Schengen Visa for Indians

Schengen Visa for Indians - Europe Visa Guide

From history buffs and art lovers to business professionals and aspiring students, Europe's charm, thriving industries, and renowned universities draw travellers from around the world. Indian travellers are no exception, eager to experience this exciting continent for countless reasons.

One important step in the process is understanding the Schengen visa. Often misunderstood, the Schengen visa isn't a visa for all of Europe, but it opens doors to exciting European destinations within a specific region. This in-depth guide, designed specifically for Indian travelers, walks you through the application process, ensuring a smooth journey towards exploring the wonders of Europe's Schengen Area.

What is Schengen?

The Schengen (Schengen pronunciation - Shen-ghen) is the world’s largest free travel area. Covering most of Europe, the Schengen allows passport-free travel between all countries that are within the zone thanks to the Schengen agreement. Located in the country of Luxembourg, the Schengen agreement was signed on a houseboat in a river near the town of Schengen. And hence, the Schengen meaning is just from the name of the town.

Schengen Visa

What is the Schengen Area?

Consider the Schengen Area as Europe's passport-free zone. The Schengen area is an area encompassing 29 European countries. It's a significant achievement, letting people move freely within a large group of European countries. Think of it like travelling between states in a country, without the hassle of border checks.

This all began in 1985 with just five countries. Now, it's grown into the world's largest free travel area! The name "Schengen" comes from the town in Luxembourg where the original agreement was signed.

A Schengen visa allows you to move freely between Schengen countries. Countries work together to maintain secure external borders called the Schengen Borders Code, which contains all the rules.

What is the Schengen Visa?

The Schengen visa is a short-term entry permit that allows people to travel to any of the members of the Schengen zone and stay there for a maximum of 90 days in a half-year period. The visa allows you to move within the Schengen zone as many times as required, as there are no border restrictions between the countries. The visa allows you to enter the Schengen states for various purposes such as tourism, business, study, etc.

Note that if you have to stay for longer than 90 days, you must apply for a National visa of the particular country instead of the Schengen visa.

What are the Schengen Countries?

The Schengen countries are a list of nations that take part in the Schengen agreement and allow people to move freely without having to go through passport or border control. 29 countries are a part of the Schengen. The Schengen visa countries include 25 countries that are a part of the EU (European Union) and 4 non-EU countries that are a part of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association). The Schengen visa countries list is as follows -

  1. EU Schengen States -

    The latest additions are Bulgaria and Romania added on 31st March 2024.

  2. The Non-EU Schengen States -

Note that the states of Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City, despite not being officially a part of the Schengen, have open-borders with the Schengen zone.

Schengen Visa Countries

Also, note that the following countries, despite not being a part of the Schengen zone, will allow entry with a multiple-entry Schengen visa -

Things to Know Before Applying for Schengen Visa

  • Your Itinerary - The Schengen visa process starts with determining your first port of entry (the first country you'll arrive in within the Schengen Area) and your main destination. You will apply through that country's embassy or consulate.
  • Length of Stay - Do you plan to stay less than 90 days within 180 days? If so, a Schengen visa is likely the right choice. Longer stays may require a national visa. Plan carefully, as you must stay within your visa.
  • Purpose of Your Trip - The specific purpose of your visit (tourism, business, study, etc.) determines the correct Schengen visa category. Choose the category that directly matches your intended activities in the Schengen Area.
  • Number of Entries: - Schengen visas offer single, double, or multiple-entry options. Choose the type that best suits your planned travel within the Schengen Area.

Schengen Visa Types

The Uniform Schengen Visa (USV) allows individuals to travel to all of the Schengen nations with a single visa. However, you will still be allowed to spend only a maximum of 90 days in a period of 180-days in any of the member countries. The main two categories of the USV are as follows -

  • Uniform Schengen Visa (USV)

    • Type A: Airport Transit Visa - Type A/ Airport Transit Visa allows you to remain within a Schengen airport's designated transit area while awaiting your connecting flight. It is mandatory for travelers from India with connecting flights to a non-Schengen destination.
    • Type B: Transit Visa - Type B/ Transit Visa allows transit through multiple Schengen countries for up to 5 days. It is necessary for travel to a non-Schengen destination with connections through the Schengen Area.
    • ‘C’ Category - It is the most common type for visits up to 90 days within 6 months. Type C visa is issued for purposes such as tourism, visiting friends/family, or business. -
      • Single-entry -Single entry to the Schengen Area. Visa expires after you leave. It is signified with ‘1’ on the visa sticker.
      • Double-entry - Two entries into the Schengen Area. The visa expires after the second exit. It is signified with ‘2’ on the visa sticker.
      • Multiple-entry - Unlimited entries during the visa's validity, with a maximum stay of 90 days within any 6 months. It is signified with a ‘MULT’ on the visa sticker.
    • 'D' Category - Type D/ National Visa is for long-term stays exceeding 90 days. It is issued when you travel for study, work, or residency within a Schengen country. It can be issued in single-entry or multiple-entry formats with rules determined by the specific country.

