Schengen Tourist Visa
Tourist visa is an authorization of the designated country/countries of destination within the Schengen Area issued to the citizens of countries that have mandatory visa requirements from the Schengen Zone with the sole purpose of traveling in the designated Schengen country/countries for pleasure or on a visit to their relatives living in the Schengen Zone. The holder of this type of visa is not required to have the citizenship of the designated country in order to spend time with their relatives or visiting the designated Schengen country however such an authorization has its limitations as well.
On a tourist visa you are allowed to reside in the designated country for the maximum of 3 months/90 days unless the visa states differently, and you are not allowed to work for such a period of time, unless the visa states differently.
Who needs a Schengen Visa?
Non-European citizens willing to travel to the Schengen Area are bound to apply for a short-term Schengen visa under “tourist” specification. Depending on the visa issued they may be allowed to enter once (single entry) or multiple times (multiple entry) and stay for no longer than 3 months 90 days per year in between the period of 6 months. Such a decision is made by the authorities depending on the nature of ones travel purpose and other relevant factors.
What documentation is required?
First of all, one must download the application form from the internet and fill it completely and sincerely. You can electronically fill in the form for a Schengen Visa and print it out.
- One photo is to be attached; the photo must have a passport format, full-face capture, and a light background. The photo must be recently taken.
- The passport as well as all the copies of your previous visas, valid for at least 3 months prior to your departure is required. The passport must have at least two blank pages.
- One must have a copy of the reservation of the return ticket for the time intended to be travelling. Find out how to get flight reservation for Visa Application.
- The travel visa insurance policy is to be secured, covering any medical emergency with hospital care and travel back to one’s native country due to medical motives. This health insurance policy has to cover expenses up to 30,000 euros, the sum depending on the residing days, and also it has to be valid in all Schengen countries. The health insurance policy must be purchased before picking up the visa and if your visa is refused you can cancel it!
- Proof of Accommodation
Tourist visa (Visiting friends or relatives)
- The current bank statement (preferably for the last 6 months)
- In case one doesn’t have a bank account or doesn’t own enough funds to be taking care of their expenses during this travel, one must ask the visiting friends or relatives to sign an “official affidavit of support” at the corresponding office in his/her place of residence. Make sure you carry the original document when applying for the visa.
- The applicant description of their trip, the purpose of travelling, the time frame and all the personal date written down in a letter.
In case of first time travelers, one must submit also:
- Income tax returns for the last three years
- Appointment letter
- Proof of legal entity of the company
- A reference letter from the employer
- In case the applicant is the owner of the company he/she is working for, the business registration, tax returns and the latest bank statement is to be attached.
- The plane ticket reservation (You can use the visa consultation services like this one or find one online.)
- Other documents, specified by the visa subtype
- If the applicant declares that he/she will be covering all the travel expenses, proof of one’s financial status is requested otherwise if the relative/friend is to cover the applicants expenses, a formal document issued by the competent authorities to a resident of a Schengen country (the friend/relative in this case) is to be submitted.
- The formal invitation by the relative/friend residing in a Schengen country.
- If the applicant will be covering the expenses on his/her own, the relatives/friends name, address and the copy of their passport will suffice. In case that the friend/relative is not a citizen of this Schengen country, the copy of the residency permit will also be required.
Tourist travel (no visit to any relatives/friends)
- The applicants bank statement (preferably for the last 6 months)
- The detailed itinerary of the traveling days in the Schengen Zone, hotel reservations or a formal invitation letter by a resident of a Schengen country.
Depending on the embassy/consulate that you will be applying to, they might require additional documents to assure the request and the information are genuine, as for example, some embassies/consulates require a certificate that proves you have no legal issues pending or a criminal record. As, you must personally hand the documentation at the previously made appointment (as usually it is required), the person in charge at the embassy/consulate will notify you if there is any additional documentation needed and the nature of that documentation.
How long is the visa valid for?
Tourist visa is commonly valid for stays no more than 90 days. If you will be traveling a lot and not only in one Schengen country it’s recommendable to fill in the “multiple entry” gap in the application form. This way you will be able to enter and leave Schengen Zone as you please for the amount of time allowed on your visa issued.
If you desire to stay longer than the allowed period of time, you will have to apply again in your embassy to prologue your visa.
How long does it take to receive the visa?
It is advisable to apply for a Schengen Tourist Visa at least 2 weeks prior to the planned trip. The Embassy Consulate will then reply in 10 working days as common (or less as usually occurs), the time taken to proceed all the documentation and the travelers request. Depending on the situation, proceeding time might take up to two months if there is something extraordinary with the individual case or any unusual political situation is on the go.