Planning A European Holiday: Tips For Applying For A Schengen Visa

Planning A European Holiday: Tips For Applying For A Schengen Visa

Want to escape your daily routine and plan to spend an epic time abroad? Well, you're not alone.

European countries remain a much-favored travel destination and tourists are on the rise, especially after three years of pandemic restrictions. However, visa requirements pose a potential deterrent for some travellers.

The European Union (EU) comprises 27 member countries, each with its own visa policies and regulations. For citizens of many countries, travelling to the EU for short stays is visa-free. However, for citizens of certain countries, securing a visa can be a complex and time-consuming process.

What is a Schengen Visa?

The Schengen Area comprises 27 European countries, 23 of which are members of the European Union and four of which are members of the European Free Trade Association. 

These governments have eliminated internal border controls between member countries. Citizens of foreign countries who do not have visa-free travel arrangements must apply for a Schengen Visa to enter and travel within the area.

The 27 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Here are tips when applying for a Schengen Visa.

Make Sure Your Passport Meets Requirements

The EU has specific passport rules for people applying for a Schengen visa. Check that your passport is valid for six months beyond the date of your planned trip to the Schengen Area. 

Passports must include at least two blank pages, which cannot be added afterward. Furthermore, visitors wanting to obtain a visa with the multiple entry option should note that if the validity of their passport is less than the term of validity of the required visa, they will not be able to obtain the latter.

Ensure Your Residency is Valid

To apply for a Schengen visa, you must be either a citizen of the country you are in, or on a valid residence permit issued by that country. Most countries do not accept Schengen visa applications from non-residents.

Apply Ahead

Try to apply for your visas in advance. 

It is not just the availability of appointments that is an issue. Technical glitches due to heavy traffic flow on these websites are very common.

Most countries accept visa applications up to 90 days before the scheduled travel date. So, while considering the projected departure date and the average processing timeframes, submit your application as soon as possible. 

It is advisable to allow as much time as possible between the time of application and departure in case there are any hiccups with completing your application.

Essential Supporting Documents

Ensure you have all the necessary paperwork to submit with the properly completed application form to ensure a smooth submission procedure. 

Some embassies include a requirements checklist with their Schengen Visa application form, which is quite helpful for keeping track of the procedure. 

Be sure to comply with all requirements as your application may not be accepted at the visa centre or risk having your application rejected.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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And because of the pandemic, don’t forget to get your travel insurance, which will cover you for flight disruptions and pandemic related matters.

IaM can help with your visa application to Europe, the United States, the UK & other countries

If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or a visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

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