With several companies and industries in Europe, it is a popular destination for businessmen from all across the world. This has been further aided by the introduction of the Schengen business visa which lets people enter the country to attend business meetings, conferences, trade fairs, and other similar business activities.
Doing business in Europe has never been this easy. In fact, you don’t even need to have the citizenship of the country to do business. All you will need is to possess this business visa.
What is Schengen Business Visa?
The business visa for Schengen is an endorsement that lets individuals travel to the region to take part in business-related activities. The Schengen business visa validity will depend on the decision of the consular officer processing your application. However, the maximum Schengen business visa duration allowed is 90 days in a 180-day period. This ‘C’ category visa can be availed in the form of single-entry type, double-entry, or even the multiple-entry types.
How to Apply Schengen Business Visa
In order to start a Schengen business visa application, the first thing you will have to do is to check that you are eligible to travel to the region on a business permit. If you aren’t, you must apply for an alternate type of visa. Now, the application process is the same as all the other categories. Although the exact process varies slightly from country to country. The general steps involved in the application can be mentioned as follows -
- At first, you must find out where you have to lodge your application. Depending on the country you are applying from and your destination country, you may be able to submit the application directly at one of the embassy/consulates situated in your home nation or through visa application centres (VAC).
- You must then proceed to make your application. You should apply at least 15 days before your intended travel date, However, you cannot make the application more than 3 months before the expected date of travel.
- Proceed to fill in the Schengen application form. In the form, you will have to mention that the reason for your visit as ‘business’. However, certain countries may also provide facilities for filling the application on an online portal.
- You must then book an appointment for the document and biometric submission. The appointment must be at an embassy/consulate or a VAC depending upon the specific requirements of the respective diplomatic mission. You may be able to do this using the online facilities provided by the embassy/consulate/VAC or by contacting them directly.
- Attend the visa appointment along with the documents for the business category. You must submit an application and pay the fees at the centre. In some cases, you may be able to pay your fees online at the time of filling out the application form. As a mandatory requirement, all applicants for the Schengen will also have to submit their biometrics at the respective appointment centre.
Note that, in certain cases, you may also be required to attend an interview with the consular officer at the application centre/embassy/consulate.
Who should apply or eligibility for Schengen Business Visa?
To be eligible to apply for the business visa for Schengen, you must meet the following conditions -
- You must be living in the country you are lodging the application. If you are residing on a residence permit in a foreign country, you may apply it to the corresponding visa issuing authority there.
- You must possess a valid passport that meets all the requirements.
- The main purpose of your visit must be to take part in business-related activities in the country. Alternately, you are free to take part in tourism and related activities.
- You must be invited by a country in the Schengen to do business, or you must possess entry tickets to trade fairs, conferences, etc.
- You must possess sufficient funds to cover all your expenses during the entire stay period in the country.
- You must apply to the embassy/consulate of a country only if -
- The country is your only travel destination, or
- The country is one of your multiple Schengen destinations, in which case you will be spending the majority of the time there, or,
- The specific country is your port of entry into the Schengen region.
Documents required for Schengen Business Visa
As per the Schengen business visa requirements, there are several documents you will need to submit for the application. The following are the general Schengen business visa documents to be submitted. However, based on the countries involved, there may be additional documentation. Also, based on the applicant’s employment status, they will have to provide additional documentation.
- A valid passport according to the regulations.
- A letter from your employer addressed to the embassy stating the details and purpose of the visit.
- Flight reservation for the round trip.
- Invitation letter from a company in the Schengen nation stating the entire details of the travel. Or entry tickets to trade fairs and conferences.
- Medical travel insurance coverage up to at least 30000 Euros.
- Proof of occupation such as employment letter, ITR, etc.
- Financial documents such as bank statements, passbook copy, etc.
Photo Specification for Schengen Visa for Business
The two photos to be submitted for the application must be according to the following specifications -
- Dimensions: 35mm X 45mm
- Colour: Coloured
- Head must occupy the central position
- Must be captured within the last 3 months
- Background: Solid, plain white or grey
- 80% face coverage
- Neutral expression
- Glasses: Non-thick framed and prescription glasses
- Headgears - only for religious reasons
- Facial hair - permitted
Schengen Business Visa Fees
The fees for the permit is the same for all the categories of the Schengen permits. As a result, the fees for an adult is 60 Euros. However, the fees can be updated without any prior notice. Also, since the fees paid in the country of application is in the home currency, the amount you will be paying may differ slightly based on the foreign exchange rates. Hence, it is necessary that you check the exact Schengen business visa cost before starting the application. Now, apart from the application fee, there may be biometric charges, express processing charges (if any), and other service charges levied.
After you apply for Schengen Business
Upon successfully submitting your application, the application package is then forwarded to the consular section of the embassy/consulate. Note that even if you have submitted it at a VAC, the application will be sent to the embassy/consulate for processing. The VAC has no power over the processing. This is solely in the hands of the embassy/consulate.
On the approval of the visa, you can collect your passport stamped with the visa directly from the embassy/consulate/VAC, or you can ask the VAC to deliver it to you for an additional charge. However, you will have to opt for this option during your visa appointment.
Processing Time of Schengen Business Visa
The processing time for the business permits depends on the number of entries, the validity, your previous travel history, as well as on the volume of applications at the embassy. Since the volume of applications for business visa for Schengen is lower than the tourist, they are usually processed slightly faster. In normal conditions, the application is processed within 15 working days. However, in certain extreme conditions, this may take up to 30 or even 60 days. As a result, you must apply for it well in advance.
How to check Schengen Business Visa status?
Due to the digitalization of visa information in Europe, in most cases, you will be able to track your visa status easily. However, this again depends from country to country. If, however, you have made your application at a VAC, you will be able to do the Schengen visa status tracking by using the online facilities provided by them. In some cases, embassies also provide similar facilities. You can also track the status of your application by contacting your travel agency to have them track it for you.
When you have Schengen Business Visa?
Once you have received your Schengen visa for business , you must keep in mind the following important points to ensure that you have a pleasant business trip to the country -
Before travelling -
Before you travel to the Schengen country, you must note the following -
- You must carry all your travel documents. These include the passport, visa, invitation letter from the company, and the copies of the documents you have submitted during your visa application.
- You must travel to the country within 6 months or as mentioned in the visa sticker.
- Note the expiry date, validity, and the number of entries mentioned on your visa sticker.
At the border -
Once you are at the border control at the Schengen port of entry, you must keep in mind the following -
- You may have to show your travel documents to the officers at the port of entry.
- You will be stamped with the date of entry in your passport. Your stay duration cannot be more than 90 days from this date.
In the Schengen country -
Once you have entered the Schengen nation, you will have to keep in mind the following points -
- You must strictly follow the 90/180 rule for stay.
- While you are on a business permit, you cannot work or be employed on the payroll of a Schengen company.
- You are free to take part in tourism or other related activities. You may also do unpaid volunteer or charity work.
- Ensure that you carry a copy of your travel documents while you are travelling within the country.
- You are free to visit any other Schengen countries with this as well unless you have been issued with the Limited Territory Visa (LTV).
- You must strictly abide by the immigration laws of the country as well as respect their customs and culture.