All applicants must go through a comprehensive application process to obtain a Schengen visa from India. Understanding how the application process works and what is expected of you will reduce stress and increase your chances of acquiring a visa to enter any of the Schengen nations.
Who Can Apply for a Schengen Visa in India?
To be eligible to file your visa application at the Schengen embassies/consulates or visa application centers (VACs) in India, you must belong to one of the following categories:
- Indian passport holders.
- Third-world nationals who are required to obtain a visa to Europe, living in India under a permanent or temporary residence permit.
What Type of Schengen Visa Can I Get From India?
You can apply for one of the following types of Schengen visas from India depending on the reason for your visit:
- Tourist visa. You need to apply for this visa if you’re specifically visiting the Schengen area as a tourist to see the sights and explore the famous European landmarks.
- Visitor visa. You need to apply for a visitor Schengen visa if you have a family member or a friend who lives in the Schengen area or are an EU/EEA citizen. For this type of visa, you are usually required to submit a letter of invitation from your friend/relative.
- Business visa. A business visa is issued if you have to conduct business in the Schengen area with a company or an individual. If another business invites you, you must provide a copy of the invitation letter.
- Medical visa. To qualify for a Schengen medical visa, you must provide proof that you are visiting the Schengen area to complete medical treatments or procedures such as surgery. Usually, for a medical visa, you need to prove that you truly require medical attention and have the money to cover the costs of the treatments.
- Student visa. Only apply for this type of visa if you are visiting Schengen Area/EU for short-term studies not longer than 90 days. Otherwise, you will have to apply for a long-stay study visa for the country in which you plan to study.
- Visa for Official Visits. Visas for official visits are issued to those who will be entering the Schengen Area for formal events such as exchange programs, negotiations, consultations, and any similar occasions held in the Schengen Zone.
- Cultural exchange visa. Choose this type of Schengen visa if you visit the Schengen Area for cultural, sports, religious, and film crew events. In most cases, this type of visa is issued for the same amount of time it takes to complete the event/program/training/competition, and depending on your reason for visiting, different requirements apply.
- Transit visa. A transit visa is a short-term visa issued only to allow you to transit through the Schengen countries towards your final destination. You may not need a transit visa at all this depends on your nationality.
How Long Do I Have to Wait for a Schengen Visa Appointment in India?
Typically, Schengen embassies/consulates in India need you to make an appointment for your visa application 4-6 weeks in advance.
So, start the application procedure ahead of your forthcoming trip, because it will take the embassy another two weeks to make a decision.
Remember that appointments may be booked out ahead of the summer or winter holidays, so get started as soon as possible. You can apply up to six months ahead of time.
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When Should I Apply for a Schengen Visa From India?
You should apply for a Schengen visa at least 15 days before your planned travel and no more than six months in advance.
Because processing dates can be delayed, it’s preferable to submit your application at least 15 days before your trip, just in case your visa isn’t provided on time.
Where to Apply for a Schengen Visa in India?
Applicants are not permitted to submit their documents at any embassy/consulate of a Schengen country.
The Schengen area has restrictions about where to submit your visa application, and depending on how many countries you visit and how many days you spend in each, you will have to apply at one of the following:
- If you are visiting one Schengen country – then apply at the body responsible for visa submission of that country in India (the embassy/consulate/visa center).
- If you are visiting more than one Schengen country – then where you need to apply depends on the number of days you plan to spend in each country:
- If you are spending an equal amount of days in two or more countries – apply to the body responsible for visa submission of the country you will be visiting first.
- If you are spending an unequal amount of days in two or more countries – apply to the body responsible for visa submission of the country where you will be spending more days.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa From India?
You need to follow the application steps below to apply for a Schengen visa from India:
- Find out what visa type you need.
- Determine where to apply.
- Book an appointment.
- Prepare your visa documents.
- Submit your application.
- Pay the visa fee.
- Retrieve your visa.
Find Out What Visa Type You Need
To begin, you must establish the form of Schengen visa you will require for your visit.
If you wish to visit the Schengen area for business, for example, you must apply for a business visa; if you want to come for medical reasons, you must apply for a medical visa, and so on.
Each visa kind requires you to submit more paperwork, which is why it’s critical to grasp the visa type and the requirements you’ll need.
