With over 10 million Indians travelling to Europe every year, the European continent is one of the top preferred destinations for Indians. In fact, the number of Schengen visa applications from India is among the highest in the world. Be it tourism, business, work, or even studies, people from all over the country can get a Schengen visa for Indians to easily visit Europe.
As India is not among the visa-exempt nations for the Schengen, all Indians nationals will require the Schengen visa from India. However, for certain Schengen nations, Indian diplomatic and official passport holders may not require a visa to enter.
Before you apply for Schengen Visa from India
Before you start an application for a Schengen visa from India, there are a few things you must determine first. These are to help you apply correctly and efficiently. The following are some of the parameters you will have to keep in mind before starting it.
Types of Schengen Visa for Indians
The first thing you would need to determine is the type of visa you will be applying for. Based on the purpose of the visit, there are a number of Schengen visa types available. You must ensure that you mention the correct purpose and apply for the right type. Applying for a category that is not related to your purpose can lead to a visa rejection. The following are the types of Schengen visa issued for Indians -
- Visiting family/friends
- Cultural/Sports/Religious events
- Official visits
- Medical reasons
Which Country to Apply?
Now that you know which type of visa you have to apply for, you must then figure out the country you should be applying to. Though the entire region acts as a single state, the visa is issued by the particular Schengen destination country.
Schengen Visa Rules for Indian
As per the Schengen visa rules for Indians, the destination country should be as follows -
- If you are visiting only one country, your application must be made to that particular country.
- If you are visiting multiple countries, submit your application:
- To the country where you will spend most days, ( In the case of an unequal amount of days in each), or
- To the country of your port of entry
- If there is no diplomatic mission of your destination country, you must apply to the embassy/consulate of the country to whom the destination country has outsourced the application.
Schengen Visa Rules for First Point of Entry
Your destination country is also your port of entry in cases where you are planning to spend equal amounts of time in all the multiple countries. The port of entry is defined as your first destination in the region. In these cases, you will have to apply to the country that includes your port of entry.
For example, If you are travelling to Munich from India, spending 15 days in Germany, and then travelling to Austria to spend 15 days there, you must apply to the German embassy in India as Munich in Germany is your port of entry.
Duration of Stay
In case you are spending an unequal amount of time in multiple countries, you are supposed to apply to the state where you would be spending the majority of your travelling period.
For example, If you are travelling to Munich from India, staying in Germany for 15 days, and then travelling to Austria for 25 days, you must apply to the Austrian embassy in India.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa from India?
In order to apply for a Schengen visa from India, the first step is to determine the type of visa you would need. You must also ensure that you apply well in advance in order to cover for any possible delays in the processing times. After that, the Indian applicant must meet certain eligibility requirements as stated below -
Eligibility for Schengen Visa for Indian Citizens
- You must be a citizen of India residing in India, or you must be a foreign citizen who is living on a temporary or permanent resident permit in India.
- You must possess a passport valid for at least 6 months from your intended date of travel.
- You must possess sufficient funds to cover your expenses in the country.
- Your purpose of the visit must be according to the type of visa you are applying for.
Schengen Visa Process India
Once you are eligible to apply for the Schengen permit, you can proceed to start the application. However, the process of application can vary from embassy to embassy. Different countries have their own procedure. However, most countries follow the basic general procedure for the Schengen visa for Indians as follows -
Schengen Visa Form India
The first and foremost step is to fill in your application form. In most cases, you will be able to download the application form from the website of the respective embassy/consulate or VAC (Visa Application Centre). In certain cases, you may even be able to fill in the form online.
The Schengen application form will require you to provide your basic details, the purpose and duration of your stay and other travel details, as well as details on your travel document. Ensure that you fill in the application form clearly and truthfully.
Schengen Visa Fees for Indian
You must proceed to pay the visa fees. The Schengen visa fees for Indian nationals are usually paid in INR. However, due to the fees originally mentioned in Euros, there may be slight fluctuations as a result of the foreign exchange rates. The fee is also different for adults and children. You must check this before applying.
You can pay the fees online in certain cases while making the application. In other cases, you will have to pay for it at the appointment centre during your appointment. Apart from the application fee, you may also be required to pay biometric charges as well as other service charges.
