Schengen visa is an authorization that grants permission to a foreign national to enter, stay and travel within the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. It is issued by a member Schengen state allowing its holder to transit to and from the Schengen area without the need to buy a visa for each Schengen country. It acts as a common visa for all the member Schengen countries and eliminates the hassle of applying for a separate visa for every Schengen country you plan to visit.
Moreover, it also gives permission to a foreign traveler to transit through the international transit areas of the airports of a Schengen country. A Schengen visa application is processed on the basis of The Visa Code Regulation 2009 of the European Parliament.
Schengen visa is the most applied type of visa for traveling through Europe. According to the European Union’s Internal Migration and Home Affairs, over 7,00,000 applications for Schengen visa were submitted alone by Indian passport holders in 2015.
Schengen area lies within the European continent and hence comprises of European countries. But not all countries in Europe fall under the list of Schengen countries under this zone. A total of 26 European countries come under the purview of the Schengen area and require a valid Schengen visa before you enter their borders. Out of these, 22 countries are a part of the European Union and the remaining four belong to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Here is a list of Schengen countries that accept Schengen visa:
|Schengen Visa Countries|
|European Union Countries||Member Countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)|
European countries that are not a part of the Schengen area include the United Kingdom, Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyrus and Romania.
At the time of applying for a Schengen visa, you need to know the exact type of visa you should be applying for. Depending on the duration and purpose of your stay, a Schengen visa is available in two types:
All Indian citizens traveling to one or more than one Schengen states for a period of up to 90 days would need a Schengen visa. The following kinds of travelers can apply for this visa:
On the basis of the purpose and frequency of your travel, the Schengen country’s Embassy or Consulate will issue you a single-entry, double-entry or multiple-entry visa. Moreover, students and other travelers who plan to stay in a Schengen country for more than 3 months should apply for the National visa of the country he is visiting.
It is extremely important for a prospective traveler to timely apply for a Schengen visa so that he receives his visa before his date of departure from India. You can apply for a Schengen visa in India not before 3 months ahead of your day of departure. However, make sure to make a visa appointment at least 15 days before your scheduled date of departure. Moreover, people with multiple-entries Schengen visa should submit a visa application before the expiry of the existing visa which is valid for a period of 180-days.
If you are planning a trip to one or more than one Schengen visa countries and want to apply for a visa, follow the steps mentioned below:
People who want to apply for Schengen visa will have to submit a few documents along with their application form. Here is a list of the standard Schengen Visa documents that you would need to submit in the Embassy:
Different kinds of travelers need to submit a few additional Schengen visa documents. Refer the table below to check the list of additional documents:
Types of Travelers
Additional Documents Required
• Appointment letter from the employer
• Bank statement for the last 6 months, duly signed and attested by the bank official
• Leave application duly approved by the employer
Self-Employed or Businessman
• Photocopy of business license
• Company’s bank statement for the last 6 months
• Proof of admission at a Schengen university, college or school
• Proof of financial security that ensures his/her stay abroad can be afforded
• Fees payment receipts of the educational institution
• NOC from school or college in India
• Birth certificate of the minor child
• Application form signed by both the parents
• Photocopies of parents passport or identity proofs
• Authorization letter by both the parents allowing the minor child travel alone, signed by a notary
• Order of the Family Court if the custody of the child belongs to a single parent
Note: It is advised to confirm the list of required documents with the Schengen Embassy/ Consulate or VFS Schengen visa centre before applying.
Schengen visa deals with 26 countries and thus, it can get pretty confusing for the applicant to decide as to which country’s Embassy or Consulate he should submit his visa application. In order to obtain the Schengen visa, you can submit your visa application to one of the following the Schengen visa countries:
All applicants of Schengen visa will have to pay a fee to obtain the visa. The payment has to be made at the Embassy or Consulate where you are submitting your visa application. A standard amount of EUR 30 has to be paid as visa fee by every adult applicant. Visa applications for children between the ages of 6 years and 12 years would attract a visa fee of EUR 35. The visa fee should be paid mostly paid in cash or by card, if possible.