Determine Where to Apply for Your Visa
Then, find the official office that issues Schengen visas for the nation you want to visit. An embassy, consulate, or visa application center could be involved.
If other Schengen countries do not have representative bodies in India, some visa centers may represent them. As a result, a single visa center can accept applications from many Schengen nations.
Book an Appointment for Your Visa
After locating the appropriate office to submit your application, you must schedule an appointment—usually online—before proceeding with your application. It is critical to schedule an appointment for your application submission. You cannot visit an embassy/consulate or a visa center unless you first make an appointment.
Prepare the Schengen Visa Requirements
You must compile a list of required papers after scheduling your Schengen visa appointment. The list of documents for a short-term Schengen visa is usually the same regardless of which Schengen country you’re applying for. Some countries, however, may require specific documentation.
Submit Your Application
You must submit your application and all needed documentation on the day of your appointment. In addition, you must provide your fingerprints and one or two identity photographs (the number varies by nation). In either case, the identity photos you provide must adhere to the same Schengen visa photo requirements.
You may also be required to attend a Schengen visa interview. Depending on the nation, you may be needed to visit the official embassy or consulate for the interview or do the interview at the visa application facility.
The interview is brief and focused on determining your purpose to visit that Schengen country. You may be questioned about your vacation, such as how long you want to stay, whether you are visiting relatives or friends, and so on. The interview is designed to assess whether you have real intentions to solely visit the Schengen area, so try to relax and answer the questions as honestly as you can.
Pay the Visa Fee
You may be required to pay the Schengen visa fee and attach your payment receipt to the rest of your application on the day you submit it.
Wait for an Answer
When you submit your Schengen visa application, you must wait patiently while it is processed. You will be contacted after your Schengen visa decision has been made, along with instructions on how to proceed and when you can recover your passport. If your visa is denied, you will be notified by the embassy/consulate/VAC, along with the reason for the denial.
Retrieve your Schengen Visa
If your Schengen visa application is approved, you can obtain your passport from the institution where you applied. Your passport will be stamped with the visa and its validity date. You can also make arrangements with some visa centers to have the passport mailed to you instead of returning to the visa application location.
How Long Is a Schengen Visa From India Valid?
A Schengen visa allows you to stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
The validity term of a visa, however, can vary depending on how long the embassy decides to provide your Schengen visa. Depending on the reason for your visit, your Schengen visa may be given for a single or numerous entries.
For example, if you are visiting a Schengen country for professional training, an exchange program, or business, your visa will most likely be provided for the duration of your program. If you only need to stay in a Schengen country for two weeks, your Schengen visa will very certainly be issued as a single entry visa with a two-week validity period.
Can I Apply for a Schengen Visa From India Online?
No, online applications for a Schengen visa in India are unavailable.
You can set up an appointment and fill out the application form online; otherwise, all applications must be delivered in person at the visa office.
What Are the Reasons for Schengen Visa Denial in India?
Some of the most common reasons why your Schengen visa is rejected include the following:
- You have a criminal record that violates the Schengen security risks.
- You have important documents missing from your application.
- You provided false information on your application form.
- You do not have enough financial means to support your trip to the Schengen area.
To reduce the likelihood of your application being denied, you must submit your Schengen visa application with all essential documents, carefully following the directions of the embassy or consulate.
What Do I Do In Case of Denied Visa Application?
If your Schengen visa application from India is denied, you will receive a notice with the reason for your rejection, after which you can do one of the following:
- Oppose the decision at the consular level.
- Appeal the decision with a higher legal body of the corresponding Schengen country (e.g., a Foreign Ministry, an administrative court, etc.).
After receiving your rejection notification, you have 30 days to file a complaint with the embassy/consulate. Only if the embassy refuses your visa again after your complaint can you pursue legal action.
Remember that you do not need to file a complaint or pursue legal processes if your initial Schengen visa application is rejected; you can always apply for another Schengen visa.
Can an Indian citizen living in the UK apply for a Schengen visa from the UK?
Only Indian passport holders who have been legally residing in the UK for more than three months and have a valid UK residence permit are eligible to apply for a Schengen visa in the UK. Non-residents, such as Indian tourists and travellers, who intend to stay in the UK for three months should apply for a Schengen visa in India.