Schengen Visa - How to Apply for a Visa to Europe
Europe is one of the most visited travel destinations in the world. From breathtaking beaches to mesmerising mountains, the varied landscape of the continent has long captured the fascination of tourists from different parts of the world. In addition to tourism, Europe is also frequented by the nationals of various countries for work, education, and academic research.
If you wish to visit a country in Europe that falls within the Schengen Area, you must have a pre-approved Schengen Visa. The Schengen Area comprises 26 countries in Europe, following a uniform visa regime. These countries include France, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, etc. A Schengen Visa allows you to enter the Schengen Area and travel within the area for a specific duration.
If you are not a national of any of the member states of the Schengen Area, you need a Schengen Visa to enter and stay in said state/s. The particulars of your Schengen Visa, including your points of entry into and exit from the area, the Schengen visa countries you are allowed to visit, the duration of the validity of your visa, etc., are mentioned in your visa document. It is, therefore, pivotal to be acquainted with the definition, types, application process, and fee for a Schengen Visa.
In addition to a Schengen Visa, you must also include the selection of a suitable travel insurance policy in your planning for a trip to the Schengen Area. Since international travel can entail a wide gamut of unforeseen circumstances, it is important to have financial security for yourself and your travelling party.
At Tata AIG, we offer excellent Schengen travel insurance plans, starting at ₹40.82 per day*. You can compare travel insurance plans on our website and select the one most feasible for you. Visit our website now and choose a suitable Schengen travel insurance cover for your visit to a Schengen visa country.
What is The Schengen Area?
The Schengen Area is an area in Europe comprising 26 countries that have abolished visas for crossing their international borders for the nationals of the member states. As a result, the movement of people within the Schengen Area has become smoother, easier, and safer, and the complexity of the visa application process has been reduced.
Recognised as the world's largest visa-free zone, the Schengen Area covers a majority of nations in the European Union and even some non-EU nations, for instance, Norway and Switzerland. The Schengen Visa Regime is a product of an agreement signed in the year 1985 in Luxembourg, Europe, named the Schengen Agreement.
With the removal of travel restrictions within the Schengen Area, not only is it easy for the citizens of various Schengen nations to travel across the Schengen Area but also for tourists who are spared the hassle of having to apply for separate visas for different Schengen nations. Here is the full list of the nations that are a member of the Schengen Area.
Schengen Area Member States
|The Czech Republic||Finland|
What Is A Schengen Visa?
A Schengen Visa is a visa that is required to visit a member nation/s of the Schengen Area. The simplest meaning of a Schengen Visa is that it is a document that allows you to travel to and stay in the Schengen Area. Being the most common visa applied for visits to European nations, the Schengen Visa enables its holder to enter, travel across, and exit the Schengen Area within the timelines described in the visa.
The fact that more than 15 million people used their respective Schengen Visas to travel across Europe in the year 2019 is a testament to the popularity and utility of the Schengen Visa. This visa is usually issued for a short-term stay of 90 days. However, if your intended stay in the Schengen Area is expected to be longer than 90 days, you are required to apply for a long-term Schengen Visa, also referred to as the Uniform Schengen Visa for a particular nation.
Who Needs A Schengen Visa?
Aside from the citizens of the member countries of the Schengen Area and the citizens of nations that have a visa-free agreement with Schengen nations, every other visitor to the Schengen Area is required to have a pre-approved Schengen Visa of the right category in accordance with the purpose of their visit.
Here is a list of some of the nations whose citizens require a Schengen Visa to travel to the Schengen Area.
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
All Indian nationals travelling to the Schengen Area must have a pre-approved Europe Schengen Visa. The category of Schengen Visa you need to apply for depends on the purpose of your visit to the Schengen Area, which could be one of the following.
- Airport Transit
- Visiting family or friends
- Medical treatment
- Official visit
- Cultural, Sports, and Film Crews
- Other Reasons
For instance, if you are travelling to the Schengen Area for tourism, you need to apply for a Schengen Tourist Visa. On the other hand, if the purpose of your visit is business, you must apply for a Schengen Business Visa.