However, certain people may not require paying a fee to obtain a visa to enter the Schengen area. Take a look at the criteria under which your Schengen visa fees may be waived off:
Life is full of uncertainties and it makes it more prudent for everyone to stay prepared for an unforeseen emergency in the best possible way. The authorities of the European Union and the Schengen visa countries realize the unpredictability of life and thus have made it compulsory for every foreigner to possess a valid international travel insurance policy. A travel insurance policy takes care of emergency expenses of a traveler including medical expenses, loss of passport, personal liability, delay or loss of check-in baggage, personal accident and trip delays amongst others. It also acts as medical travel insurance if you suffer from a sudden illness or accident and have to be hospitalized.
Having a valid travel insurance policy is a prerequisite to applying for a Schengen visa. Whether you are traveling for business or for tourism, you need to have travel insurance in order to apply for the visa. Even students travelling to study in a Schengen university require student travel insurance. Moreover, every Schengen visa applicant must have a travel insurance policy with a minimum sum insured of EUR 30,000.
After your visa application has been processed, you will receive a Schengen visa sticker on your passport. This sticker acts as legal document permission that permits you to enter the Schengen area. A lot of crucial information is mentioned on a visa sticker and it is important for you to understand it in order to avoid breaking any rule. Here is how you can read a visa sticker:
In a move to boost tourism and create better job opportunities for its citizens, the Government of Saudi Arabia has introduced a new Tourist e-Visa for Schengen visa holders. This new tourist e-Visa for Saudi Arabia can be applied only by people who have a valid Schengen visa.
This Saudi Arabia Tourist e-Visa for Schengen visa holders is an extension of the Tourist e-Visa introduced last month for the citizens of Schengen states, the USA, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, South Korea and Brunei.
The new Saudi Arabia Tourist e-Visa is valid for a period of one year and grants multiple entries into Saudi Arabia to its holders. However, the e-Visa holder can only stay up to 90 days on a single visit and cannot stay for more than 180 days in Saudi Arabia in total. Schengen visa holders can apply for this Tourist e-Visa online on payment of $120, that includes health insurance.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia did not allow foreign nationals to visit the country for tourism purposes. Only business travellers, Muslim pilgrims travelling to Mecca or Medina and resident workers & their dependents were allowed to enter the country. Besides, foreigners could also apply through the Saudi Arabian diplomatic missions, which is a complicated and time-consuming method.
Starting February 2, 2020, the Schengen visa fee has increased to Euro 80 making a trip to most of Europe expensive. Indians travelling to any of the 26 member Schengen countries will have to pay Euro 20 or about Rs 1,500 more as visa fees as compared to the previous fee of Euro 60.
This is the first Schengen visa fee hike since 2016 that comes as part of the updated Schengen Visa Code. This current visa fee hike is believed to provide member countries with additional financial resources that would help them in processing Schengen visa applications in a faster and more efficient manner.
As per the new visa regime, the Schengen visa fee for children between the age of 6 and 12 years is half of the general fee for adults. This means there has been a hike of only Euro 5 in the previous Schengen visa fee for children under this age group bringing the new fee to Euro 40.
However, the updated Schengen Visa Code provides the member Schengen states with the freedom to waive off visa fees for children between the age group of 6 and 12 years.
There has been no change in the Schengen visa fee exemption rule for minors below 6 years of age. Under the new visa regime, children below the age of 6 years are still not required to pay any fee to obtain their Schengen visa.
Moreover, Indians can now apply for a Schengen visa for up to six months before their scheduled date of departure from India. Earlier, applicants could not apply for a Schengen visa more than three months ahead of their intended travel from India. On the other hand, seafarers can now apply for a Schengen visa up to nine months before travelling to the member European country.
The new visa regime is quite beneficial for frequent flyers with a favourable visa history as they can get a multiple-entry Schengen visa with a gradual increasing validity from one year to five years. For example, a traveller using a multiple-entry visa with two years validity will be granted a multiple-entry visa with five years of validity, if applied within three years.
If a traveller has used three Schengen visas within two years, he/ she would be granted a multiple-entry visa with one year validity during this period. Similarly, if a traveller has used a multiple-entry visa with one year validity, he/ she can get a multiple-entry visa with two years validity, if applied within two years.
The updated Schengen Visa Code also carves the way for an electronically filled visa application form that has also been signed electronically. However, the decision to recognise such applications has been left to the Schengen state that would be examining and processing the visa application.
The Schengen visa is accepted by 26 European countries including France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, The Czech Republic, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Liechtenstein, Estonia, Hungary, Portugal, Latvia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Malta, Spain, Luxembourg, Sweden, Slovenia and Poland.