and employment contract or letter from your university. Moreover, you can also include your personal assets such as your property deed to show that you would return to your home country in order to take care of your property.
- Be Honest
When it comes to applying for a Schengen visa, you have to be honest. There is no way around this requirement. If you are not honest about why you wish to travel to the Schengen zone, the duration of your trip, how you plan on entering the Schengen zone, or if you family ties to Europe, it would lead to a rejection. Moreover, if your application for Schengen visa has ever been rejected in the past, it is a vital that you enclose the letter of rejection and the write the reason why your visa application was rejected. Since biometrics are taken these days, you have to be completely honest.
- Read Carefully
When filling the visa application form, you have to make sure that you read the application form very carefully. If you enter something incorrectly, it would lead to a visa rejection. Hence, read the visa application carefully and if you do not understand something, then, you can always ask for help. Never make the mistake of quickly filling the application form.
- Understand the Application Form
Besides just reading the application form carefully, you have to understand it. Therefore, if you do not understand something or are not sure which document you need to enclose, you should contact the embassy/ consulate for information. Without understand the application form, you will only enter it incorrectly.
- Be Confident
In many cases, the embassy invites applicants to meet with their representatives for a one-on-one interview. It is during this interview that you need to be confident. If you are not confident, then, the visa application officer would feel that there is something that you trying to hide.
- Explain Why You Want To Travel
When you go on a visa application interview, you need to be able to explain why is it that you want to travel to Europe and a specific country. This is where you have to tell them that you are inspired by the culture, language, arts scene, food, and etc.
- Always Smile
It is always a good idea to smile. It will put the application officer at ease and allows them to trust you. Hence, make sure to smile and politely respond to any questions asked by the officer.
- Be Concise
When you fill the application form or meet with the officer during the visa application interview, you need to be concise about everything. This includes the number of documents enclosed as well as how you respond to the officer.
- Start Early
If you plan on flying to Europe in 2 months, it is always a good idea to start out your visa application process early on. Aim to apply for a visa at least 40-50 days in advance. This will help ensure that you get the visa on time before flying. There can be a huge backlog during the holidays.
- Supplemental Documents
You never know when you might end up needing supplemental documents. This is why it is important that you prepare your supplemental documents and take them with you during the visa interview.
- Be Patient
Applying for a Schengen visa requires great patience. There are plenty of application forms that you need to fill and many documents that have to be enclosed with your visa application. Hence, make sure that you are patient throughout the visa application process. It can take some time for your visa application to get processed.
- Dependants In Home Country
Make sure that you mention that you have dependants in your visa application and the visa application cover letter. It shows that you have family at home and will be returning to support them.
- Be Positive
Despite the many hassles that come your way when you apply for a Schengen visa, it is vital that you remain positive. There is no need to get upset when the embassy does not respond on time or when you have to wait in the line just to meet the officer for an interview. Being positive will show the officer that you are a bona fide applicant who is interested in traveling to Europe.
- Do Your Research
Finally, if you want to get a Schengen visa, you need to do your research. This means you have to learn more about the country you plan on visiting to in order to respond to queries from the visa application officer about why you want to travel and which parts of Europe you want to travel to. The more research you have done, the easier it would be for you to go through with the visa application process. You will need to book an appointment a month in advance for applying for the visa in person. Make sure to pay your fees when applying for the visa. Keep in mind that visa fees are non-refundable. Moreover, visa costs vary depending on the Schengen country you plan on staying in for the majority of your time. You can also do some research to find out which Schengen countries have a lower rejection rate and apply for a Schengen visa through them.