Schengen Visa Types
There are various Schengen Visa categories depending on the nature and purpose of an individual's visit to the Schengen Area. You must be mindful of selecting the right category of Schengen Visa to apply for. Here are the different types of Schengen Visas available for visitors.
Uniform Schengen Visa: A Uniform Schengen Visa is a short-term visa for the Schengen Area. This visa is valid for a maximum stay of 90 days in the member nations of the Schengen Area. There are two subcategories of a Uniform Schengen Visa, namely a Category A Schengen Visa and a Category C Schengen Visa.
● Category A or Airport Transit Schengen Visa: If you are passing through an airport in the Schengen Area, you are required to have a valid Category A Schengen Visa. This visa is referred to as a Transit Schengen Visa and is mandatory for everyone passing through the international zone of a Schengen Area country. For instance, if you are passing through an airport in, say, France en route to the United States of America, you need to have a valid Category A Schengen Visa. This visa is, thus, a legal mandate to traverse all airports in the Schengen Area. This visa is valid for a period not exceeding 24 hours.
● Category C or Short-term Schengen Visa: if you wish to travel to and stay in the Schengen Area for a short period of time (less than 90 days), you need to apply for a Category C Schengen Visa. This is a short-term visa for individuals who are not citizens of a Schengen Area member state. A Category C Schengen Visa has three variants, which have been discussed below.
❖ Single-entry Category C Schengen Visa: A single-entry Category C visa allows you to enter the Schengen Area nation once during the validity period. The maximum number of days you can stay in the Schengen Area is clearly mentioned in this visa. You must not exceed the duration of the permissible stay as mentioned in the visa without applying for an extension of the same.
A single-entry Category C Schengen Visa also specifies the list of countries that you can visit with said visa.
❖ Double-entry Category C Schengen Visa: A double-entry Category C Schengen Visa is quite similar to a single-entry Category C Schengen visa. In contrast to its single-entry counterpart, though, it allows you to enter the Schengen Area twice during the validity period of the visa.
If you exit the Schengen Area for a second time during the validity period of your double-entry Category C Schengen Visa, you shall not be allowed to enter the Schengen Area again on the same visa.
❖ Multiple-entry Category C Schengen Visa: With a multiple-entry Category C Schengen Visa, you can enter the Schengen Area multiple times during the validity period of the visa. However, you must be mindful of adhering to the 90/180 rule, which states that your stay in the Schengen Area cannot exceed a period of 90 days across the 180-day validity period of your Category C Schengen Visa.
It is easy to ascertain how many days you are allowed to stay in the Schengen Area. You can use the Schengen calculator to compute the number of days remaining in the validity period of your Uniform Schengen Visa. You can apply for a multiple-entry Category C Europe Schengen Visa for the following time periods.
a. 1 year
b. 3 years
c. 5 years
Here are the types of Category C Uniform Schengen Visas you can apply for based on the purpose of your visit to the Schengen Area.
● Business Schengen Visa
● Student Schengen Visa
● Schengen Medical Visa
● Tourist Schengen Visa
● Schengen Visitor Visa
● Schengen Visa for Cultural, Sports, and Religious Events and Film Crews
● Schengen Visa for Official Visits
The National Schengen Visa or Category D Visa: The National Schengen Visa, also referred to as a Category D Schengen Visa, is issued to individuals whose intended stay in the Schengen Area is expected to be longer than 90 days. Therefore, if you are travelling to the Schengen Area for any purpose that is long-term, for instance, the pursuit of education, work, or permanent immigration, you must apply for a Category D Schengen Visa. This visa has two main variants, namely:
● Single-entry Category D Visa: If you intend to live in a particular Schengen Area member nation for a specific period and purpose, you must apply for a single-entry Category D Schengen Visa. This visa is issued to individuals who intend to return to their country after the expiry of the validity of their Schengen Visa. For instance, if you have been accepted at an academic institution in Switzerland, you can apply for a Category D Schengen Visa for the duration of your academic programme.
