What Is The Procedure To Apply For A Schengen Visitor Visa?

Laura Amber, Senior Traveler, Italy

The Schengen visitor visa is a type of visa that allows travelers to visit countries within the Schengen Area, which includes 26 European countries. If you are planning to visit any of these countries for tourism, business, or family visits, you may need to apply for a visitor visa. 

What Is Schengen Visitor Visa?

This visa allows you to travel freely between the Schengen countries during your approved period of stay. To obtain a Schengen visitor visa, you need to follow a specific procedure outlined by the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit. Likewise, this process involves gathering the necessary documents, completing the application form, booking an appointment, attending an interview (if required), and paying the visa fee. 

However, it is essential to carefully follow the guidelines provided by the embassy or consulate to ensure a smooth and successful application process.

How Many Days Can You Stay In The Schengen Area With A Visitor Visa?

With a Schengen visitor visa, you are typically allowed to stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. 

This means that you can stay for up to 90 days in total within any 180-day period, regardless of whether you stay consecutively or make multiple trips. The 180-day period is calculated backward from the date of your entry into the Schengen Area. 

However, it is important to note that the clock starts ticking from the first day you enter the Schengen Area, and it includes both the days you stay and the days you leave. Once you have reached the maximum stay of 90 days within a 180-day period, you must leave the Schengen Area and cannot re-enter until a new 180-day period begins. 

Additionally, it is crucial to carefully track your days of stay and plan your travels accordingly to comply with the rules of the visa. Violating the allowed stay period can result in consequences such as fines, deportation, or denial of entry to the Schengen Area in the future.

Procedure For Applying For Schengen Visit Visa

The procedure for applying for a Schengen visitor visa may vary slightly depending on the specific embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit. However, the general steps are as follows:

Determine The Embassy/Consulate

Identify the embassy or consulate of the Schengen country you plan to visit, which has jurisdiction over your place of residence.

Gather The Required Documents

Review the list of requirements for a visa, which typically includes a completed visa application form, a valid passport, recent passport-sized photos, travel insurance, proof of accommodation, proof of financial means, travel itinerary, and other supporting documents depending on the purpose of your visit.

Complete The Application Form

Fill out the visa application form accurately and legibly, providing all the required information, including your personal details, the purpose of travel, intended duration of stay, and other relevant details.

Book An Appointment

Schedule an appointment with the embassy or consulate for submitting your visa application. Some embassies or consulates may require you to book an appointment online, while others may accept walk-ins or appointments made over the phone.

Attend The Interview (If Required)

Some embassies or consulates may require you to attend an interview as part of the visa application process. Be prepared to answer questions related to your travel plans, financial situation, and purpose of visit during the interview.

Pay The Visa Fee

Pay the required visa fee, which varies depending on the country and type of Schengen visa. The fee is typically non-refundable, even if your visa application is denied.

Submit Application

Attend your appointment at the embassy or consulate and submit your completed visa application form along with the supporting documents, passport, and visa fee. Make sure to submit all the required documents in the format specified by the embassy or consulate.

Wait For Processing

After submitting your visa application, you will need to wait for the embassy or consulate to process your application, which may take several weeks or even months.

Collect Passport And Visa

Once your visa application is processed, you will need to collect your passport from the embassy or consulate. If your visa is approved, it will be affixed to your passport, allowing you to travel to the Schengen Area within the approved period of your stay.

Most Important Supporting Docs In Schengen Visit Visa Application

The following are the most important supporting documents in your Schenge visitor visa application:

Flight Reservation For A Visitor Visa

When applying for a Schengen visit visa, one of the required documents is a flight reservation for visa. This is a temporary flight booking that serves as proof of your intended travel itinerary, including your arrival and departure dates within the Schengen Area. It is important to note that a flight reservation is not the same as a confirmed flight ticket, and you should not purchase a ticket until the embassy or consulate approves your visa application. Get your flight reserved by filling out this flight reservation form.

Flight Reservation For Visa Application

Hotel Booking For A Schengen Visitor Visa

As part of the documentation, you need to provide verifiable hotel bookings. These bookings serve as proof of your planned accommodation during your visit to the Schengen Area. Begin by researching and identifying potential hotels or accommodations that match your planned travel itinerary. Consider factors such as location, cost, and availability for your intended travel dates.

Use reputable online booking websites to make your hotel reservations as proof of accommodation for a visa. Make sure to choose hotels that offer free cancellation or refundable bookings, as these are easier to modify or cancel. Provide accurate information when making your hotel reservations, including your name, contact details, planned travel dates, and passport information.

Likewise, it is crucial to ensure that the information provided matches the details in your visa application and other supporting documents.

Hotel Booking For Visa Application

Travel Insurance For Schengen Visitor Visa

Travel insurance for visa application is a vital requirement for obtaining a Schengen visit visa. It is crucial to select a reputable insurance provider recognized and accepted by the Schengen Area countries. The insurance coverage should meet the minimum requirements set by the Schengen visa regulations, including a minimum coverage of EUR 30,000 for the entire duration of the stay in the Schengen area. The coverage should encompass medical expenses, hospitalization, emergency medical treatment, and repatriation due to illness or death.

Once you have purchased dummy travel insurance for your visa application purpose, a policy document or insurance certificate should be obtained as proof of coverage. This document should clearly state the coverage amount, duration, and details of the insured person(s). A copy of the travel insurance policy document or certificate should be included in the visa application, along with other required documents, when submitting the application to the embassy or consulate of the Schengen country being applied to.

It is essential to thoroughly review the policy requirements to ensure that it meets the specific regulations of the Schengen visa. For instance, it should cover all the Schengen countries to be visited and be valid for the entire duration of the stay in the Schengen Area. The original copy of the travel insurance policy document or certificate should be kept when traveling to the Schengen Area, as it may be required by immigration officials upon entry and for reference in case of emergencies during the trip.

It is also crucial to understand the coverage details of travel insurance, including the inclusions, exclusions, and claim procedures. It is recommended to choose a policy that provides comprehensive coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellation or interruption, baggage loss or delay, and other unforeseen events that may occur during the trip.

Get Dummy Travel Insurance For Schengen Visa Application

How Much Time Does The Embassy/Consulate Take To Approve Your Application?

The processing time for a visit visa application varies depending on the embassy or consulate where you have submitted the application. Typically, the processing time can range from a few days to several weeks. 

Likewise, the embassy or consulate will carefully review the submitted documents and assess the eligibility of the applicant for a Schengen visit visa.

Various factors, including the volume of visa applications received, may influence your processing time. During peak travel seasons or holidays, the processing time may be longer due to a higher volume of applications.

It is important to note that the embassy or consulate may also request additional documents or information during the processing of the visa application, which can further delay the processing time. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that all required documents are accurately and completely submitted at the time of application to minimize delays.

Once the Schengen visitor visa application is processed and a decision is made, the embassy or consulate will notify the applicant. If they have approved the application, the embassy or consulate will affix the visa sticker to the passport or issue a visa sticker if the applicant has provided a pre-paid envelope. 

The applicant can then collect the passport with the visa from the embassy or consulate or have it delivered to the provided address, depending on the procedures followed by the respective embassy or consulate.

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