Europe is one of the coolest destinations of the world & visiting this place is dream of every person who is not from Europe. Indian citizen requires tourist visa to visit the much beautiful European countries . This post is for all those people who are willing to travel to Europe & want to know about Schengen visa. Here is the guide to Schengen Visa For Indians.
Like China, Europe also required a stamped visa before entering the place. For tourism purposed one is required to apply for tourist visa, the validity of tourist visa can be maximum of 90 days. To get stamped few steps must be followed.
List of Requirements:
Schengen visa needs to be applied for the place where one is going to spend most number of nights. In my case, it was Netherland as I planned to stay for 5 nights in Netherland.
It is mandatory for a tourist to submit return flight tickets at the time of submission of documents. The best place to find the cheapest flight is through skyscanner.com. I have always used this website to find the cheapest flights. In my case, my inbound flight in Europe was to Amsterdam & outbound flight was from Barcelona & the cost of the flights was as good as a to & fro flight from same destination or may be marginally higher. I preferred to keep my inbound & outbound flight from different destination so that I can explore as much as I can. Few other website for booking flights are Momondo & Jetradar.
A confirmed booking in your name for each night till the time you are in EU is must. I know it is difficult to predict exact duration at a place. However, there are many sites which allow you to make a confirmed booking with minimum or no cancellation fees for the certain duration. This is best when the itinerary is not fixed. The best way to make booking is through booking.com. If one is looking for hotel comparison website one can surely try Agoda. I prefer booking.com than the other portals as I feel, this is the most transparent portal at the present moment. Their interface is simple & easy to eyes. I rely on booking.com for booking hostels. I mainly chose the hostels which are cheap.
Travel insurance is mandatory documents that need to be submitted during the submission of application. You can either buy travel insurance online or through some agents. Note that travel insurance shall be of 30,000 Euros which will cost around Rs 1,300 or Rs 1,400.
Each country in EU has specific guidelines for the minimum amount required for a day in Europe. Usually, it varies from 20 Euros to 50 or 60 Euros per day depending on the country you are visiting. Following documents can be used for proving sufficient amount.
Bank account statement having a balance of at least 2 to 3 times the minimum amount required for the whole trip.
Credit card statement.
Letter from employer (Leave approval on a letter head duly signed by the administration).
Proof of prepaid booking of youth hostels or hotels.
Proof of prepaid transport if any, like any inter-city flights or train tickets or bus tickets. Euro rail is a good option to book trains between the cities, I used flexi bus for booking bus tickets. Flexi bus uses online payment hence it is advisable to book the flexi bus prior.
Submit a signed cover letter addressed to royal embassy of the place mentioning the reason of travel along with the dates of traveling.
A tentative itinerary about travel plans. The best way to make an itinerary is by bifurcating it into three sections, morning, afternoon & evenings. Try to start with activities like breakfast some sight seeing & then again same thing with lunch & evening snacks. Please note that this is required by the consulate to figure out how are you going to spend your time in the cities. A detailed version of your itinerary can help the cause of getting visa. If there is something unrelatable it is very likely that the consultate will call you for an interview.
Visa Application Form:
A duly filled visa application form. There is checklist which must be followed. Tick mark points which are valid & arrange documents in the order of mentioned in checklist.
I took the copy of all the above mentioned things while submitting the documents, after submission of documents, there is a round of bio metric in which I submitted my finger prints & a photo. Once, all these steps are complete,the file is sent to respective consulate for final review & approval or disapproval of the application.
For Indians, VFS Global is single stop solution for applying Schengen Visa. Their offices are in major cities & all the documents needs to be submitted here only. I submitted my document in VFS Global Netherlands Mumbai office. All the visa related fees needs to be paid at the VFS Global office only that too in cash. Tourist visa fees is approx. Rs 6,000. Further, there are additional services like courier, sms tracking which can be availed for an extra cash.
It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to get visa. But, there is one more aspect which needs to be considered. The INTERVIEW CALL. For the first timer this is pretty usual, the person is called for an interview at the consulate to enquire about trip details. The interview is not difficult, they ask about the plan. I went to Delhi for the interview, the person asked me everything from hotel bookings to transport I will take & places I will visit. My advise would be just be calm & composed & answer everything in confidence. I felt it was just a formality to check is there any thing wrong or not with the person.
I was among the unlucky who was called for an interview. However, there are my friends who got the visa without any interview.
But, all the efforts is little compared to the happiness that we experience during the trip. The vastness of the place & mesmerizing views help to forget every effort taken to get the visa.
For more information on Schengen visa for global citizens here is the link
Here are the links to my experiences of the three places I visited during my trip.