After completing all the steps of a Schengen Visa application, you will have to wait for the embassy to inform you about your application. Whether you receive the visa or not, it all depends on your situation, and on the criteria set by the Schengen States. Many people do not have the patience to wait for an answer, and often make phone calls to the embassy. Keep in mind that most embassies will not give any information over the phone on your visa application.
However, the embassy has general rules on the time a Schengen visa application processing takes. There are rules on the time (the earliest and the latest) a visa application should be lodged as well.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Schengen Visa?
It takes 15 days to process a Schengen visa. After 15 days, the embassy gives a decision on the Schengen visa application.
However, Schengen visa processing time may vary in some specific situations. In individual cases, the visa processing time may be extended to 30 days after the interview, or in some very specific situations to 60 days.
Countries Subject to Extended Periods of Processing Times
An extended period of Schengen visa processing may especially happen in cases when some Schengen States require to be consulted on visa applications submitted to the other Schengen States by citizens of some certain third countries. Currently, such consultation is required for the nationals of the following countries:
- R. Congo
- North Korea
- Russian Federation*
- Saudi Arabia**
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
*Applies only to holders of diplomatic and service passports.
**Does not apply to holders of diplomatic and service passports.
When is the Best Time to Apply for a Schengen Visa?
There may be different suggestions on when to apply for a Schengen visa depending on the country you wish to visit, and from where you are applying. However, the Schengen rules clearly say that the earliest you can apply is three months prior to your planned travel to the Schengen Zone, and the latest is two weeks prior to your trip.
You are highly recommended to apply for a Schengen visa as early as you can. This way you can avoid any possible delays, in case the embassy is receiving a lot of applications at the time.
Applying for a Schengen Visa during the Holiday Season
The Holiday Season is the most unfavorable time of the year to apply for a visa. The reason behind this is that many people plan to spend their vacations in Europe and file their applications at that time.
This is why during the holiday season you should submit your Schengen application the earliest you can. Three months prior to your travel will be perfect. Not only you will be able to complete the procedures on time, but also in case of any delays by the embassy, the risks to lose your vacation will be lower.
Who Processes Schengen Visa Applications?
Only the Schengen embassies have the right to process visa applications. In case the embassy of one certain country has outsourced visa application collecting to the embassy of another country that means the processing is done by the embassy, which collects the visa as well. Though you may be able to submit your Schengen visa application at one of the following:
- the embassy of the country you intend to visit itself,
- one of its consulates,
- a visa application center which provides visa services on behalf of that country,