Understanding the Schengen Visa…

What is Schengen Visa?

The EU passport-free zone that covers most of the European countries is referred to as the Schengen Area and is the largest free travel area in the world.

To enter this area, one needs a special visa known as Schengen visa. This visa allows the traveler to cross several countries without hindrance as this visa is applicable to all the countries in this area across European land and there are no border controls within this zone. The duration of this visa is 90 days and it covers 26 countries in Europe. This visa is for short travel purpose only and if you are planning to study in any of the Schengen countries then you should look for other visas.

Where to Apply for Schengen Visa?

You can apply for a Schengen visa in any of the local VFS centers. These centers are available in all metro cities in India. In case you are in some other countries, you can apply for this visa in the respective countries’ embassy or visa center. Separate counters are available for Schengen Visa at the VFS center and they would assist you in completing your application once you are there. This blog specifically covers the VFS center in Delhi.

VFS Centre in Delhi is located at the Mezzanine Floor in the Shivaji Stadium Metro Station, Baba Kharag Singh Marg, New Delhi.

Countries included in Schengen Area –

Somewhere in Europe
S.No. Countries S.No. Countries
1 Austria 14 Lithuania
2 Belgium 15 Luxembourg
3 Czech Republic 16 Malta
4 Denmark 17 Netherlands
5 Estonia 18 Norway
d6 Finland 19 Poland
7 France 20 Portugal
8 Germany 21 Slovakia
9 Greece 22 Slovenia
10 Hungary 23 Spain
11 Iceland 24 Sweden
12 Italy 25 Switzerland
13 Latvia 26 Liechtenstein

 Reasons for which you can apply Schengen Visa –

The following reasons may be apt for applying for a Schengen Visa through any of the Schengen member states consulates-

  • Business purposes.
  • Visiting friends and family.
  • Tourism and holidays.
  • Cultural and sports events.
  • Airport transit and transit for seafarers.
  • Official visit.
  • Medical reasons.
  • Short-term study and research purposes.

You may be granted a single-entry visa, double-entry visa, or a multiple-entry visa depending on your reasons for visiting the Schengen countries and the frequency of your visits. 

The validity of your visa is granted based on the number of days you will stay in the Schengen Zone and on the discretion of the Consulate. However, you do get to stay for the number of days you have planned your trip for. I had planned my holiday for 9 days across Europe and my visa was valid for 2 weeks.

How to Apply for the Schengen Visa in Delhi –

Once you decide the purpose of your visit, it becomes easy to document everything. Say, you want to go on holiday to Europe and plan to visit several countries during your two weeks stay. In this case, we will apply for a Tourist Visa to one of the Schengen Countries which is on your itinerary. I wanted to travel for tourism purpose, and I applied for a Tourist Visa.

Be clear about the following –

  • No. of days of travel
  • Countries to be visited
  • Port of Entry
  • Port of Exit
  • Country of Maximum Stay

Once you have that figured out, then comes the documentation part and whether you fulfill the visa requirements or not. You start by setting up a visa appointment at one of the Schengen consulates in your country. When I visited Europe in October last year, my port of entry was Berlin (Germany), but my maximum stay was in Amsterdam (Netherlands). Therefore, I applied for my visa at the Netherlands Consulate. In case your duration of stay is equal in all the countries, you should apply to the port of your entry. The country you will enter first.

The Application Form is available on the VFS site and you need to fill the form and print it to take the appointment online. The Form can also be filled online.

The link to the appointment is also available on the website. Once you take the appointment on the available date, reach the centre 15 minutes prior and follow the security regulations as directed. You will be guided to the exact counter once you are in the centre.

Take the token and wait for your turn at the waiting area. Once called, submit your documents and if everything is in place, you will be sent at the other counter to make the visa payment. Once you receive the receipt you must return to the waiting area for your Bio scan. This is the last stage for your process.

After your Bio scan, you can leave and track your application online. It may take 5-10 working days for your visa to arrive.

If you have opted for courier service, the passport will reach you at the given address. Otherwise, you must go and collect your passport at the same centre. The process is quite simple and if followed diligently, you will get your visa without any hassles and long wait. I got my visa in a week’s time and I was super excited to pack for my trip.

How much does the Schengen Visa cost?

Schengen Visa 60 4870
Children (between 6 – 12 Years) 35 2840

Only INR is applicable if you are applying in India and only cash is acceptable. In addition to the above- stated visa processing fee, VFS charges a service fee of INR 1211/- and convenience fee INR 160/- (for using different online modes of payment) per application.

This fee should be paid online and only then you can secure an appointment. The point to be noted here is that this fee is non-refundable even if you fail to attend the scheduled appointment. You must pay this fee again to secure another appointment for your visa.

Information on other additional charges can be found here – http://www.vfsglobal.com/netherlands/india/Tourist.html

Which Documents are required for Schengen Visa Application?

The VFS site takes care of every aspect of your application and if you read everything carefully, there is no need to hire an agent to complete your application. The site has a Checklist which you can fill to see which documents are required and which ones you need to arrange before submitting your application. This will help you get started with the arrangement for your holiday.

These include –

  • Completed Visa Form – online form is available here https://consular.mfaservices.nl/schengen-visa/KMVGPP
  • Passport – Should be valid for at least six months from the date of travel.
  • Copy of the previous Passport (if any) – attach it to your current passport
  • Copy of all previous visas (if any) – take all
  • Residential Proof in India – Any government id like Aadhar Card, DL or Passport is sufficient if it has your current address.
  • Work Permit (if employed) – Employer Certificate and ID would do. Also, the Employer needs to state that you will be on vacation on the said dates for the purpose of travel to Europe
  • Passport Photo (follow the rules of photo) – click here for specification http://www.vfsglobal.com/netherlands/india/Tourist.html
  • Travel Reservation – This is quite debatable as the form says you need to book only those flight tickets which can be cancelled. Hotel Bookings should be in your name. I provided both to be on the safe side but the person at the counter said flight tickets are not mandatory. Use your judgement in this case and book at your own risk.
  • Bank Statement for 3 months to show you can afford this trip at your own expense. If you have someone to take care of your boarding and lodging in Europe, please ask them to send you a letter stating the same for the length of your stay.
  • Insurance – This is an imperative document and you need to buy it before going for your appointment. The cover should be at least 30,000 EUR.
  • Online Payment Receipt – Remember the extra VFS charges you paid while booking the appointment.

I hope this article was helpful in answering your Schengen Visa queries and now you can easily apply for one yourself.

Bon Voyage!