Schengen Visa for Indians - Schengen Visa from India

Europe remains a top destination for Indian travelers, with millions visiting each year. Switzerland, Italy, and Spain are especially popular. However, since India doesn't have a visa-free arrangement with any Schengen country, a Schengen visa is a must for travel.

Fortunately, most Schengen countries have embassies in India that issue these visas. In cases where a country lacks an embassy, you can often apply through the embassy of a partner nation. For example, if you're traveling to Liechtenstein, you'd apply through a Swiss embassy in New Delhi.

Schengen Visa for Indians

Did you know? The number of Schengen visas issued to Indians has skyrocketed! In 2021, 130,427 visas were issued, and that number increased to a whopping 671,928 in 2022.

How to apply for a Schengen Visa?

The process of applying for a Schengen visa involves several steps. In fact, it also depends on the particular embassy as well. However, the general steps involved in the Schengen visa application are as follows -

  1. Decide the exact type of visa you require. Based on the purpose and duration, you must choose the one apt for you. If you require a long-term visa, you must apply for the National visa and not Schengen.
  2. Find out where you will have to submit the application. Depending on the country you are applying from and to, you may be able to submit the application at the embassy/consulate or one of the visa application centres. Also, depending on your port of entry and the main destination, you must apply to the specific Schengen country.
  3. Proceed to make your application on time. You must apply at least 15 days before your intended travel date, but not more than 3 months before the expected date of travel.
  4. Fill in the Schengen application form. Regardless of the country, the application form is of the same format. However, certain Schengen countries may have online application forms available.
  5. Proceed to book a visa appointment at the respective centre. The appointment can be at an embassy/consulate or a visa application centre depending upon the regulations.
  6. Attend the visa appointment along with the documents and the fees. You must submit the application and pay the fees here. You may be required to attend a visa interview in certain special cases. However, as a mandatory requirement, all applicants for the Schengen visa must submit their biometrics.

Note that you do not have to submit your biometrics in the case that you have already submitted them for a Schengen visa in the past 5 years.

After your successful application, you may pick up the passport with the visa stamp directly from the embassy/consulate/VAC, or have the VAC deliver it to you for an additional charge.

Schengen Visa Requirements

As per the Schengen visa requirements, to be able to obtain a Schengen visa, the following are the general Schengen visa documents required for an Indian passport holder. However, based on the exact country applying to, as well as the purpose of the visit, there are additional specific documents.

Document Requirements for Indian Passport Holders

  • Schengen visa form correctly filled and signed.
  • Two passport photos must be attached taken against white background of size (35mm x 45mm) with 80% face size.
  • Passport valid for at least 3 months beyond return date with at least two blank pages.
  • Travel Visa Insurance covering expenses up to 30,000 Euros within entire schengen area.
  • A cover letter stating the purpose of visit and itinerary.
  • Flight itinerary reservation with proof of accomodation for whole intended stay.
  • Professional documents are required.

Schengen Visa Fee

The total Schengen visa cost can vary depending upon the embassy you are applying to. Since the fees for the Schengen visas are mentioned as Euros, Koruna, krone, etc, It can also depend on the foreign exchange rates of the respective currency. Apart from the actual visa fees, there may be additional charges as well. You must check the exact amount before starting your application.


Age: 0 - 6 Years
Stay Duration: 3 Months
Processing Time: 15 Days
  • Visa Fees


Age: 6 - 12 Years
Stay Duration: 3 Months
Processing Time: 15 Days
  • Visa Fees


Age: Above 12 Years
Stay Duration: 3 Months
Processing Time: 15 Days
  • Visa Fees

Schengen Visa Processing Time

The Schengen visa processing time can vary slightly depending on the destination country, the number of entries, the validity, stay duration, the volume of applications at the respective embassy, as well as the previous travel history of the traveller. Usually, the Schengen visa time to process is within 15 working days. However, this may take up to 30 or 60 days in certain extreme circumstances.

Schengen Visa Travel Insurance

Regardless of the country, purpose, or the duration of the visa, you will require a Schengen visa travel insurance. The Schengen travel insurance must be valid for the entire duration and throughout the entire region. The insurance must have at least 30000 Euros for medical emergencies. However, note that the travel insurance for Schengen visa must be from an insurance company that is approved by the consular posts of the Schengen. The Schengen visa insurance will cover your expenses in cases of any medical situations such as an injury, accident, or other sudden events.

