Schengen Visa Application Requirements

Schengen Visa Application Requirements


The success of your Schengen Visa application essentially depends on how you apply for a Schengen visa and follow the application process correctly by submitting all the necessary required documents. The rules dictating the Schengen Visa application process are strict, one misstep and you can kiss the chance of your application getting approved bye-bye. But we are here to make sure that is not the case.  

The Schengen countries states have clearly defined documents required for each purpose of entry and Schengen visa types in the region. In this article, we provide you with a breakdown of all the documents and requirements you’ll need to successfully get a Schengen Visa, and even go a step further and give you a short brief for each requirement and their specifications.

Common Documents Required When Applying for a Schengen Visa

Common Required Documents - Schengen visa requirements
  • Schengen visa application form – A fully completed and signed copy is needed for every applicant (in the case of applicants under 18, the application form should be signed by the parent/legal guardian)
  • Two recently taken passport photos – Both of which must be identical, not older than 3 months, taken in a brightly covered background, where the applicant is looking straight in the camera. One of the photos must be glued (not stapled) to the application form.
  • A valid passport or Travel document (original and photocopy)-  To meet the Schengen visa requirements make sure that:
  1. Your passport will be valid for at least three (3) months beyond the day of exit from the Schengen Area.
  2. Your passport has at least 2 full blank pages, one for the visa stamp and an additional spare page.
  3. Your passport has an overall validity of 10 years or less
  4. Your passport does not contain any illegible data
  5. Each person has a passport, minors included. 
  6. Make sure to carry any old passports that have a Schengen Visa. 
  • Round trip reservation or itinerary – This includes a full travel itinerary, return ticket or onward travel tickets, and if you’ll be traveling by car, you’ll need a copy of your driver’s license, car registration, and insurance or car rental documentation. Get in touch with us and we will handle your flight itinerary requirements as well as help you apply for the Schengen Visa and ensure you meet the schengen visa requirements. 
  • Schengen Visa Travel Insurance – This needs to be valid for the Schengen Area and covering the entire period of the intended stay plus 15 days. The minimum coverage should amount to 30.000 EUR and include all costs that could arise as a result of emergency medical assistance, emergency hospital stay or even repatriation in case of death. Check out Axa Travel Insurance, Travel Insurance 4 Medical, Europe Assistance or Coverwise Travel Insurance for great quotes and cover.
  • Proof of accommodation – A document that shows where you will be staying throughout your stay in the Schengen area. This can be a hotel/hostel booking, rental agreement (with your name on it) or a letter of invitation from a host at whose house you will be staying (with a copy of their passport or Identity card and their Residence Permit)
  • Proof of financial subsistence – This is evidence that you have enough money for your upkeep throughout your stay in the Schengen area. This could be either:
  1. Bank account statement, no older than 3 months, showing that you have enough money in your account for the trip.
  2. Sponsorship Letter written and signed by another person confirming that they will be financially supporting your trip to the Schengen area. This letter must be accompanied by a bank statement of the sponsor, no older than three months, for it to be valid.
  3. A combination of your bank account statement and a letter of sponsorship.
  • Proof of paid Schengen visa application fees – The exact amount of Schengen visa fees will depend on the visa type, age, and a few other factors. 
  • Proof of legal residence in the country you are applying from – If you are national residing in a different country and applying from the country of residence, you will be required to provide a legal residence permit valid for at least 90 more days following your departure date the Schengen Area. If you don't have more than 90 days left on your current residence permit, you may need a onward flight to your country of nationality. Or alternatively, you can renew your current residency with IaM.

Along with the already mentioned documents, embassies will require additional documents from Schengen visa applicants depending on their employment status, visa type and purpose of visit.

Schengen Visa Requirements According to the Applicant’s Employment Status

Based on the employment status, an applicant will be required to submit the following additional documents.
  • Employees:
  1. Employment contract and an employment letter with the company’s letterhead, specifying the employee’s name, job title, salary, and the employment start date.
  2. Current personal bank statements for the last 6 months
  3. Income Tax Return (ITR) form or proof of income tax deducted at the salary’s source.
  4. Additional documents such as salary slips may be requested.
  5. Leave permission from the employer.
  • Self-employed:
  1. A copy of the business license 
  2. Current company’s bank statement of the latest 6 months
  3. Income Tax Return form
  4. Additional documents such as the company’s memorandum, ownership records, and partnership deeds, etc. may be required.
  • Students:
  1. Proof of enrollment at a UK school, university or any other educational institution.
  2. No objection letter from the enrolled education institution stating that you have contractual obligations in your home country which you will return to.
  • Retirees:

Proof of retirement funds; such as 401 (k), provident fund, pension or any other income statement of the latest 6 months.

