What is the Schengen Visa?
The Schengen Visa is one that is required for travelling within the Schengen zone which comprises 26 member countries, all of them located in Europe. However four of these, namely Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the newest member Liechtenstein, are not members of the European Union.
Formerly if travellers from India and some other countries wanted to travel to several European countries during a single trip, they needed a separate visa from each of these countries. But now, with the introduction of the Schengen Visa, travelling to these 26 European countries has become much easier and hassle-free. The Schengen Visa is a boon for Indians and other international travellers. That’s because now you can travel to any or even all the member countries on one trip by using just one single visa. No more hassles and extra expense for obtaining individual visas for each country.
To get a Schengen Visa, the purpose of your visit must be leisure, tourism, or business. A Schengen tourist visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen Visa countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days within a period of six months.
The Schengen Visa Countries
As mentioned earlier, 22 of these are members of the European Union (EU) and four are non-EU members. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Please remember that the following European countries are not a part of the Schengen zone, namely: The UK, Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzgovina, Belarus, Macedonia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia. If you want to travel to or even pass through any of these by train, bus or car, you will have to apply to the concerned country for a separate visa
Rules for applying for the Schengen Visa
You can apply for the Schengen visa from any of these countries. But there are certain rules to be followed. For example:
- If you want to visit France, you cannot apply to the Italian Embassy or Consulates in India. You will have to apply to the French Embassy. That is, the Schengen visa has to be obtained from the Consulate/Embassy of the country where the MAIN PURPOSE OF TRAVEL lies.
- In case you want to travel to multiple Schengen countries, you will have to make your application to the embassy/consulate of the country where you will be staying for the maximum number of days.
- If the duration of stay is going to be the same for more than one Schengen Visa country, you will have to apply for a visa from the country which will be your first point of entry.
- Applications for the Schengen visa have to be submitted at any of the VFS centres across India as VFS has been appointed as an outsourced partner by the different Schengen countries.
For more details about the requirements for each Schengen country, the type of supporting documents required and about transit and other types of Schengen visas please contact the concerned Embassy/Consulate directly.
Important note if you have a query:
We receive a large number of queries daily, and much as we would like to, it is not possible to answer more than a select few each day. Remember that simple queries can be answered quicker by just checking out or calling the concerned VFS centre. But if you have any individual unique queries, please first go through the website or VFS website of the country you’re targeting, as well as the different queries already answered in the comments below before posting a new one of your own, and we’ll try to help you.
Please make your queries short, not more than 4-5 lines and include not more than 2 questions. If you need more things clarified with respect to your individual situation, please opt for a consultation.
For those based in Mumbai
Complex cases facing several complicated issues require in-depth guidance beyond the scope of this forum. For a detailed visa consultation and for checking your supporting documents or for even having your visa package delivered to the consulate and following it up wherever that is permissible, please call 022-66355555 or visit us at Shop No.3, Metro House, Opp. Sahakari Bhandar, Colaba, Mumbai 400039.