Sunday, 31 July 2016

How to Get Schengen Visa

European Union
Europe is the best tourist destination in the world. It is on top of every travelers’ bucket list. Travelling around Europe is very convenient and easy. Distances are short and Rail/Road networks are efficient enough to keep you entertained. As you know that 28 Countries in Europe are part of European Union, you can travel between them with just one visa. Though United Kingdom and Ireland don’t come under this common visa. The Schengen visa allows you to travel freely between 25 countries. These countries signed the Schengen Agreement in 1985, which led to abolishing of Border controls within participating Nations. Hence, people could travel freely within these countries. This not only led to increase in employment opportunities, but also increased the flow of tourists to the region. Getting Schengen Visa is as challenging as getting UK visa. There are a few things which you need to keep in mind before applying for Schengen Visa. In this Blog, we will first give you a list of participating countries, and then share tips for getting a Tourist Schengen Visa. Please note information provided in this blog is as per June 2016, and may/may not change by the time you read the Blog.

Schengen Countries
List of Schengen Countries:

1.       Austria
2.       Belgium
3.       Czech Republic
4.       Denmark
5.       Estonia
6.       Finland
7.       France
8.       Germany
9.       Greece
10.   Hungary
11.   Iceland
12.   Italy

13.   Latvia
14.   Lithuania
15.   Luxemburg
16.   Malta
17.   Netherlands
18.   Norway
19.   Poland
20.   Portugal
21.   Slovenia
22.   Slovakia
23.   Spain
24.   Sweden
25.   Liechtenstein

For all other European countries, you need a Visa. Please note that Schengen rules differ from country to country. Hence, please check Schengen rules in advance for your nationality.
Eiffel Tower

Things to make sure before applying for Schengen Visa:

1.   Application Form: Fill the Application form correctly. You can also take the help of your travel agent for the application process. It is advisable to handover the process to the travel agent who is planning your trip. As travel agents apply for several people together, that can help in easy approval. If you are on a group tour, better give it to your travel company.

2.  Documentation:  Documentation usually include Valid Passports, Photographs, Bank Statements, Employee reference letters, Business details, Travel Insurance and duly filled and signed application forms. If you are applying by yourself, you may need to provide Air tickets, Hotel Bookings or affidavit from any friend/relative inviting you for the trip. The biggest thing that the Consulate looks is the purpose of tour and Funds. In case your travel agent is applying on your behalf for a trip organised by them, you don’t need to worry about flight tickets, hotel details etc.

3.   Where to Apply: Sometimes Applications get rejected because people don’t know where to apply. As it includes 25 countries, you can apply in any of them. But the application should be sent to the Embassy of that Country where you are visiting first, or where you are spending most of your time. For example, if you are visiting Germany for 3 days, France for 2 days and Austria for 2 days; you need to apply in the German Embassy. If you are visiting France for 5 days and Germany for 3 days, you need to apply in the French Embassy.

4.   Credentials: When it comes to credentials, two things matter the most. They are the purpose of your trip and Funds for the trip. The Purpose of the trip is proven by your hotel and flight bookings. Funds can be proven by Bank statements, IT returns and salary slips. Please note that you specify the exact date and duration of travel. In many cases, it has been seen that Visa is granted from the day of Departure to few days after the arrival. Recently a family was planning a trip to Austria and France for 10 days. They were granted a Visa for just 15 days from the date of travel. Hence, it’s important to specify the exact date and duration of trip.

These were some important points to be remembered before applying for Schengen Visa. If the above points are taken care of, it is an easy process.

All the Best for your application!

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