  • Unemployed and married to an EU citizen:
  1. A Confirmation of Employment letter, not older than 3 months, from their spouse’s employer showing the position the spouse holds within the company as well as the employment contract starting date.
  2. Spouse’s valid passport
  3. A marriage certificate in English or officially translated into English. It must also be certified as a true copy by the Embassy of the country where the marriage took place.

Additional Documents for Schengen Visa for Minors

Parents or legal guardians who are applying for a Schengen Visa for a child under the age of 18 will be required to submit the following additional documents.

  • Birth certificate of the minor
  • Signed travel consent from both parents as well as the application form.
  • A recent school attendance letter signed by the Head of School.
  • A family court order in the case where one parent has full custody of the minor
  • Copies of the IDs and passports of both parents.
  • Death certificate if any of the parents passed away
  • A notarized parental authorization from both parents if the minor will be traveling alone.
  • A formal letter from the other parent stating they have no objection to the minor traveling if the minor is traveling with only one parent.

Documents Required for Specific Schengen Visa Types

  • Tourist Visa

This visa is for applicants who intend to travel purely for tourist purposes, i.e. sightseeing, leisure, and experiencing their culture, architecture, foods and much more. To apply for this visa, you will be required to produce the following additional required documents to get a tourist Schengen visa:

  1. If you’ll be financing the trip, a bank statement will be required, preferably not older than 6 months.
  2. A detailed travel itinerary including a letter from the applicant stating the purpose of their travel, how long they plan to stay in the Schengen state, hotel reservations and return flight tickets.
  3. In the case of organized tourism (via travel agencies): a letter from the tour organizer and confirmation of booking of the organized trip from the host company will be required. If the confirmation of booking does not include proof of prepayment, proof of down-payment might be required.
  • Airport Transit Visa

Certain nationalities have to apply for an airport transit visa to be allowed to make a stopover at an airport in a Schengen Area, without entering the Schengen Country. The following are additional required documents to get a Schengen transit visa are:

  1. A valid visa for the country of final destination (if needed)
  2. Confirmed flight ticket to the final destination
  • Transit Visa

This visa type allows for holders to travel through multiple Schengen countries to a non-Schengen country by car, coach, or plane, as long as the travel lasts no more than 5 days. This visa type would be helpful if you desire to stay at a hotel that is outside the airport before taking a connecting flight. To apply for this visa, you’ll be required to have the following additional documents:

  1. A valid visa for the country of final destination (if needed
  2. Confirmed flight ticket to the final destination
  3. An official letter from the shipping company in the Schengen country where the sea travelers will disembark
  • Business Visa

This visa is for applicants who intend to travel for business purposes, i.e. visiting a business/company for meetings, recruitments, training or any other work-related activities. The additional required documents to get a business Schengen visa, you’ll need the following documents:

  1. A cover letter from the applicant explaining the purpose of the visit in detail
  2. An invitation letter written by the partner company in the Schengen zone faxed also to the corresponding consulate.
  3. A brief profile of the applicants working place.
  4. Statement of financial responsibility. Who will be covering the applicant’s travel expenses during their stay in the Schengen Zone, must be stated either in the employer’s letter or the partner company’s invitation.
  5. If attending, entry tickets for fairs, congresses or conference
  6. Valid Certificate of Membership with local Chamber of Commerce or Trade Associations where applicable
  7. If needed, other documents showing evidence of past trade relations and correspondence between the two companies
  • Visiting Family/Friends

This visa type is for applicants planning to visit their friends or family that legally reside in the Schengen area. To apply for this visa, you’ll be required to have the following additional required documents to get a Schengen Visit visa:

  1. Letter of Invitation. Written and signed by the relative/friend residing in the Schengen country indicating at the very least, their name, address and have a copy of their identity card or passport. In case that the friend/relative is not a citizen of this Schengen country, a copy of the residency permit will also be required.
  2. In the case where you do not have the required minimum amount to finance the trip or your trip is being financed by the friends/family you intend to visit, your friends/family will be required to sign an “official affidavit of support” at the corresponding office in their place of residence. You need to be able to produce an original copy of this affidavit when applying for a Schengen visa.
  3. Proof of familial relationship if necessary
  • Medical Visa

