Schengen visa is an excellent option which allows tourists to travel around Europe on a single visa. With a Schengen visa one can travel freely around Schengen area. There are 26 countries which are within the Schengen region see the below image to get an idea of the places within Schengen region.
Countries under Schengen region are Austria Belgium,Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland (not a European Union Member State), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein (not a European Union Member Stat, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway (not a European Union Member State), Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Swiss (not a European Union Member State). So the Schengen region covers most of the countries where one expects to visit as a tourist.
How to get a Schengen tourist visa ?
Schengen tourist visa is one of the easiest visas to get . The process is fairly simple and not that complicated. In fact if you can show that you have sufficient financial ability (about EU60 each day in Schengen region), rest of the requirements are fairly very simple.
Here are the documents needed for a Schengen visa :
- Duly completed and signed Schengen visa application form. It is suggested that you fill the online application since it is much more easier and has inbuilt data validations which ensures that you don’t make any unnecessary mistakes in your application. Once you have filled it online , just take a printout,stick your photo and you should be done. You can fill the online application here .
- Two recent photographs, see the official consulate websites for specifications of the photographs.
- A valid passport with at least 2 empty pages and validity of at least 3 months.
- A travel insurance which covers at least EU 30,000 . You can get one online for about $15 dollars.
- If you are employed, then both a leave letter as well as a no objection letter from your employer will be required.
- A valid tax statement as proof that you have paid your taxes such as From 16 or a w8 form.
- If employed , then salary slip for the past 3 months.
In addition to these documents a couple of other documents needed would be
- A confirmed flight reservation with itinerary from a travel agent
- A hotel booking confirmation in your destination.
Unfortunately, people make the mistake of getting their flight tickets before their visa has been confirmed. We have seen countless examples of people having to cancel their tickets because their visa has been cancelled. And all the visa consulates clearly state that a flight ticket is to be brought only after the visa has been confirmed. But how do you get a flight reservation done without paying for the actual flight ticket ?
From a travel agent of course , but most of the travel agents now don’t provide a flight reservation because there is no commission for them in doing so . A flight ticket gives a travel agent about 15% commission on the ticket and in some cases much more,particularly if it is an international flight. The same goes for hotel bookings . You can actually do a hotel booking without paying for it upfront but travel agents and hotel booking websites don’t do this .
Fortunately there are some services such as travelvisabookings.com which will provide you with a flight itinerary , hotel booking confirmation, a personalised personal cover letter as well as a no obj/leave letter . Or you could visit a local travel agent whom you can get in touch with and persuade them to provide you the required documents without having to pay the full price.
Where to apply for Schengen Visa ?
You can apply directly at the visa consulate in your city. You must apply for a Schengen visa in the country in which you will be spending the most time in . If the number of days spent is similar in all the places. Then you must apply for visa in the first country where you will be landing .