I have recently received an inquiry regarding Schengen visa application from Dubai, or UAE in general. I made a long and detailed reply that I think, it could easily pass as a blog post. We’ve done 3 Schengen visa applications in the past and it’s as easy as 1-2-3!
Let me walk you through the step by step process on how to do it.
1. You have to determine where you need to apply from. There are 26 countries in the Schengen agreement and you don’t just apply where you want. If you’re traveling to one Schengen country, then it’s your default country of application. But if you’re traveling to more than one Schengen states, you will send your application to the country where you’re staying the longest. While if you’re going to several countries with the same number of days each, then you have to apply on your first country of entry.
2. When you already figured out where to apply, then it’s time to schedule an appointment either with:
- VFS Schengen visa applications for Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Norway Portugal Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
- CKGS Schengen visa application for Italy
- TLSContact Schengen visa application for Denmark and Iceland (c/o Denmark)
- Respective embassy/consulate for Belgium (Abu Dhabi), Poland (Abu Dhabi), Estonia (represented by Finland embassy in Abu Dhabi), Finland (Abu Dhabi), Latvia (Abu Dhabi), Liechtenstein (Abu Dhabi), Lithuania (Abu Dhabi), Luxembourg (Abu Dhabi), Slovakia (Abu Dhabi), Slovenia (Abu Dhabi)
3. Prepare the necessary documents before your appointment.
- Filled out application form
- Passport valid for 6 months
- Residence visa valid for 3 months
- 2 recent (at least 6 months new) photo following the Schengen visa required dimensions
- Proof of financial means
- 3 months bank statement. This will come from the bank itself with a stamp/dry seal; printed bank statements are not honored. There’s no specific amount of money to show but you have to have a proof that you can support yourself during your travel, hence the next requirement. But if in doubt, take a look at this page and compute the expected expenses. http://www.immihelp.com/visas/schengenvisa/means-of-substinence.html
- Salary certificate stating your job/position, monthly salary and tenure in the company, addressed to the embassy/consulate
- Company trade license. Some visa applications require your company’s trade license
- Flight ticket reservation. We normally book a ticket that allows us to cancel the ticket for a small fee.
- Accommodation bookings. We always book in sites that offer “free cancellation” just in case our visa application gets denied. Sites like Booking.com and Agoda are helpful.
- Medical insurance policy/ Travel insurance. I believe that it’s a necessity whether it’s a requirement or not. We always purchase travel insurance whenever we travel, wherever we go, because you’ll never know when something happens. We always use World Nomads.
- Visa fee
4. On the day of your appointment, show up at your scheduled time. Plan to arrive a little early coz you still have to queue when you get there.
5. The staff will check your documents, then you will proceed to photo and biometrics. Usually, before the day ends, you will receive an SMS telling that your application was forwarded to the respective embassy/consulate.
6. Expect your visa after 5 business days, less than a week, actually. You will receive a notification from VFS when your passport is ready for collection. If you opted for the courier service, then it will be delivered right at your doorstep, usually a day later.
Nice and easy, right? Do you know that having a Schengen visa allows you to enter European countries that are not part of the Schengen agreement? You can enter countries like Romania and Croatia for a couple of days with that sticker on your passport! Now, go and enjoy your European holiday! :)