Book Schengen Visa Appointment India
In order to submit your application, you must book an appointment. The appointment can be at one of the VACs to whom the country have outsourced their applications or it can be done directly at the embassy/consulate of the respective country. To make the appointment, you can use the portal of the VAC or the embassy. In certain cases, you can also contact them via phone or email to book it. You must then attend the appointment at the respective slot.
As a mandatory rule under the regulations, all the applicants for a Schengen visa will have to provide biometrics. Once you attend the visa appointment, your Schengen visa biometric India will be taken at the respective centre. Your fingerprint and photo will be taken digitally and stored in the VIS (Visa Information System). Thanks to the database, once you have given your biometrics, you do not have to provide it again for a Schengen visa in the next 5 years.
Attend the Schengen Visa Interview India
In certain cases, the embassy will require you to attend an interview. Although most of the interviews are done during your appointment, in certain cases, you may be asked to attend it after you have submitted your application on an alternate day.
The Schengen visa interview questions India revolve around your travel. These can include questions about your -
- Purpose of visit
- Duration of stay
- Source of funds
- Marital status
- Accommodation in the destination
- Educational background
- Employment details, etc.
At your visa appointment centre, you will be asked to turn in your documents. You must submit all the documents as required for the particular category. These include the passport, photos, application form, and all the supporting documents. In most cases, you will be required to submit the original copies. However, photocopies of certain documents are also sufficient.
Ensure that you submit only legitimate documents. Providing forged documents can lead to a direct visa rejection.
When to Apply for Schengen Visa from India
Normally, any type of Schengen visa from India is processed under 15 working days. However, in certain extreme cases, this can even take longer up to 30 to 60 days as well. As a result, you should apply at least 2 weeks before your travel date. This is to ensure that you do not miss your flight because of a delayed visa. However, note that you cannot apply more than 3 months before the date of intended travel.
Where to Apply for a Schengen Visa in India
Most of the Schengen applications in India are made at the VACs. The VACs are located across India in the major metropolitan cities. However, note that while making the application, you must apply at the VAC that is according to the jurisdiction. I.e, based on your state of residence for the past 6 months. You can make the application to the Schengen visa Mumbai application centres, Schengen visa Bangalore application centres, Schengen visa Pune application, etc as per the jurisdiction.
Apart from the Visa Application Centres, you may be able to submit the applications directly at the embassies or consulates of the particular Schengen nation in India. The embassies of the Schengen countries are situated in New Delhi. However, note that there is no Liechtenstein embassy in India. As a result, in this case, the Swiss embassy is responsible for the visa applications to Liechtenstein.
Documents Required for Schengen Visa from India
One of the fundamental factors in applying for the visa is submitting the proper documents. Based on different types of permits and the country you are applying to, there are various Schengen visa India documents required. However, the general set of documents required as per the Schengen visa requirements for Indians are as follows -
- A valid passport as per the specifications
- 2 passport photos as per the specifications
- Filled and signed Schengen application form. If filled online, print out of the completed form along with the sign
- A covering letter mentioning the details of the visit
- Flight reservation for round trip
- Detailed travel itinerary
- Proof of purpose of visit
- Proof of accommodation
- Medical travel insurance coverage up to at least 30000 Euros
- Proof of occupation
- Financial documents
Photo Requirements for a Schengen Visa from India
The photos to be submitted for a Schengen visa has certain specifications to be met. Regardless of the country of visit or application, the Schengen visa photo size and other specifications are common for all the countries.
- 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 Visa Fees for Indians
Another mandatory step while applying for a Schengen visa is to pay the visa fees. However, the fees can vary depending upon a few factors. The Schengen visa cost for Indians can depend on the type of the Schengen visa, the country you are applying to, the age of the applicant, as well as the foreign exchange rates. For instance, the Schengen visa fees for Indian citizens are paid in Indian Rupees. However, the visa fees may be shown as Euros or as per the currency of the respective country. As a result, the fees can fluctuate due to the exchange rates of the INR and Euro.
The respective embassy also has the authority to change the fees without any prior notice. As a result, you must check the exact amount before starting your application.
After You Apply for Schengen Visa from India
Upon successfully submitting the application, it is then processed. Even if you have submitted your application at once of the VACs in located across India, it is sent to the respective embassy/consulate for processing as per the jurisdiction. The VAC has no influence whatsoever on the decision making of the application.
