The Schengen Area is a zone comprising 26 countries- 22 European Union countries and 4 non-EU countries. Individuals wishing to enter these countries, for whatever purpose, need to follow a visa regime based on their nationality. However, citizens from 63 non-EU countries can enter the Schengen zone without a visa for business or travel purposes for up to 90 days.
Nevertheless, individuals need to obtain a European national visa for an extended stay in this area.
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Travellers planning to get a Schengen visa from India can refer to the following article.
What is a Schengen visa?
A Schengen visa allows travellers to visit countries within the Schengen zone for a validity period of 90 days in 6 months. During this period, one can transit through or stay within the territory of these states. Further, individuals can transit through the international transit areas of airports of the Schengen states by obtaining airport transit visas.
One can also get a Schengen tourist visa for tourist activities in the Schengen zone areas. However, staying in this zone for employment, trade, profession, or business establishment is not allowed under this visa.
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What are the types of Schengen visas?
Based on the purpose of visiting a Schengen area, individuals can apply for the following visa types:
- Transit visa: With an airport transit visa (type A), one can connect a flight from a non-Schengen country to another international transit area of an airport located in a Schengen area. Nevertheless, travellers cannot leave the airport premises for any reason. In addition, individuals travelling from one non-Schengen country to a Schengen area’s territory via car or coach must obtain a transit visa (type B). One can get this visa for multiple transits, given the time spent in the Schengen area is more than 5 days.
- Visa for visiting family or friends: Individuals can visit their family members or friends under a short stay visa or travel visa (type C).
- Tourism visa: Travellers planning to visit a Schengen country can obtain this visa for tourism purposes.
- Business visa: Citizens of other countries with the sole purpose of doing business in the EU need to obtain a business Schengen visa.
- Visa for culture and sports activities: Individuals must obtain a short stay visa to visit the Schengen zone for cultural, sports, or religious events.
- Study visa: This is a short-stay visa essential to obtain to study in Schengen member states.
- Visa for medical reasons: Individuals can get necessary medical treatment from this zone owing to their health condition by applying for this visa.
- Visa for official visits: This entry permit is necessary for those undertaking journeys to the Schengen territory for a meeting, consultation, negotiation, exchange program, and intergovernmental organization events.
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Additionally, tourists can visit more than one Schengen country under a short stay or travel visa (type C).
Citizens planning to visit Schengen countries must be aware of the eligibility criteria for hassle-free travel. They can stay in this zone for 90 days within 6 months. Here are some eligibility requirements one must fulfill to visit the Schengen area:
- They must possess a valid passport.
- Individuals must be Schengen visa-holder.
- They should have a medical insurance meeting to meet the Schengen visa insurance requirements.
- Travellers should furnish proper supporting documents to validate their trip.
- Individuals must show evidence of sufficient funds to help them purchase a return ticket.
Documents required to apply for a Schengen visa
Travellers must present the following documents during the Schengen visa application procedure for a seamless experience:
- A completely filled-up and signed visa application form.
- Two recent photographs of the candidate. (should not be older than three months).
- A valid passport must be valid for at least 3 more months from the date you plan to leave the Schengen area.
- Round-trip flight reservation details containing entry and exit dates from the Schengen zone.
- Supporting documents of travel insurance for the entire Schengen territory. It should offer minimum coverage of 30,000 euros in case of mishaps like medical emergencies, illnesses, etc.
- Accommodation proofs like hotel reservation details, rental agreement, or an invitation letter from a host where a traveller will be staying.
- Documents showing details of an individual’s finances, such as bank account statement, sponsorship letter, and a combination of both.
- Proof of paid visa fees. The fees are 80 euros for adults and 45 euros for children 6-12 years old.
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How to apply?
The application procedure for a Schengen visa is simple. Here are some steps one can follow for a hassle-free application:
- Individuals should be aware of the visa type they require from the aforementioned list.
- They can apply from either of the following places
- A destination country’s embassy
- One of their consulates
- A visa centre where the embassy of the Schengen country has outsourced visa submission
- Consulate or embassy of a Schengen state to which the destination country’s embassy has outsourced visa submission
- Individuals need to find an appropriate time for application. It can be either 6 months before the trip, 15 working days before the intended journey, or at least 3 weeks.
- Now, one needs to book an appointment. Some countries give the option of an online application, whereas, for others, one has to schedule an appointment in person.
- Travellers need to fill out the visa application form by entering essential personal details and other information.
- They need to gather the required documents as mentioned above and proceed to submission.
- Individuals must attend the visa interview now.
- They need to pay the visa application fee and complete the entire process.
In due course of time, they will receive an update regarding their application.
To conclude, it is evident that the Schengen visa application process can be tedious for an individual travelling to the EU for the first time. However, referring to the aforementioned piece can simplify the process and offer convenience to a traveler.
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