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Any people who want to travel to Schengen countries need to apply for a visa unless they are citizens of visa exempt countries. Currently, more than 60 countries around the world can enter Europe visa free zone without the need to obtain a visa first, and remain there for 90 days within a six-month period.

If you need to apply for a Schengen visa to visit Europe, proceed reading this article which is the ultimate guideline of a Schengen visa application process.

As other type of visa, you will need to follow many steps to submit your visa application form as below:

1. Figure out which Schengen visa type you need

There are several types of Schengen Visa, you must decide to choose a type of visa that is matched with your purpose of traveling. You can choose one of the following type of Schengen visa:

2. Find out where you need to apply

Normally, you may apply your visa application at the embassy/consulates or visa service centre of the country that you will visit. However, with Schengen visa, you can travel to many countries in Schengen zones, you must choose a country that you need to apply visa for. Depending on the country you will visit and the time you spend to stay in each country, you may choose the country to apply as the following rules:

  • If you are going to visit only one Schengen country, file your application at the embassy / consulate / visa center of that country
  • If you are going to visit more than two Schengen countries, file your application:
    • At the embassy / consulate / visa center of the country where you will spend most days, if you will be spending unequal amount of days in each
    • At the embassy / consulate / visa center 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

Choosing a suitable time to apply your visa may help you to avoid delaying for your trip. Read carefully the requirements about the time to apply for a Schengen visa below:

  • The earliest you can file a visa application: six months before you start your planned trip.
  • The latest you can file a visa application: at most 15 working days before you intend to travel.
  • The recommended time to file a visa application: at least three weeks before your trip.

4. Make an appointment

Most of countries will give you a chance to book an appointment online. In some case, you must book an appointment in person at the embassy or consulate in your country. Therefore, it is recommended to check carefully before you plan to apply for a visa.

5. Fill out the visa application form

To fill out the visa application form, you must download the Schengen visa form online first. The Schengen countries share the same format of visa application form no matter which country’s visa it is that the applicant is applying for.

You will need to provide the following information in your visa application form:

  • Personal information,
  • Information on your background,
  • purpose of your trip to the Schengen Area,
  • Other related details.

Note:

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

6. Collect the required documents

To meet the requirements of the embassy/consulate when you apply for a visa, you must gather all required documents to prepare to submit it in your appointment day.

You should prepare the following documents to be ready for submit:

  • The visa application form.
  • Valid passport.
  • Two identical photos.
  • Travel insurance. You can easily purchase it online from AXA Schengen or 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.

Beside these documents you may need to collect some other specific documents for each type of visa. 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. Therefore, check with the embassy/consulate where you will submit your visa application form.

7. Attend the visa interview

After booking an appointment and gathering all required documents, you will be ready for your visa interview. In the day of your appointment, you should be attend on time and bring all required documents with you.

You will take part in an 10-15 minutes 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.

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. 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. The fee may change without notice, check with your visa application centre previously. Read more detail about Schengen visa fees

9. Wait for an answer on your application

After you finish all steps above, you have to wait for the answer on your application. It may take about 15 days. In some special case, it may take quite much longer.