● Multiple-entry Category D Visa: If you wish to travel across the Schengen Area without needing a separate visa for each visit, you must apply for a multiple-entry Category D Schengen Visa. The following categories of individuals are eligible to apply for this visa.
❖ Students in an international student programme can get a Category D Schengen Visa for one year.
❖ Students starting a full-time academic programme in a Schengen Area country can get a Category D Schengen Visa for one year, which can be extended in the future.
❖ Individuals employed teaching at any academic institution or research centre in a Schengen Area nation can apply for this category of visa.
❖ Professionals visiting the Schengen Area, for instance, sportspeople, artists, and experts in their respective fields, can get this type of Schengen Visa.
❖ Individuals who cannot exit the Schengen Area post the expiration of the validity of their Schengen Area owing to any medical emergency can apply for this category of Schengen Visa.
- The Limited Territorial Validity (LTV) Visa for the Schengen Area: Issued under very specific circumstances, a Limited Territorial Validity (LTV) Schengen Visa enables you to visit a particular Schengen Area nation that has granted the visa. This visa can sometimes be granted by a group of Schengen Area nations. The reasons for the issuance of a Limited Territorial Validity Schengen Visa are usually humanitarian in nature.
The Reasons for Europe Visits That Require a Short-stay Schengen Visa
If you are planning to visit any Schengen Area nation/s for a stay not exceeding 90 days, you can apply for a short-stay Schengen Visa, also referred to as a Category C Uniform Schengen Visa and a Schengen Visit Visa. Here are the reasons for which short-stay Europe visas for Indians can be applied.
- Visiting family or friends
- Medical treatment
- Official visit
- Cultural, Sports, and Film Crews
You must ascertain the frequency of your intended visit/s to the Schengen Area and apply for one of the following variants of a Category C Schengen Visa.
- Single-entry Category C Schengen Visa
- Double-entry Category C Schengen Visa
- Multiple-entry Category C Schengen Visa
It is important to remember that a Category C Europe Visa allows you to stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum period of 90 days across a total period of 180 days, starting from the point of first entry to the Schengen Area.
How To Apply for a Schengen Visa from India?
You can apply for a Schengen Visa from India by following the steps mentioned below.
1.Determine the category of Schengen Visa you need, which could be a Category A, C, or D Schengen Visa.
2.Determine whether you need a single-entry visa, double-entry visa, or multiple-entry visa. This would depend on the Schengen Area country you wish to enter and/or live in and the Schengen Area countries you want to travel to.
3.Find out the details of the embassy or consulate where you must apply for the selected category of Schengen Visa.
4.Apply for a Schengen Visa at least a fortnight before your intended date of travel to the Schengen Area. You cannot file an advance visa application more than 6 months prior to your travelling date.
5.Ensure that you have all the necessary documents required for your Schengen Visa application.
6.Schedule your Schengen Visa interview appointment with the relevant embassy or consulate. Check if the Schengen Area nation/s you plan to visit allow for online visa applications.
7.Reach your scheduled visa interview appointment on time and carry all the required documents.
8.Make the payment of your Schengen Visa fees, as applicable.
9.Wait for the results of your Schengen Visa interview, which should not take more than 15 days to be shared.
In addition to the appropriate category of Schengen Visa, you must also opt for Schengen Travel Insurance from India.
Documents Required for Indians Applying for a Schengen Visa
All Indian nationals applying for a Schengen Visa need certain important documents. You must be aware of the Schengen Visa requirements before starting the application process. Here are the documents that constitute the Schengen visa requirements for Indian citizens:
- Your Indian passport which must be valid for at least 3 months from your intended date of entry into the Schengen Area (this passport must not be older than 10 years)
- Two latest passport-sized photographs with a light background
- A print-out of your Schengen visa application form duly filled and signed
- Travel insurance for Schengen Visa containing a medical cover of at least €30,000 and covering medical evacuation and repatriation
- The proof of your intended accommodation during your stay in the Schengen Area
- Your flight itinerary to and from the Schengen Area
- The proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay in the Schengen Area
- A cover letter describing your purpose for visiting the Schengen Area
- The proof of your civil status, including your marriage certificate and, if applicable, the birth certificate of your children
Which Countries Can I Visit With a Schengen Visa?
