Europe is one of the coolest destinations in the world & visiting this place is a dream of every person who is not from Europe. Indian citizen requires a 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 the 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 a maximum of 90 days. To get stamped a few steps must be followed.
List of Requirements:
Schengen visa needs to be applied for the place where one is going to spend the 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 the same destination or may be marginally higher. I preferred to keep my inbound & outbound flight from a different destination so that I can explore as much as I can. Few other websites for booking flights are Momondo & Jetradar.
Accommodation In Europe
A confirmed booking in your name for each night till the time you are in EU is a 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 a certain duration. This is best when the itinerary is not fixed. The best way to make a 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.
Bank Account Statement:
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 letterhead 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 the royal embassy of the place mentioning the reason of travel along with the dates of travel.
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 sightseeing & 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 a visa. If there is something unrelatable it is very likely that the consultants will call you for an interview.
Visa Application Form:
A duly filled visa application form. There is a checklist which must be followed. Tick mark points which are valid & arrange documents in the order of they are 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 biometric in which I submitted my fingerprints & a photo. Once, all these steps are complete, the file is sent to the respective consulate for final review & approval or disapproval of the application.
For Indians, VFS Global is single stop solution for applying for Schengen Visa. Their offices are in major cities & all the documents need to be submitted here only. I submitted my document at VFS Global Netherlands Mumbai office. All the visa related fees need 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 extra cash.
It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to get a 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 inquire 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 advice would just be calm & composed & answer everything in confidence. I felt it was just a formality to check is there anything 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 are little compared to the happiness that we experience during the trip. The vastness of the place & mesmerizing views help you to forget all the efforts taken to get the visa.
For more information on Schengen visa for global citizens here is the link
Here are some of the handy resources to help you plan better.
Agoda: Best place to book hotels of your liking. Agoda provides the best solution & great offer while booking a hotel.
Skyscanner: Skyscanner compares various sites & sort the flights based on the rates. A great way to check flight cost. Although the only drawback is that rates are flexible. Hence, the cost might change while you are making the payment.
Jetradar: Jetradar is a comparing site which is just like Skyscanner. But, is much more accurate & much more handy in use.
Booking: Best place to book hostel rooms. There are plenty of options available & with so many properties booking becomes much easier.
Couchsurfing: Best place to find free accommodation. It is as easy as filtering people & messaging. If you will get lucky you will find free accommodation in local resident house.
Travel Insurance: There are numerous options available to get one. So, you can choose anything which suits your requirement. Make sure you read the terms & conditions before buying one.