Europe, the second smallest continent in the world is also the world’s most visited region. The Schengen visa has certainly aided in the growth of the number of visitors to Europe. In simple terms, this is an endorsement issued by Schengen countries to allow people to enter the Schengen region via air, land, or water and reside for a duration of up to 90 days in a 180-day period.
Ever since its establishment, there is a myth that this can be used as a “Europe visa”. Make no mistake, the Schengen visa does allow people to enter the European continent, however, you cannot enter 26 out of the 44 of these European nations. The entry is limited to only the European countries that are a part of the Schengen agreement.
Although, not everyone requires the visa to enter the region. EU nationals and citizens of other countries with visa-free arrangements are eligible to travel through the Schengen freely. Since India is not among either of these exceptionals, a Schengen visa for Indians is mandatory to enter the Schengen zone. This detailed Schengen visa application guide will not only explain the visa but also has detailed information on the Schengen itself.
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.
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.
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. There are 26 countries that are a part of the Schengen. The Schengen visa countries include 22 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 -
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.
Also, note that the following countries, despite not being a part of the Schengen zone, will allow entry with a multiple-entry Schengen visa -
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 -
The Limited Territorial Visa is a type of the USV which is issued in certain extreme cases of humanitarian issues and allows the holder to travel to only the specific Schengen state(s) as mentioned in the visa sticker.
The Schengen visas can be classified into the following types based on the purpose of the visit -
Due to the fact that the Schengen area is the world’s largest visa-free zone, a large number of nationalities are free to enter the Schengen without the requirement of a Schengen visa. Apart from the nationals of the Schengen visa countries, the visa-exempt countries for the Schengen area include the EU nationals, the UK citizens, and other countries that have visa-exemption agreements. Even though there is no Schengen visa for UK citizens as the country is among the two opt-outs of the Schengen, UK nationals are free to enter the Schengen region. All other nationalities apart from these will require a visa to enter the zone. However, note that official delegates from certain nations are also free to enter the Schengen without a visa.
Europe is one of the most visited travel destinations with over 10 million Indians visiting per year. In fact, the Schengen countries of Switzerland, Italy, and Spain are among the most visited places by Indians. However, India not being among the visa-exempt countries has no visa-free arrangement with any of the Schengen nations. As a result, people travelling from India will require a Schengen visa from India.
Most of the Schengen countries have an Embassy in India. As a result, these diplomatic missions are the ones responsible for issuing a Schengen visa for Indians. In the case that a particular nation doesn’t have its embassy in India, the Schengen visa can be issued by the embassy of the nation which has undertaken the visa processing of the other nation. For example, due to the absence of Liechtenstinian embassy in India, the Schengen visa application to Liechtenstein has to be made at a Switzerland embassy.
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 -
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.