If you have a Schengen Visa, you can visit any of the following 26 member nations of the Schengen Area:
|The Czech Republic||Finland|
It is, however, advisable to check whether the Schengen Area country you are planning to visit has a separate visa policy for a particular category of visas. You can check out the visa information for all these countries through their official government websites or through their embassy and consulates in India.
It is important to note that since all the countries in Europe do not comply with the Schengen Visa Regime, you may need a separate visa for some European countries. In addition to the above member countries of the Schengen Area, you can also visit certain non-Schengen nations with a Schengen Visa. These nations include Colombia, Romania, Belarus, Bulgaria, and Serbia, to name a few.
How Long Can I Stay in Europe With a Schengen Visa?
The permissible duration of your stay in the Schengen Area depends on the category of the Schengen Visa granted to you and the validity period mentioned therein. Here are the validity timelines of various categories of Schengen Visas.
1. Category A Schengen Visa: A Category A or Airport Transit Schengen Visa is valid for a maximum period of 24 hours.
2. Category C Schengen Visa: A Category C or short-stay Schengen Visa is valid for a stay of 90 days across 180 days from the point of first entry into the Schengen Area. You must strictly adhere to the above 90/180 rule whilst computing how long you can stay in the Schengen Area on your present visa.
3. Category D Schengen Visa: A Category D Schengen Visa or a National Schengen Visa is valid for the specific duration mentioned in the visa. This visa is valid for a stay in the Schengen Area that is longer than 90 days.
Can I Get My Schengen Visa Extended?
It is extremely difficult to get a Schengen Visa extension, particularly if you have exceeded the stay limit permissible in your Schengen Visa. For instance, if you have a Category C Schengen Visa which allows you to stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum period of 90 days, but you end up staying in the area beyond the expiration of your visa, it is highly unlikely that you can get a visa extension.
However, it is possible to get a Schengen Visa extension before your visa expires or before you have exceeded the permissible stay limit as mentioned in the visa. In order to get this visa extension, though, you must furnish proof that it is absolutely impossible for you to leave the Schengen Area and/or important for you to stay. These reasons could be humanitarian reasons, force majeure, or important personal reasons, and a visa extension is subject to the approval of the requisite authorities.
What Can I Do In Case My Schengen Visa Application is Rejected?
If your Schengen Visa application is rejected, you are allowed to appeal against said rejection. The rejection of your Schengen Visa application is accompanied by the reasons behind the rejection. Furthermore, there is also a document detailing the procedure for filing an appeal for the reconsideration of your visa application.
If you feel that the reasons behind the rejection of your Schengen Visa application are unfounded, you can file an appeal against the decision. However, it is advisable to study and understand the reasons listed by the relevant embassy or consulate for the rejection of the visa and apply them to improve any subsequent visa applications. You can file a fresh Schengen Visa application by repeating the process from the start and making the payment of the fee again.
What Is Schengen Insurance?
Schengen Insurance is an insurance policy that financially safeguards your trip to the Schengen Area. You can end up facing a wide gamut of unforeseen circumstances during your trip to and stay in a Schengen Area nation/s. This can include accidents, sicknesses, flight delays and cancellations, baggage loss, loss of a passport, etc.
With a Schengen Insurance policy, you can protect yourself against a majority of the above events. In addition to providing your Schengen trip with a layer of financial protection, it is mandatory to have a Schengen Travel Insurance plan to apply for a Schengen Visa. You must have a Schengen Medical Travel Insurance amounting to €30,000 or more to be able to apply for a visa to visit the Schengen Area. Your Schengen Insurance Plan must cover medical expenses as well as the cost of repatriation.
