Planning to travel to Schengen this winter? If you have not filed your visa application yet then here are the top 5 things you need to take care of.
European countries are always on the wishlist of every Indian and no doubt the number of travel to Europe is increasing every year. Consequently, if you are planning a trip to Schengen buck up and start planning it now itself.
Getting a visa is one of the most crucial parts of planning your trip, and here are the top 5 things you need to do, to make sure to get the visas on time –
Apply Exactly on Time: Traveler can apply for a Schengen visa 90 days prior to the travel date. Do it, apply 90 days prior to your travel date. This is safe if the visa process gets delayed due to rush or if the appointment date is not available sooner or in the event that you are asked to visit consulate for a personal interview or unfortunately if the visa gets rejected. So to avoid last minute hassle and any of the above issues, apply for your visa earlier.
Do Not Confirm Air Tickets: Some of you may discover this point invalid as appointments are required for the visa right? NO Confirmed air ticket is NOT necessary for any Schengen visa process. But, even if you plan to buy one please make sure of making the Flight Ticket with a “free cancellation” benefit. Just book your hotel (preferably refundable), and reduce the risk of buying flight tickets if a visa is not approved.
You can contact any reputed visa consultancy/travel agency and get yourself a blocked air ticket for visa purpose. You may think booking the tickets later will cost all the more, yet that is constantly moderate than taking the risk of entire ticket amount.
Do Your Research: Yes, research about the visa process of the countries you are planning to travel before finalizing the itinerary. Check the process, the time is taken for visa process, moreover, where is the issuing authority located to get an idea of the processing time, check if the appointments are available. For Schengen one has to apply through the country where you will stay for the maximum period, so this research will help you plan which country to stay maximum so as to get the visa on time.
E.g: During every summer Italy consulate gets a lot of rush due to the appointment dates are not available. Whereas Germany consulate has appointment slots available, but applicant with a maximum stay in Italy cannot apply through Germany. Travelers having confirmed tickets might have to cancel the plan due to this. With the help of your research, you can avoid cases as above.
Documentation & Special Requirements: Consult with visa experts, read online and make sure you identify all the documents required for the country you are eligible to or apply to. Every European country has its own special requirements along with the basic documentation. Make sure you prepare the documentation as per the requirements and guidelines. Anything you miss here will further reflect on the visa process, as the issuing authority will send a pending letter requesting to submit the necessary documents, ask you to come for a personal interview or worst it might result in the visa rejection.
Know if all Countries Fall in Schengen Area: Now this will not sound much important, but it is probably more important than all the above. We, layman, are not always aware of the countries covered in Schengen area, to us all European countries require one visa. But it is not right; the Schengen area consists of only 26 countries within Europe. The other countries require a separate visa. Travelers are getting interested more and more nowadays in countries like Romania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina which DOES NOT befall in the Schengen area.
Also, these countries have critical visa process, which if discovered at the last minute can be a great hassle.
TIP: If you wish to include these countries in your itinerary then make sure your entry and exit are from any of the Schengen countries and these non-Schengen countries are included in between. This is because traveler holding valid multiple entry Schengen visas can get an on arrival visa for these countries.
Now that you know the top 5 things to be taken care, buckle upstart planning your dream a trip to Europe.