If you are a national of one of the Schengen countries, you can enter the Europe zone without applying for a visa.
However, citizens of certain countries need to get a Schengen Visa to travel through this area. First, you should check if you need this permit and, in that case, which visa type is most suitable for you.
When you are ready to apply, you must make sure that you already have all the documents needed to support your request. If you have further doubts about your Europe Visa application process, in this guide you can find all the information that you need.
If you want to discuss your eligibility or your case with one of our immigration experts, you can get in touch with us today.
Step 1: Determine what Schengen Visa type you need
Depending on the purpose of your travel, you may need a different Schengen Visa type to enter the Area. You can apply for one of the following:
- Airport Transit Visa;
- Tourism Visa;
- Business Visa;
- Study Visa;
- Visa for Medical Reasons;
- Visa for Culture and Sports activities;
- Visa for Visiting your Family or Friends.
A Schengen Visa only allows you a short stay in the area. If you want to travel to one of the Schengen countries to study, work, or settle, you need to apply for a national visa for that specific state.
Step 2: Find out where to submit your Schengen Visa application form
Your country of destination may have a dedicated regulation about visa submissions. Usually, you must file your application at the embassy, consulate or visa centre of your destination country.
If you are going to visit more than one country, you can either:
- Lodge your application to the embassy, consulate or visa centre of the country where you are spending the longer period of your trip;
- If you wish to spend an equal amount of days in each Schengen country, you must submit your application to the country where you are going to travel first.
Step 3: File your Schengen Visa application in time
You can submit your application for a Schengen Visa no more than three months before you wish to depart for EU. You should always consider national holidays and other circumstances that may delay your application.
If you hold a multiple-entry Schengen Visa, you need to apply for a new permit before your authorised stay expires. For this reason, it is usually recommended to submit your application form at least three weeks before your trip.
Travellers who are already in the Schengen Area and wish to extend their stay, can apply for a permit renewal. Nevertheless, this is most likely to be granted only in a few exceptional circumstances.
Step 4: Fill out your Schengen Visa application form
Once you have downloaded the most updated version of the Schengen Visa application, you need to complete it correctly. There is only one single form, which format is valid for every Schengen country.
The form includes the following sections:
- Your personal information;
- Details about the purposes of your trip;
- Written and signed consent from your parents or legal guardians (if you are under the age of 18);
- Information about your family members who are EU or EEA citizens (if applicable).
Step 5: Gather the documents required for Schengen Visa
Along with your Schengen Visa application form, you must submit the following documents:
- Your passport with at least two empty pages. Your travel document should have been issued within the last 10 years. It also needs to be valid for at least 3 months after the date of your return from the Schengen Zone.
- A recent identity photograph that comply with the ICAO standards;
- A confirmation of your paid visa fee. The Schengen Visa cost is €60 per person, but children may pay reduced fees;
- A service fee (if needed).
Step 6: Review the Schengen Visa document checklist
When you apply for a Schengen Visa, you must provide adequate evidence of your travel purposes. If you fail to attach your supporting records, your application will automatically be invalid.
To this end, you can provide the following Schengen Visa documents:
- Relevant documentation detailing the purpose
- Information about your trip, with a detailed itinerary. You must highlight the dates of entry and exit from the Schengen Area, for every country you are going to visit;
- A travel health insurance that covers at least €30,000 and it is valid throughout the entire length of your stay;
- Proof of accommodation. Details about your complete address and phone number in the Schengen Area must be included in your application form;
- Proof of financial means to show that you can support yourself financially during your journey. For example, you can submit bank statements or sponsorship letters from people who wish to finance your trip.
If you under the age of 18, you must provide a letter of consent from your parents or legal guardian, including a copy of their passports. The same applies if you are an adult travelling with dependants.
Do not forget that there may be visa-specific conditions for each visa type. In addition, some of the Schengen countries have further requirements for applicants.
Step 7: Attend your interview
When you submit your Schengen Visa application, you also need to book an appointment for your interview. This usually takes places at a visa consulate or embassy.
At this stage of your application, you will be asked questions about your background and travelling purposes. The information that you provide at this time must comply with the details you included in your form.
The interview usually lasts no longer than 15 minutes, and it allows the consular officers to inquire further about your trip.
Ask IAS for legal advice
When planning your trip to Europe, you may only want to focus on booking and planning your journey. On the other hand, it is essential to fill your Schengen Visa application out correctly. Otherwise, your permit will not be granted, and you will not be able to cross the border.
For this reason, it is recommended to seek expert advice. At IAS, our advisers understand the importance of planning your journey without the stress of worrying about your visa.
One of our lawyers will be happy to help you gather your supporting document and subsequently file a successful application.
Get in touch today to learn more about our bespoke service and let us help you plan your perfect trip to Europe.