A Schengen visa takes about 15 to 30 days to arrive after your interview.
But first, which countries can you visit with a Schengen visa?
THE SCHENGEN STATES comprise 26 European countries that have agreed on the unrestricted movement of people within their borders. Indian passport holders do not get a visa on arrival in these 26 countries.
In 2018, the 26 European countries that form the Schengen area are the following:
3. The Czech Republic
18. The Netherlands
BEFORE APPLYING FOR A VISA
For Indian passport holders who need a tourist visa, the first thing you need to do is get your entry and exit tickets. Since getting a visa is not always a guaranteed process, try and book flights which are refundable. That way, even if your visa application is rejected, you have the option of canceling your tickets and save some of the money that you spent on them. The (arguably) most important point to keep in mind before applying for a Schengen visa is to check your account balance. You need to be able to provide bank statements of a certain number of months before your visa interview. Only once you are sure that your bank statements are able to prove that you have enough money to cover the days of the trip, go ahead with the visa application.
VISA APPLICATION FORM
Log on to the respective country’s visa information website. Download the visa application form. The form needs to be filled before you go for the interview.
See what type of visa you are applying for. Choose your date, time and center of the visa interview. If you choose a tourist visa, the broad checklist will be the following (but differs from country to country):
A passport issued within the last 10 years and is valid for at least 3 months after the date of your return to India. The passport must have at least two blank pages. Passports with handwritten bios are no longer valid for Schengen travel. All previous passports need to be bound together by a rubber band.
Passport-size photographs. Check the visa requirements of your country of entry and exit for the exact dimensions of the photos.
A personal covering letter explaining your purpose of travel and itinerary details.
If you’re employed with a company, you need an introduction letter on the business letterhead from the employer or company. The letter has to be original and signed and stamped by the HR or Directorate. It has to mention your position, how long you have been working with the company and a “no objection statement” regarding your planned trip to the Schengen country/countries, the dates and the purpose of the trip.
Travel insurance covering 30,000 euros or USD 50,000 per person. The visa information websites usually have a list of travel insurance companies you can get one from.
Copy of your flight tickets to and from India, tickets for travel within the Schengen states, train tickets or car rentals and proof of accommodation – hotel reservations, package tours, etc. If you are employed with a company, salary slips of the last 3 months (usually), bank statements of the last 3 months (again, check with the country of entry and exit), personal Indian Income Tax Return (ITR) for the last 2 assessment years.
If you are self-employed and/or company owner, you need to carry your business registration certificate or partnership deed or proof of proprietorship, or other proof of ownership. You will need the last 3 month’s personal and business bank account statements. In addition to that, you will also need the company’s ITR for the last 2 assessment years.
If you are retired, your pension statements for the last 3 months are needed. Proof of regular income generated by ownership of property or business is also needed.
If you are a student or unemployed, your parents or legal guardians need to provide their personal bank account statements for the past 3 months. Their personal ITR for the last two years is needed, along with a confirmation letter of financial support and a copy of their passports.
Some countries require color or black-and-white photocopies of your entire passport. Check before you go for the interview.
Check the amount of money you are required to pay for the visa. Carry the amount in cash since most countries allow only that mode of payment.