This visa type allows its holder to get the medical care they need at any medical institution in a Schengen Region for 90 days within a 180-period. If treatment is expected to be longer than that, the applicant should consider applying for a National Visa and state medical treatment as their purpose for travel. The additional required documents to get a Schengen Medical Visit visa are:

  1. A letter from a doctor, clinic or hospital in the country of residence of the visa applicant, providing background information about the current medical treatment and confirming the need for the specific medical treatment to be provided in the Schengen state.
  2. Official confirmation of the treatment/appointment by the receiving medical institution (hospital/clinic) in the Schengen country.
  3. Proof of financial subsistence, showing that the applicant has sufficient funds to cover the medical expenses and other related expenses throughout their treatment in the Schengen state. This could in the form of:
  • Bank statements not older than 6 months.
  • Letter of sponsorship plus bank statements of the sponsor.
  • Proof of prepayments of the treatment and bank statement for other related expenses.
  • If the government of the applicant’s home country will be covering the cost of the treatment, a note from the Ministry of Health of applicant’s home country – which must declare the readiness of the relevant government of the applicant’s home country to cover his medical treatment costs – will be required.
  1. A letter from the medical facility or doctor in the Schengen country indicating the contact with the applicant's local doctor, nature of the treatment, estimated time of recovery and any need for return visits.
  2. A certificate from the applicant’s home national medical authority proving incapacity of the country to offer the appropriate medical treatment for the applicant’s medical condition. 
  3. Correspondence between the sending medical doctor and the receiving medical doctor
  4. Confirmed accommodation in the receiving medical institution
  5. Copies of valid Schengen visas for any accompanying family, friend, minor or any other third party.

Schengen visa requirements: Documents Required According to Specific Purpose of Travel

  • Studying

This visa is offered to students wishing to attend any type of educational institution in the Schengen area. They can either choose to apply for a 3-month Schengen study visa or National Visa (category “D”) is they plan on being in the country longer. The additional required documents to get a Schengen Student visa include:

  • Two application forms, completed with correct information and signed at the bottom
  • A copy of passport’s biometric data
  • Proof of academic qualifications. Diploma, academic records, attestation of the application for equivalence or decision/dispatch of equivalence.
  • Letter of acceptance at an educational institution in the Schengen country. A recent, official and signed letter stating the applicant’s name, type of studies, length of studies, and weekly study hours.
  • Proof of financial means. The applicant needs to provide documents that show they can reside and pay for the university/college/school fees, books and cater for other expenses needed to sustain themselves during their stay in the Schengen zone. The document can be one of the following:
    • Scholarship. Original attestation of an official scholarship of a minimum of 631€/month.
    • Bank account statement for the last three months.
  • Sponsorship.
  • Employment

It is important to note that there isn’t a Schengen work visa. While you can get a Schengen visa for other purposes, such as tourism, visiting family and friends, business, medical purposes, you cannot get a Schengen visa to work in Europe. You can, however, work in the Schengen Area if you hold a National Visa (category “D”) for employment purposes issued by one of the 26 European countries that are part of the Schengen Zone. To obtain this visa, you’ll be required to produce the following additional documents to meet the Schengen visa requirements:

  1. An additional application form to the one mentioned in the common documents requirements section
  2. An employment contract or letter of intent from your future employer residing in the Schengen territory.
  • Joining a Spouse Residing in EU

The additional required documents to obtain a Schengen visa to join a Spouse residing in the EU are:

  1. Submit two application forms instead of one.
  2. Original marriage certificate.
  3. A copy of the spouse’s passport, if he/she is an EU citizen. 
  4. A copy of the spouse’s residency permit if he/she is not an EU citizen, but only lives in a Schengen country.
  • Official Visit

To get a Schengen Visa for an official visit you will be required to produce a signed letter of invitation containing the following additional required documents to get a Schengen Oficial Visit visa:

  • Applicant's personal data
  • Reason for the visit to the Schengen Area
  • Intended length of stay
  • Information of the person responsible for supporting the applicant's stay financially during his/her stay in the Schengen Area
  • Date and contact details of the host company
  • Participating in Cultural, Sports or Religious events in Europe

The additional required documents to obtain a Schengen visa for Cultural, Sports or Religious events are:

  1. Event Information such as invitation letters, entry tickets, enrollments, detailed programs and other documents that indicate relevant information about the event.
  2. Proof of previous attendance. Participation in previous festivals and ceremonies (cultural, religious), sports competitions, winners certificates/medals, proof of world/international ranking (sports).

Do you have plans to travel this weekend? 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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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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