To apply for a Schengen Visa there are some documents that you are required to submit depending on the visa type that you are applying for, your nationality and your current status.
Following we will go through all the document requirements for a Schengen visa application.
What are the Required Documents for Schengen Visa Application?
During the processing time, the consulate may, in individual cases, ask you to submit additional information or documents or you may be contacted for an interview. Make sure to submit them too, since the submission of the firstly required documents does not guarantee you will be granted with a visa.
The standard required documents for a Schengen Visa application are the following:
- Valid passport.
- Schengen Visa application form.
- Photography that meets Schengen guidelines.
- Paid Schengen visa fees.
- Travel Medical Insurance for your entire stay in Europe.
- Biometric Data.
- Copies of previous visas.
- Travel Itinerary.
- A cover letter.
- Proof of accommodation.
- Proof of financial status.
The first thing that you should submit at the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit, is your passport. You should submit your original passport, not copies. The passport should fulfill some criteria, as follows:
- The passport must have at least two empty pages in order to affix visa.
- Must not be older than ten years (meaning it must be issued within the last 10 years).
- Must be valid for at least three more months after the date you plan to leave the Schengen territory.
You should be aware that your passport will remain at the embassy or consulate during the time your application is being processed.
Schengen Visa application form
The Schengen visa application form asks for basic information as name and surname, date of birth, place and country of birth. It also asks per current nationality, sex, marital status and details about your passport details (as date of issue, expiration date, etc) information regarding the purpose of journey, the type of visa you are applying for (single entry, double entry or multiple entry), duration of intended stay, etc.
In case the applicant is a minor the visa application form must be signed twice by the legal guardian/s.
Photography that meets Schengen guidelines
There are specific requirements for Schengen visa photos that you submit for your Schengen visa application. First of all, you must submit two identical photos, one pasted on the application form and the other submitted loose.
If you wear glasses the photograph must show your eyes clearly with no flash reflection off the glasses, and no tinted lenses, it would be better if you could avoid heavy frames, and wear lighter framed glasses instead. Make sure that the frames do not cover any part of your eyes. Sunglasses are not allowed in the photographs.
You are not permitted to wear head coverings except for religious reasons. However, your face cannot be covered for any reason. Your facial features from bottom of chin to top of forehead and both edges of your face must be clearly shown in the photo.
Paid Schengen visa fees
The Schengen member countries have agreed on the Schengen visa fee, for all those who wish to apply in order to obtain a Schengen visa.
After you pay the visa fee, you will be issued a receipt. Keep it because you will have to show it in order to collect your processed application.
In case of visa application rejection or if you withdraw your application, the fee will not get reimbursed. If you apply again for a visa, you will have to pay the visa fee again.
Travel Medical Insurance
Every person that travels to the Schengen Zone, whether to one country or multiple, for one day or one month, he or she must have travel medical insurance for Schengen visa. The Schengen Area member countries have agreed in the minimum coverage of travel medical insurance, which is 30,000 Euro per person.
The insurance has to cover the entire stay in the Schengen territory and all the expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and / or emergency hospital treatment.
Applicants for a Schengen visa need to provide biometric data (fingerprints) when submitting an application. The biometric data of persons applying for a Schengen visa will be stored in a new Visa Information System (VIS).
Exempted from the fingerprinting requirements are the below mentioned categories:
- Children younger than twelve years old,
- Persons for whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible,
- Heads of State and members of National Governments, their accompanying spouses, and their official delegation when on an official visit
Once finger scans are stored in VIS, they can be re‐used for further visa applications over a 5‐year period, therefore frequent travelers to the Schengen Area do not have to give new finger scans every time they apply for a new visa.
Copies of previous visas
If you have traveled to the Schengen Zone before, with a passport that has already expired now (or is full), you should submit it together with the other documents to prove your travels. If you have more than two passport bring all of them. Do not staple them together, instead just tie them with a rubber band.
The travel itinerary is a detailed traveling plan to and from the destination country within the Schengen Area you want to get a visa to visit, as a booked flight reservation, a hotel booking, package tour etc. This does not mean you will have to purchase actual flight tickets before you receive your visa, only a flight reservation.
A cover letter
In a cover letter you explain your travel plan in details as when you plan to visit the country, where you will stay and what you will do.
Proof of accommodation
The proof of accommodation for Schengen visa is a hotel booking usually. If you are planning to stay over at friends or family members, then you must submit a letter where they confirm it and explain that they have enough room for you. Depending on the country you are planning to visit, your host might also have to submit some extra documents as for example:
- In France the host must submit an original of the so called “Declaration d’Accueil” (guarantee document). The same applies if the host is from Luxembourg.
- In Austria the host must request the ‘“Elektronische Verpflichtungserklärung“ at his/her municipality in Austria. He or she has to deliver this document to the Austrian Authorities not earlier than 30 days before applicant’s visa appointment date.
- In Belgium the original “Engagement de Prise en Charge – Verbintenis tot Tenlasteneming 3 bis” must be stamped by the municipality and have the embossed stamp by the foreign office.
- Whereas in the Netherlands the host must submit the original “Bewijs van Garantstelling”, and also three salary sheets / reports and work contract of the inviting person. If the host is independent he or she must also submit the registration in the trade register of the company, the decision of taxation called “down aanslaginkomstenbelastingen”, an official document from the tax “Belastingdienst”, and its profit and loss account copy.
Proof of financial status
In order to be able to obtain a visa to one of the Schengen countries you must show evidence that you possess sufficient funds for the visit – that you will be able to financially maintain yourself during your stay in the Schengen territory. You should be able to prove that through a bank statement of the past three months, which must not be older than three days. The minimum amount required is different in each country, therefore you will have to consult with the relevant consular authority in your country.
Depending on your working status, you will have to submit some extra documents as follows:
- Evidence of student status – you have to prove that you are a student through some document. This could be the student card or a copy of the matriculation at the university and student index signed and stamped by the university and the current transcript of records. You will have to submit proof of sufficient funds for the entire stay in your destination country, that could be a work contract and bank account statement from your parents or host (if applicable).
- Evidence of employment – it can be an original signed letter from an employer or recent payslip.
You will have to submit your employment contract and a vacation confirmation from your employer, aside of the bank statement.
- Evidence of self-employment – a letter from a solicitor, accountant or Companies House, which confirms your status.
- Evidence of retirement – Pension statements over the last 6 months.
Schengen Visa Requirements for Children Under 18
- Children under 18, must submit an unabridged birth certificate alongside the other documents.
- If the child is traveling alone, he or she must submit certified parental consent by both parents.
- If the child travels with only one parent, the other parent must produce the notarized/certified consent.
- In case the single parent with whom the minor will be traveling holds the paternal authority alone, the relevant court documents must be presented (death certificate, divorce agreement or custody agreement).
NOTE: Be aware that the embassies or consulates do not accept an application without a previous appointment and most of them do not give information about pending cases by email or phone.
Each embassy or consulate reserves the right to request additional documents during your appointment or later, and also to summon the applicant for another interview.