How to obtain Schengen visa in easy steps


 By Olushola Samuel

Going to most European countries on a short time requires a special kind of visa called Schengen visa. Schengen currently consist of 27 countries which are: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The application process to obtain a European visa is mandatory for your freedom of movement in this area. Therefore, you should be very careful when lodging your Schengen visa application. If you need to apply for a visa to European countries, below is the guidelines for the process.

1. Determine the Visa type based on your purpose

Depending on the purpose under which you need to enter the Schengen Area, you can apply for one of the following Schengen visa types:

• Transit Visa

• Tourism Visa

• Visa for Visiting Family or Friends

• Business Visa

• Visa for Journalists

• Visa for Culture and Sports activities

• Visa for Official Visits

• Study Visa

• Visa for Medical Reasons

2. Find Out Where You Need to Apply

Depending on how your destination country in Schengen has regulated visa submission in your country of residence, you will have to file your Schengen visa application at one of the following:

Their embassy

One of their consulates

A visa centre to which the embassy of your destination country has outsourced visa submission

The embassy/consulate of another Schengen state to which the embassy of your destination country has outsourced visa submission

By your “destination country”, we mean the country where you need to lodge your application, according to the Schengen rules.

These rules are as follows:

If you are going to visit only one Schengen country, file your application at the embassy/consulate/visa centre of that country

If you are going to visit two or more Schengen countries, file your application:

At the embassy/consulate/visa centre of the country where you will spend most days if you will be spending an unequal amount of days in each

At the embassy/consulate/visa centre of the country where you will step first, if you will be spending an equal amount of days in each

3. Find the Most Suitable Time to Apply

The earliest you can apply is six months before your departure time and the latest you can apply is 15 days before. But I will advise you apply about one month to your travel date.

4. . Book an Appointment

Book a Schengen visa appointment in order to proceed with your application. Most countries give you a chance to book an appointment online. On the other hand, in others, you will need to book the appointment in person at the embassy or consulate of your destination country.

5. Fill Out the Visa Application Form

Download the application form and fill it out correctly and honestly.

The Schengen visa application form has the same format, no matter which country’s visa it is that the applicant is applying for.

You will have to give the following information on your Schengen visa application form:

Your personal information,

Information on your background,

Your purpose of wishing to enter the Schengen Area,

Other details regarding your trip.

In order to complete and submit the form correctly, pay attention to the following tips:

Download the latest form of the application since that is the only form accepted.

Make sure you fill out every required gap. Here you can find some clear instructions on how to fill in the visa application form.

Do not leave any columns blank. If you feel that, there are columns that do not correspond to your case, fill them with NA (No Answer).

Remember to print the form twice. Sign both copies at the end.

If you are a minor, your parents have to submit a written consent and sign it in the corresponding column of the application form.

6. Gather the Required Documents

The required documents are a crucial part of your visa application. Usually, these documents are categorized into two groups.

The first group is of the standard required documents, which include:

The visa application form.

Valid passport.

Two identical photos.

Travel insurance policy. You can easily purchase it online from Europ Assistance.

Round trip reservation or flight itinerary with dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from the Schengen area.

Proof of accommodation.

Proof of financial means, etc.

The other group is the visa-specific requirements. These documents and their specifications differ from one visa type to the other. In addition, some of the Schengen member states have their own extra requirements for visa applicants.

7. Attend the Visa Interview

On the day of your appointment, show up on time at the facility where you will be interviewed. There you will meet a visa consular to whom you need to hand the collected documents, as required.

During the interview, you will be asked personal questions about your whereabouts, the intended trip and other travel details. Make sure your answers are firm and correct, and that they comply with the information in the application form and the other documents. The interview may last around 10-15 minutes.

Some of the questions you might be asked during the Interview

• Which countries in the Schengen, are you planning to visit?

• Do you have any family members or friends living in Europe?

• What is the purpose of your visit?

• Who will pay for your visit?

• Are you married? If yes, what does your spouse do? For how long have you been married?

• Do you have any children? If yes, how old are they, and what do they do?

• How long are you going to stay in Europe?

• Where are you going to stay?

• What is your educational qualification?

• Which company do you work for?

8. Pay the Visa Fee

You will need to pay a non-refundable administration fee when applying for a Schengen visa, in order for your visa application to be processed.

The member countries have synchronized the visa fees; therefore, they are static and unchangeable until decided otherwise by the Schengen states.

Currently, a Schengen visa fee is €80 per person. Children and some other specific categories will have to pay either reduced fees or no fees at all, depending on their situation.

9. Wait for an answer to your application

It usually take around 15 days to get an answer after your interview and payment. Sometimes it could take longer than usual depending on countries and individual perculiarities.

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