Here are some of the approved list of Indian travel insurance companies of the consular posts of schengen states:

  • Acko General Insurance Ltd.
  • Aditya Birla Health Insurance Company
  • Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd
  • Travel Prime Super Age Policy
  • Care Health Insurance Limited All Plans
  • Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • GO Digit General Insurance Ltd.
  • HDFC ERGO General Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • Policies for Schengen Countries
  • IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance Co. Ltd
  • Manipal Cigna Health Insurance Company Limited
  • Niva Bupa Health Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • National Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • The New India Assurance Co. Ltd.
  • The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • Travel Care Policy - Schengen Plan
  • Royal Sundaram General Insurance Company Ltd
  • SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • Star Health & Allied Insurance Co. Ltd
  • Tata-AIG General Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • United India Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • Universal Sompo General Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • Future Generali India Insurance Company Ltd.
  • Zuno General Insurance Ltd. No age limit
  • Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Co. Ltd

Buy your Schengen Travel Insurance with us. We advise visa applicants only travel medical insurance issued by Indian insurance companies that are accepted for Schengen visa procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Schengen Visa Works?

The Schengen visa works in a way that the entire Schengen region is a single country. As a result, one Uniform Schengen Visa is enough to travel to any of the countries in the Schengen region. Although, you may still have to meet the conditions of the individual countries while visiting them.

Is Schengen Visa Easy to Get?

The application for the Schengen visa in general, is fairly simple and straightforward. However, there are several instances where there is a high possibility of several complications regarding the documentation, as well as the process depending on the type of the visa. As a result, it is highly recommended that you consult a visa agency to help with your application.

How Long is Schengen Visa Valid?

The validity of the Schengen visa is dependent on the consular officer processing your application. In fact, the officer will check the strength of your application, the documents and determine the validity. For example, if you have a strong application that suggests that you require to visit the Schengen region for a long period and that you are a frequent traveller, you may even get Schengen visas that are valid for 1 year, 3 years, and even 5 years. However, note that the stay duration is still limited to a maximum of 90 days in a half-year.

Does Schengen Visa Cover UK?

No, the Schengen visa is not applicable to the UK, and neither does the country issue a Schengen. As a result, you cannot enter the UK with a Schengen visa. Similarly, you cannot visit the Schengen with just a UK visa (non-EU citizens). The UK, along with Ireland are the two opt-outs from the EU-Schengen agreement.

Which Schengen Visa is Easy to Get?

Usually, a single-entry visa is far easier to get than a multiple-entry visa. This is due to the fact that a multiple-entry Schengen will require you to show evidence that you are a frequent traveller and that you will require to travel multiple times into the Schengen zone. Also, the ‘C’ category tourist visas are the most common type of visa that is granted. As a result, these involve the less complex procedure, documents and processing than the rest.

Why are Schengen Visas Rejected?

Schengen visas, similar to the visas for other nations, are rejected for a wide number of reasons. The most common reasons for rejection include - criminal convictions in the past, fake documents, insufficient evidence to prove the purpose of travel, damaged or invalid passport, invalid invitation letter, insufficient financial means, etc.

Can Schengen Visa be Applied Online?

The mode of applications for a Schengen visa is dependent upon the country you are applying to, and the country you are applying from. The applications may be done online or offline depending on these. For example, the application for a Belgium or German Schengen is done online. However, the application for a Switzerland or Slovakia is done offline. Despite this, the submission of the documents must be done offline. There is no online mode of scanning and uploading the documents for a Schengen visa.

Can Schengen Visa be Extended?

No, as per the regulations, the Schengen visas are non-extendable in normal circumstances. However, in certain extreme cases such as a Force Majeure or other humanitarian reasons, you may be granted an extension. In all other cases, you are expected to leave the country on or before the expiry.

Is Schengen Visa Valid for Turkey?

The answer to this is - partially yes. Nationals of a few countries that include Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, etc can enter Turkey for short term visit if they possess a valid Schengen visa. However, they will still have to obtain a Turkish e-visa that is valid for 1 month.

Is Schengen Visa Valid for Switzerland?

Yes, even though Switzerland is not a part of the EU, the country has signed the Schengen agreement thereby being a Schengen member. As a result, the nation issues and accepts the Schengen visa. You can, therefore, enter Switzerland with a valid Schengen visa issued by any of the members.

Is Schengen Visa Valid for Croatia?

Yes. Croatia, despite not being a member of the Schengen allows entry to visitors who possess a valid Schengen visa. The country has been a member of the EU since 2013 and is on the verge of being a Schengen nation as well. However, the stay cannot be more than 90 days in a 6-month period. Also, you will have to possess a multiple-entry type of Schengen in order to visit.

Is Schengen Visa Valid for Ireland?

No, the Schengen visa is not valid for Ireland. Visitors to the country will require an Irish visa. Ireland, even though an EU nation, is not a part of the Schengen. Ireland and UK are provided with opt-outs to the Schengen being a part of the EU legislature.

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