You must opt for a Schengen travel insurance policy that provides extensive coverage at a feasible price. Your Schengen Travel Insurance plan must have the following covers.
- Baggage Cover
- Journey Cover
- Medical Cover
- Covid-19 Cover
- Flexibility to extend the cover
Why You Should Choose Tata AIG's Schengen Insurance Plan
If you are looking for a suitable Schengen insurance plan, then your search must stop at Tata AIG. With our comprehensive Schengen Insurance Policies, you can get extensive coverage for your trip to the Schengen Area. In addition to offering a wide variety of covers, the Tata AIG Schengen Travel Insurance plans are light on your pocket as well. You can get a Tata AIG Schengen Travel Insurance Plan, starting at just ₹40.82 per day*.
Here are the benefits of a Tata AIG Schengen Travel Insurance Policy.
1. Travel Assistance: With the Tata AIG Schengen Insurance Policy, you get coverage against the loss or stealth of your passport, delay or cancellation of your flights, and the cancellation of your hotel bookings.
2. Cover for Accidents and Sickness: If you happen to meet with an accident during your Schengen trip or fall ill, you can get coverage for the resultant expenses under your Tata AIG Schengen Travel Insurance Plan. This includes a cover for hospitalisation expenses.
3. Cover for Baggage Loss and Delay: Our Schengen Insurance Policy comprises a cover for the loss or delay of baggage at any of the airports you traverse during your journey to the Schengen Area.
4. Cover For Personal Liabilities: If you happen to get involved in any incidents in the Schengen Area that result in any personal liabilities that are covered under your Tata AIG travel insurance policy, you can get coverage for the same.
5. Hijack Cover: Our Schengen Travel Insurance Plan has a provision for a Distress Allowance in the unfortunate event of you falling victim to a hijack during your Schengen trip.
6. Covid-19 Cover: In light of the global Covid-19 pandemic, we have included a cover for Covid-19 in our Schengen Insurance Policy. This plan covers the cost of your Covid-19 treatment if you get diagnosed with the virus during your trip.
7. Payment in Rupees and Coverage In Dollars: You can get coverage in United States Dollars for your Schengen Insurance Plan whilst paying in the Indian National Rupee.
8. Swift Policy Purchase Process: At Tata AIG, we have a swift, simple, and seamless policy purchase process that has been designed keeping your convenience in mind.
9. Affordable Plans: Our Schengen Insurance Plans are pocket-friendly. You can get your Tata AIG Schengen Travel Insurance Plan at as low as ₹40.82 per day*.
10. Automatic Extensions: In the unfortunate event of you being hospitalised in the Schengen Area near the expiration date of your Schengen Insurance Policy, we shall automatically extend the plan for 60 days or until your discharge from the hospital. Furthermore, if your return flight gets cancelled or delayed, we shall extend your Tata AIG travel insurance policy for 7 days.
To Sum It Up
Travelling to another country has a diverse set of challenges, and there is a wide gamut of things that may cause your plans to derail, ranging from the cancellation of flights and the loss of baggage to falling ill whilst in a foreign land. Therefore, it is pivotal to opt for an adequate travel insurance policy and have a certain degree of financial security during your travels.
With the Tata AIG Schengen Insurance Plan, you can have extensive coverage for your trip to the Schengen Area and be protected against adverse events that may transpire during your journey to and from or stay there. Starting at just ₹40.82 per day*, our travel insurance plans are easy to study, understand, and purchase. All you have to do is visit our official website and compare travel insurance plans to find the most suitable plan for you.
In addition to selecting a suitable Schengen Travel Insurance Plan, you must also ascertain the category of Schengen Visa you need to apply for, the procedure for the application and screening of Schengen Visas, and the fee for Schengen Visa, which is presently ₹7,088 for adults and ₹5,310 for children aged 6 to 12 years (of Indian nationality). However, this fee can change with any fluctuations in the exchange rate between the Euro and the Indian National Rupee.
