Is Applying for a Schengen Visa Difficult?

All you need to know.

April 23, 2024

Millions of travellers from around the world are drawn to the beauty and charm of Europe each year. However, before you can embark on your European adventure, there is one crucial step you need to take: obtaining a Schengen visa.

For many travellers, the mere thought of applying for a Schengen visa can be daunting. With complex procedures and the ever-present fear of rejection, it is no wonder some people are deterred from even attempting to apply. But fear not! In this guide, we will break down the process of how to apply for a Schengen visa into simple, easy-to-follow steps so you can turn your European dreams into reality.

What is the Schengen Visa?

First things first, let us start with the basics. The Schengen visa is a travel document that allows you to visit any (or all!) of the 29 European countries that are part of the Schengen Area. These countries have removed passports and other types of border control at their mutual borders, allowing you to travel seamlessly within the region.

Who Needs a Schengen Visa?

If you are a citizen of a non-European Union or the European Economic Area, you will require a Schengen visa to visit Europe for various travel purposes. It includes citizens of countries like India who wish to travel to Europe for short stays.

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa Successfully?

If you wish to visit any Schengen country, you must get the Schengen visa first. To successfully get this visa, you should follow these steps:

Step 1: Determine Where to Apply

Generally, you should apply at the consulate or embassy of the Schengen country you plan to visit first or, if you plan to visit multiple Schengen countries, apply for the country where you will spend the most time during your trip.

Step 2: Gather Required Documents

Once you have determined where to apply, the next step is gathering the required documents. These typically include:

● Completed Visa Application Form: You will need to fill out a visa application form, which you can download from the website of the consulate or embassy where you are applying.

● Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least three months after your intended stay in the Schengen Area and have at least two blank pages for visa stamps.

● Passport-Sized Photos: You will need to provide recent passport-sized photos that meet the specifications outlined by the consulate or embassy.

● Travel Itinerary: A detailed itinerary of your trip, including flight and accommodation reservations.

● Proof of Travel Insurance: Travel insurance for Schengen visa is a mandatory requirement for the applicants. Make sure your insurance policy meets the minimum coverage requirements of 30,000 Euros set by the Schengen Area.

● Proof of Financial Means: You will need to provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover your expenses during your stay in the Schengen Area. It includes bank statements, pay slips, or a letter of sponsorship if someone else is covering your trip expenses.

● Proof of Accommodation: Hotel reservations, rental agreements, or a letter of invitation from a host in the Schengen Area.

Step 3: Submit Your Application

Once you have gathered all the required documents, it is time to submit your application. Depending on the consulate or embassy, you may need to schedule an appointment in advance, or you may be able to walk in during designated hours. In addition, double-check the application procedures for the specific consulate or embassy where you are applying.

Step 4: Attend the Visa Interview

In some cases, the visa officials may ask you to attend a visa interview as part of the application process. During the interview, a consular officer may ask questions about your travel plans, financial situation, and other relevant details. Be honest and forthcoming with your answers, and remember to bring any additional documents that may support your application.

Step 5: Wait for a Decision

After submitting your application and attending any required interviews, all that is left to do is wait for a decision. Processing times can vary depending on the consulate or embassy and the time of year, so be patient. You can track the status of your application online or through the consulate or embassy where you applied.

Top Schengen Visa-Friendly Countries

If you are thinking about a vacation to one of the Schengen nations, here is a list of the places that rate the highest in terms of approving applications for visas for travellers:

● Estonia

With a rejection rate of only 1.6% in 2018, Estonia offers smooth visa processing and sparsely crowded embassies for applicants seeking short-term visas.

● Iceland

Iceland presented a favourable Schengen visa approval rate of 98.3% in 2018, though applicants may face consulate crowding due to limited representation.

● Lithuania

Lithuania boasts a mere 1.3% rejection rate for Schengen visas in 2018, with an easy appointment system and quick processing times due to fewer applications.

● Latvia

Latvia, rich in architectural wonders, grants Schengen visas to 97.5% of applicants, with only 2.1% facing rejection in recent years.

● Slovakia

Slovakia, a haven for nature enthusiasts, recorded a 9.7% rejection rate in 2022, mainly due to documentation issues, offering splendid destinations like Piestany and Bratislava.

● Finland

Despite a high volume of applications, Finland maintains a low 1.7% rejection rate, making it a viable option for Indian citizens seeking Schengen visas.

● Luxembourg

Tiny yet scenic Luxembourg offers a convenient gateway to Schengen countries, with a modest 3.7% rejection rate, attracting many visa applicants.

Final Thoughts

While the process to apply for a Schengen visa may seem straightforward, unexpected events can arise during your travels, from flight cancellations to medical emergencies. Travel insurance offers you peace of mind and financial protection against these unforeseen circumstances. Moreover, travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for Schengen visa applications.

So go ahead and start planning your itinerary, booking your flights and accommodations, and buying travel insurance, and soon enough, you will find yourself strolling through the charming streets of Europe, creating memories to last a lifetime.