Did you know that Venice isn’t the only city where you can catch a water taxi? Amsterdam offers not only picturesque canals flowing through its city but also a museum with the world’s largest Van Gogh collection, the Anne Frank Museum and much more. But, Amsterdam isn’t all there is to see in the Netherlands. When you think of the Netherlands, one can’t help but picture the tulips gardens of Keukenhof and the windmills along the river Noord. The Netherlands is a country where fields come alive with colour, where castles refuse to let history be forgotten and bicycles aren’t just for children.
Visiting the Netherlands is something everyone must do at least once in their lifetime. Peak season is between June and August but if you’re looking for a budget holiday, you could plan a trip between November and March. The Netherlands is very welcoming towards tourists and it’s easy to get a Netherland visa for Indian citizens. If you’re planning to visit the Netherlands for a holiday, you need to apply for a short stay Netherland Schengen visa but if you are looking at moving to the Netherlands for a longer period, you will need to apply for a long stay visa.
What is a Schengen short stay visa?
The Schengen agreement came into being in 1985 with the Netherlands being one of the founding countries along with France, Germany, Luxemburg and Belgium. At present 26 countries have signed the Schengen agreement to open their borders for free travel between countries. This allows citizens from the countries that have signed the Schengen agreement to travel freely between them and allows tourists from outside Europe to travel through these 26 countries with a single visa known as a Schengen visa.
As with other visas, a Schengen visa has many categories such as tourist visas, student visas, business visas etc. A tourist visa is valid for 6 months from the date of being issued and allows a person to stay in a Schengen country for 90 days consecutively. This is known as a short stay visa. Visas that allow tourists to stay in the Netherlands for longer than six months is known as a long stay visa.
How to Apply for a Netherland Schengen Visa ?
The Schengen tourist visa is one of the easiest visas to apply for as long as all the Netherland visa requirements for Indian citizens are taken care of. To apply for this visa, applicants need to fill in an application form, collect all the supporting documents and set up an interview to submit these documents and your biometric data. Once submitted, it could take up to 14 working days for your visa to be issued.
The application form can be downloaded from here without any charge. This form is available in an editable pdf form and can be filled in on the computer and then printed or printed and filled in with ink. Printing a typed form is considered a better idea as it is more legible and makes the process of submitting an error free form much easier. The documents needed to support this application form are:
- A valid passport
You cannot apply for any visa without a passport and that holds true for a Netherland Schengen visa as well. Your passport should be valid not only on the date of being submitted for a visa but also for six months after you come back from the Netherlands. If this is your second passport or if you have any other passports that might have been cancelled for expired, these passports will need to be submitted with the application form as well. Your current passport also needs to have a minimum of two empty pages. If you have been issued a Schengen visa earlier, a copy of these visas will also should to be furnished.
- 2 passport photographs
The Schengen visa application has a number of strict guidelines that needs to be followed when it comes to passport photographs. Photographs for a visa application cannot be cropped out of a larger photograph and must be taken within 6 months of being submitted. These include:
- Size of photographs: 35mm x 45mm
- The photograph must have a plain, neutral background; preferably grey, off white or blue.
- The photographs must be clear, well focused and printed on high quality paper with no marks or creases
- The applicant’s face must take up 70 to 80 percent of the passport photograph frame.
- All the applicant’s facial features including the forehead, ears, and chin should be clearly visible
- No headwear may be worn except for religious reasons
- If the applicant wears spectacles, the frame should not cast any shadows across the applicant’s face or cover the applicant’s eyes.
- The applicant needs to have a neutral expression with nothing else in the background
- Financial proof
In order for a visa to be issued, the visa office must believe that you have the funds required to pay for your holiday. According to the European Commission, a tourist needs to have the ability to spend a minimum of EUR34 per day during their stay. This can be proven by submitting a your last three month’s salary slips’ copy, bank statements or income tax returns.
If your travel is being sponsored, you will have to provide a proof of your relationship with the sponsor. You also need to state the reason why the sponsor is willing to pay for your holiday.
Applicants for a short stay visa need to be in possession of insurance that can cover any surprise travel and medical expenditure in the Netherlands. The lowest insurance cover required for each individual applying for a Schengen Netherland visa is EUR 30,000. This can be bought from any of the approved Indian insurance agencies as long as the insurance is valid in the Netherlands. This is especially important in cases where the applicant is elderly or already on medication. If you do not want to commit to buying insurance before your visa is approved, you can also buy refundable insurance.
- Flight reservations
It is rare for visa officers to ask for booked flight tickets because as everyone knows, tickets take up a large portion of a holiday budget. However, they will still need the assurance that you are not planning on overstaying your visit to the Netherlands. You can give this assurance in the form of a detailed flight itinerary that mentions your arrival and departure dates, , airport IATA codes, flight numbers etc. To get this, you will need to reserve a seat on an international airline. If you do this yourself, you can reserve a seat for up to 7 days after which the booking will be cancelled. This can cause a problem if it is rendered void before your visa officer checks your flight details. Not only will your visa be rejected because of this but you will also lose any deposit paid on your flight reservations. However, if you work with a travel agent the reservation can be held for longer. You will also need to show confirmed tickets when you collect your visa after it has been issued.
- Proof of Accommodation Arrangements
As with your finances, you will need to prove that you have made accommodation arrangements in the Netherlands. This can be proved in many different ways including:
- Proof of hotel stay reservation
- Sponsor letter from a person who you will be staying with
- Payment details to a tour operator in case of a pre-paid tour
If you do not have a hotel reservation or person who can sponsor your accommodation, your travel agent can help make a dummy booking. This involves paying a small token amount to a hotel in exchange for which they will send you an email receipt of your hotel reservations. A printout of the same can be submitted as proof of accommodation. However, it is important that you call the hotel and check the reservation code before submitting the documents.
In addition to the application and the documents to support your claims, you should pay a visa processing fee and other applicable charges. For adults, this amount is equivalent to around INR 4300/- and INR 1400/-. While the service charge of INR 1400 remains the same for visa applications for a child aged between the ages of 6 and 12 years, the visa processing fee is reduced to INR 2500. When applying for a Netherland visa for a child below 6 years, there are no visa processing fees or service charge fees. This amount could vary as the Euro to Indian rupee exchange rate fluctuates.
Travelling to the Netherlands with Children
If only one parent is travelling with a minor, along with the above documents you will also need a signed consent letter from the other parent. In case, the child is traveling with guardians other than his parents, a signed consent letter is needed from both parents. In addition you will also need to submit the child’s birth certificate.
So are you ready for a relaxing vacation in the Netherlands?