India is one of the most important tourist market for Europe with around 10 million Indians visiting Europe every year. That number is expected to grow upto 15 million in 2020. Needless to say, Europe is a premier dream destination for Indians to travel and with most of us getting influenced by the grandeur of our movies depicting wonderful locations in Europe, the demand for Schengen visa for Indian passport holders will anything but dwindle.
What is Schengen visa for Indians ?
Schengen visa is a special kind of visa which allows you to travel among all the Schengen countries for a period of upto 90 days. You can apply for Schengen visa in any of the 25 schengen countries or apply at local vfs center. VFS centers are present in almost all major metros. VFS has separate counters for all the Schengen countries.The counter in which you need to apply depends on your answer for the below question :
- Which country will be your main destination of travel ?
- Where you will be spending most of your days in the trip ?
- Which country is your first point of entry into Europe ? Your flight/ship first lands here.
Your answer for the above question is where you will need to apply for your Schengen visa. But with a Schengen visa you are ,Of course allowed to move freely among other Schengen countries.
What is Schengen visa fees for indians ?
If you are applying with vfs, then there is a processing fee of Rs.1476/- that you will need to pay with VFS and this amount needs to be payed in cash. So make sure you have the above amount in cash since they don’t accept cards.
Which is the best country to apply for Schengen visa for Indians ?
We have helped over 50,000 applicants for Schengen visa so far, Most of our customers unanimously agree that German counter is the easiest to apply for Schengen visa among all countries.In fact, if you are applying for tourist visa in German counter at VFS,you don’t even have to attend for the interview at the German consulate.
Compare that with Belgian or France where you will need to provide Biometric scans, other additional documents and the need to attend an interview. Germany is the recommended consul to apply for Schengen visa.
Documents required for Schengen visa for Indian Application
- Duly filled Schengen visa application form .This needs to be filled in blue ink and signed by the applicant.Make sure that you have filled the visa application with all the required information. After you have filled the visa application, make sure you make a copy of the application which will be helpful for you to revise when you go for your visa interview. You can download the Schengen visa application from here.
Update : You can now fill the entire Schengen visa application online and take a print out if it . See our blog post on how to fill your Schengen visa application online. No need to run around for a pen, no need to worry about typos.
- Passport with at least two blank pages and valid for at least three months from the visa application date is mandatory. If you have an old passport, then even that needs to be submitted along with the application.
- If you are a minor then the application must be filled and signed by both the parents along with photo copies of parent’s passports.
- Two photographs as per the spec mentioned by photo specification for visa application.
- Personal Covering letter from the applicant, explaining in detail the purpose of the visit.This needs to explain in detail your entire travel itinerary, all the documents that you have submitted in order addressing the Embassy in your area. Not to worry, we have attached a sample that you can modify for your needs. Here is personal cover letter for Schengen visa.
- A medical insurance with a minimum cover of €30,000.There are ofcourse, many websites online which can provide you with an insurance. But keep in mind that these companies are insurance agents and it is in their interest to sell you the most expensive insurance . See our article to get the best travel insurance for Schengengen visa requirement.
- A confirmed Flight itinerary or Flight reservation for Schengen visa from a travel agent. A flight ticket need not be booked in advance for a visa. Once the visa is confirmed then a flight ticket may be purchased.Flight itinerary is a safer way of submitting a visa application without buying an actual flight ticket which is expensive if your visa is refused. In fact the European union visa requirements for visa states the same.As per the official document,
Round trip reservation or itinerary with dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from Schengen state. Some Schengen authorities accept the itinerary when applying for the visa but request the original air ticket when visa is collected.
Embassy does not hold responsibility for the expenses or loss incurred if you buy a flight ticket in advance and your visa application is cancelled. You can get your flight itinerary for Schengen visa online here.
- If you are planning to travel to any other country other than your main country, Then you need to have flight itineraries for each and every city in your plan. You can read everything about flight itinerary for visa application here.
- Hotel booking , hostel reservations for Schengen visa, Or any other country that you are planning to stay. So you will need to make all the hotel bookings and reservations before you leave. Again you can use an online travel agent to make hotel reservations for visa applications for you without you having to swipe your card. This may not seem important but when you factor in all the currency conversions, filling up each and every form and HUGE cancellation fee if you can’t make it to one place then it is always reasonable to get it done through online agents. An added benefit is most of the travel agents charge you about $50 for the entire trip and not for each and every booking, which is a bargain when you factor in currency conversion charges. Read our post about hotel booking for visa here.
- Original bank statements of the applicant for last three months, with the original stamp and signature of authorized signatory of the bank (Online Bank statements are not acceptable).This is a mandatory statement.
- If your parents are sponsoring your trip,then you will need to show their bank statements along with a letter stating that they are sponsoring your entire trip and sign on all then bank statements.
If you are employed:
- Employment contract or your latest 4 months salary slips.
- Current bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Leave permission from employer . You can download a sample of it from our website.
- Income Tax Return (ITR) form or Certificate of Income Tax deducted at the source of salary
If you are self-employed:
- A copy of your business license
- Company bank statement of the latest 6 months
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
Now that you have all the required documents in place and having submitted it with VFS, it’s time to prepare for your interview. The interview could be brief or could be elaborate based on your application. You may at anytime be asked to produce additional documents so keep them ready. The interviewers have boring jobs so make their jobs easier. Dress decently and be confident. I suggest you split all your relevant documents into following :
- Passport and personal IDs such as PAN card, marriage certificates.
- Employment related documents such as salary , proof of employment.
- Tickets, itineraries, travel insurance and travel related documents.
This makes it easier for you to produce them when asked and not fiddle with your contents.
As mentioned above, while attending for your visa interview please revise all the documents that you have submitted. There will be questions asked about them.
Some of the questions that your interviewer may ask you during your visa application:
- Who will pay for your visit?
- Are you married? If yes, what does your spouse do? For how long have been married?
- Do you have any children? If yes, how old are they, what do they do and where are they?
- Do you have any close family or friends in the Schengen area.? If yes, when did you meet the last time?
- Where do you stay?
- What is your educational qualification?
- How will you travel from one place to another?
- How do you guarantee me that you will come back?
- Which company do you work for?
- What does your company do?
- What is your profession?
- What is your role in the company?
- How many years of total experience you have?
- For how long are you employed with your current employer?
- For how long were you employed with your previous employer?
- Could you please show me your company profile and tax returns?
- How many employees are there in your company?
- Explain your current project to me.
That is it. Once your interview is over, your visa will be sent to you either through mail along with your passport . That is it .You are now ready to embark on your visa journey.