Usually, the applications made at a VAC in New Delhi are forwarded to the Embassies in New Delhi on the same day. However, applications made at other cities may be sent the next day.
Wait for an answer on your Schengen Visa application in India
After your submission, the only thing you will have to do is to wait for a response on your application. Luckily, the Schengen visas are processed in just about 15 working days. As a result, you wouldn’t have to wait a long time. In the meanwhile, you can even use tracking services to know the status of your application.
Schengen Visa India Processing Time
The average Schengen visa processing time from India is around 15 working days. However, this totally depends on the number of entries, the volume of applications at the embassy, your previous travel history, and so on. In certain extreme and complicated cases, it can even take up to 60 days.
How to Check Schengen Visa Status from India
Most Schengen countries have provisions for tracking the status of the application. For the Schengen visa tracking India, the applicant’s can usually use the tracking portal provided by the Visa Application Centres (VAC). If applications are made directly at the embassy or consulate, you may be able to know the status by contacting them directly. Although, more often than not, the embassy will not respond to these queries.
You can also know the status of your Schengen visa application by contacting the respective travel agency through whom you have made the application.
Schengen Visa Validity for Indian
The validity of a Schengen visa is a variable. This is dependent on the decision of the consular officer processing your application. They look at your application thoroughly and make the decision. Some of the factors affecting their decision are your funds, your motive of the visit, your previous travel history, other visas you may have held or are currently holding, as well as the need to visit the country for a long duration. You may be issued with validity as short as even 90 days, or even be granted with a validity of 1 year, 3 years, or even 5 years. However, no matter how long the validity is, the maximum stay duration can be only 90 days in a half-year.
When you have Schengen Visa India
Once you have received the visa, you must keep in mind a few factors that will help you have a pleasant journey. Although there are additional points based on the individual category, the common points can be listed as below -
Before travelling -
Before you travel to the Schengen country, you must note the following -
- You should check the visa expiry, the number of dates, and the stay duration mentioned on the visa sticker in your passport.
- You must carry all your travel documents. These include the passport and the copy of documents you have submitted during your application.
- You must travel to the country within 6 months or as mentioned in the visa sticker.
At the border -
Once you are at the border control of the port of entry, you must keep in mind the following -
- You must 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 nation, you will have to keep in mind the following points -
- You must not work on the payroll of a Schengen company.
- You must respect the customs and abide by the laws of the particular country.
- Carry a copy of your travel documents with you while you are travelling within the country.
- You will not be able to extend your permit under any normal circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Schengen Visa is Easy to Get from India?
The easiest Schengen visa is dependent on one’s perspective and also upon the application you make. If you have submitted a good application as per all the requirements and have also shown that the motive for your visit is solid, you will not have difficulty in getting any visa. Generally, there are more applications for the Schengen tourist visa from India. As a result, it is the most granted visas. Also, considering the rejection rates, France Schengen visa has the lowest rates in the past years. So, it would statistically be the easiest country.
When to Apply for a Schengen Visa from India?
Normally, regardless of the country, your Schengen visa is processed in 15 working days. As a result, it is suggested that you apply at least 15 days before your intended travel date. On the other hand, in certain extreme complicated circumstances, it can even take up to 30 or 60 working days. So, it is advised that you take this into account while making the application. However, you cannot make the application more than 90 days before the date of your intended travel.
How to extend Schengen Visa from India?
As a matter of fact, it is impossible to extend your Schengen visa from India. Once the visa has been issued, you will not be able to extend it. However, in certain extreme circumstances such as a Force Majeure or other humanitarian reasons, you may be granted an extension. Although, the application for this has to be made at the respective authority in the Schengen country.
Which Schengen Visa is Quickest to Get from India?
The processing time for most of Schengen visas is around the same. However, depending on country to country, there may be slight variations due to the number of applications. Normally, the volume of applications for the tourist and visitor permits is more. As a result, these are processed slower compared to the rest. On the other hand, the business visa usually has fewer applicants, thereby being issued faster. Also, more visited countries such as Germany, France, etc may have a higher volume of applications as compared to Estonia, Finland, etc.