Travelling has become an integral part of our lives. We travel for various reasons ranging from vacations to personal or business trips. Whilst some countries issue visa promptly or even at the time of arrival, there are some countries on the west side of the globe that fall under the Schengen Agreement and thus need a different type of Visa known as the Schengen Visa. In this article we will be talking upon some of the important aspects that should be kept in mind while applying for a Schengen Visa and will give a breakdown of the whole process one has to go while applying for a Schengen Visa from Pakistan.
What is Schengen Visa:
Schengen Visa is a type of Visa that is issued to those who wish to travel to countries that fall under the Schengen Agreement which includes multiple countries falling under the European Union as well as Europe in general. These countries have come together and made it easy for travelers to get a unified Visa that lets you enter any of these countries during your trip without the need of separately getting Visas for each of them. This makes it easier for the travelers and has helped immensely boost the tourism in these exotic destinations as well. The name Schengen comes from a village in southern Luxembourg where this agreement was signed. Currently the number of states that come under the said agreement are 26 and you can view the complete list here.
There are different types of Schengen Visas, however in this article we will be covering two main types i.e Tourist and Business Schengen Visas.
Pre-Requisites for Applying:
To apply for Schengen Visa, you’ll need to submit the following documents so these should be kept handy:
* Two sets of the latest available Schengen Visa application form completely filled. One original, one copy.
* Family registration certificate as issued by NADRA and attested by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
* Machine readable passport with at least 2 blank pages. Should be valid until 3 months of the last day of the applicant’s stay.
* 3 recent color passport sized photographs with no editing whatsoever in a neutral pose.
* Property document if applicable. With 2 copies. English translation preferred.
* National ID Card
* If married, 2 copies of Nikahnama as well as its English translation.
* Proof of employment that mentions duration of current employment. English Translation mandatory.
* Application of leave that has been approved for the duration of the trip. Must be in English.
* If on a business trip, applicant should provide proof of registration of the business with the relevant authority. Tax papers from the past 2 years showing tax payment and registration of the business. English translations required.
* If employed then recent pay slips along with proof of employment i.e a letter from the company stating that the leave is approved for the duration of your trip and your employment shall continue after it.
* Copies of all previous Visas (this could be helpful if you have a good travel history as it makes Visa approval likely however not guaranteed)
* All previous passports including current, valid one.
* Round trip air ticket and itinerary with dates and flight numbers along with the entry and exit states. Can also ask for original air tickets at the time of Visa collection.
* Valid proof of sufficient funds covering the duration of the stay. Please note that each country has different minimum requirements hence funds should be according to the country where you plan to stay longest.
* Last but not the least, a travel insurance policy for the duration of travel is mandatory to apply for a Schengen Visa. It should provide coverage for upto 30,000 Euros/ 50,000 US Dollars. The applicant should present an insurance policy that states the policy number, validity, name of insured person and benefits. The policy should cover emergency hospital treatment, medical attention and repatriation for medical services on spot. This is a very vital part of the things required to apply Visa as travel insurance is mandatory for a Schengen Visa. Even if you’re travelling to a non-Schengen country, it’s highly advised that you opt for a suitable travel insurance as medical facilities are extremely expensive abroad and could cost you a lot of money. Smartchoice.pk has a travel insurance policy calculator that lets you search, compare and purchase a travel insurance policy in a few clicks. You can also read our write up on best practices to maintain and possible pitfalls to avoid while getting a travel insurance policy.
How and Where to Apply:
At this stage you should have your complete required documents as mentioned above ready and then proceed with applying for your Schengen Visa. For this you do not have a choice to apply at the consular mission of any country but to approach the consulate of the country you intend to stay in for the longest period of time. It usually takes 15 days to process the Visa so plan to apply in advance accordingly from your date of departure.
Things To Keep Note Of:
Even if you follow all of the above instructions there’s no guarantee that you will be granted the visa. It’s also pertinent to mention that even if you’re granted the Visa you should keep all the other documents in hand as well because the border police can ask for extra evidence before granting entry into the country of stay. Also make sure the visa application form is submitted correctly and by you personally. Getting appointment with the consulate should be done by email as it’s the most appropriate way to do so.
That’s it folks. By following the above mentioned routine you can apply for a Schengen Visa to travel abroad with your loved ones and friends to your favourite destinations. Bon voyage!