Having an optimal Schengen Travel Insurance Plan and the appropriate category of Schengen Visa are essential prerequisites of a safe trip to the Schengen Area.
Frequently Asked Question
How Many Nations are Part of the Schengen Area?
The Schengen Area presently has 26 nations, including France, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, and Switzerland.
How Many Categories of Schengen Visa are Available For Me to Choose From?
There are two major categories of Schengen Visa you can choose from, namely a Uniform Schengen Visa and a National Schengen Visa. Whilst the former is a short-stay visa, the latter is for a long-term stay in or permanent immigration to the Schengen Area. A Uniform Schengen Visa has the following subcategories.
- Category A Uniform Schengen Visa or Airport Transit Visa (valid for 24 hours or lower)
- Category C Uniform Schengen Visa or Short-stay Visa (valid for a stay of 90 days across a period of 180 days), available in the following variants:
- Single-entry Uniform Schengen Visa
- Double-entry Uniform Schengen Visa
- Multiple-entry Uniform Schengen Visa
I wish to visit the Schengen Area for a family trip lasting 15 days. Which category of Schengen Visa should I apply for?
If you wish to visit the Schengen Area for a short duration with the goal of tourism, you must apply for a Category C Uniform Schengen Visa. This visa is also referred to as a short-stay Schengen Visa and enables you to stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum period of 90 days across 180 days of the validity of the visa.
What is the present fee for Schengen Visa for Indian Nationals?
If you are an Indian national, the present fee you would be required to pay for the Schengen Visa is ₹7,088 (for adults). If there are children between the ages of 6 and 12 years in your travelling party, then the Schengen Visa for them would attract a fee of ₹5,310. This Schengen Visa fee is based on the latest exchange rate between the Euro and the Indian National Rupee and is subject to change based on fluctuations in the said exchange rate.
What is the 90/180 rule surrounding the Schengen Visa?
The 90/180 rule surrounding the Schengen Visa states that you can stay in the Schengen Area for a maximum duration of 90 days on a particular visa. This stay of 90 days can span across the 180 days of the validity of the visa. However, you will be allowed two or multiple entries into the Schengen Area only if you have a double-entry Schengen Visa or a Multiple-entry Schengen Visa, respectively.
Can I Apply for a Schengen Visa Online?
Yes, you can apply for a Schengen Visa online. You can do so by following one of the following methods.
- Visit the official website of the Indian embassy or consulate of the Schengen Area nation you wish to visit.
- Visit the official website of the Schengen Area and apply for a Schengen Visa there.
What is the Latest Time for Applying to a Schengen Visa?
The latest time for applying for a Schengen Visa is fifteen days before your intended date of travelling to the Schengen Area. However, it is advisable to apply for your Schengen Visa well in advance so as to not have your travel plans be derailed by any potential procedural delays in the visa application and screening process.
Can I Seek an Extension on My Schengen Visa?
It is extremely difficult to get an extension on your Schengen Visa, particularly if you have exhausted the number of days of permissible stay in the Schengen Area mentioned in the visa. However, if you apply for an extension whilst the visa is still valid, and you still have some days left to legally stay in the Schengen Area, you may get an extension to your visa in case of:
- Force Majeure
- Humanitarian Reasons
- Important Personal Reasons
Is It Mandatory To Have a Schengen Insurance Plan?
Yes, it is mandatory to have a Schengen Travel Insurance Plan in order to apply for a Schengen Visa. You must have a valid Schengen Medical Travel Insurance cover of at least €30,000, and this cover should include the cost of medical treatment and repatriation.
How Can I Buy Tata AIG's Schengen Insurance Plan?
You can purchase Tata AIG's Schengen Travel Insurance Plan by visiting our official website. After studying the features of the plan and adding the number of people you wish to bring under the ambit of the coverage, you can make the premium payment online and have the policy document instantly delivered to your email address and WhatsApp inbox.