[Update] Schengen Visa Application Process | vfs visa – POLLICELEE

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Guidelines on How to Apply for a Schengen Visa

Every person wishing to enter the Schengen Area, under whatever purpose, might be subject to a visa regime, depending on his or her nationality.

If you have never been to Europe before, the first thing you have to do is ask yourself “Do I need a visa to Schengen Area?” Currently, more than 60 countries around the world can enter Europe visa-free zone without the need to obtain a visa first, and remain there for 90 days within a six-month period.

The application process to obtain a European visa is mandatory for your freedom of movement in this area. Therefore, you should be very careful when lodging your Schengen visa application.

If you need to apply for a visa to Europe, proceed reading this article which is the ultimate guideline of a Schengen visa application process.

1. Figure out which Schengen visa type you need

Depending on the purpose under which you need to enter the Schengen Area, you can apply for one of the following Schengen visa types:

2. Find out where you need to apply

Depending on how your destination country in Schengen has regulated visa submission in your country of residence, you will have to file your Schengen visa application at one of the following:

  • Their embassy
  • One of their consulates
  • A visa centre to which the embassy of your destination country has outsourced visa submission
  • The embassy/consulate of another Schengen state to which the embassy of your destination country has outsourced visa submission

By your “destination country”, we mean the country where you need to lodge your application, according to the Schengen rules.

These rules are as follows:

  • If you are going to visit only one Schengen country, file your application at the embassy/consulate/visa centre of that country
  • If you are going to visit more than two Schengen countries, file your application:
    • At the embassy/consulate/visa centre of the country where you will spend most days if you will be spending an unequal amount of days in each
    • At the embassy/consulate/visa centre of the country where you will step first, if you will be spending an equal amount of days in each

3. Find the most suitable time to apply

Due to the time that the Schengen embassies/consulates worldwide need to process a Schengen visa, you have an appointed period within which you can file your visa application.

The allowed period to apply for a Schengen visa is as follows:

  • The earliest you can file a visa application: six months before you start your planned trip.
  • The latest you can file a visa application: at most 15 working days before you intend to travel.
  • The recommended time to file a visa application: at least three weeks before your trip.

4. Book an appointment

Book a Schengen visa appointment in order to proceed with your application.

Most countries give you the chance to book an appointment online. On the other hand, in others, you will need to book the appointment in person, at the embassy or consulate of your destination country.

5. Fill out the visa application form

Download the application form and fill it correctly and honestly.

The Schengen visa application form has the same format no matter which country’s visa it is that the applicant is applying for.

You will have to give the following information on your Schengen visa application form:

  • Your personal information,
  • Information on your background,
  • Your purpose of wishing to enter the Schengen Area,
  • Other details regarding your trip.

In order to complete and submit the form correctly, pay attention to the following tips:

  • Download the latest form of the application since that is the only form accepted.
  • Make sure you fill out every required gap. Here you can find some clear instructions on how to fill in the visa application form.
  • Do not leave any columns blank. If you feel that, there are columns that do not correspond to your case, fill them with NA (No Answer).
  • Remember to print the form twice. Sign both of the copies at the end.
  • If you are a minor, your parents have to submit a written consent and sign it in the corresponding column of the application form.

6. Gather the required documents

The required documents are a crucial part of your visa application. Usually, these documents are categorized into two groups.

The first group is of the standard required documents, which include:

The other group is of the visa specific requirements. These documents and their specifications differ from one visa type to the other. In addition, some of the Schengen member states have their own extra requirements for visa applicants.

Check our list of documents required for the Schengen visa application, which includes the standard requirements, as well as the visa-specific requirements for each visa type.

7. Attend the visa interview

On the day of your appointment, show up on time at the facility where you will be interviewed. There you will meet a visa consular to whom you need to hand the collected documents, as required.

During the interview, you will be asked personal questions about your whereabouts, the intended trip and other travel details. Make sure your answers are firm and correct, and that they comply with the information in the application form and the other documents. The interview may last around 10-15 minutes.

Some of the questions you might be asked during the Interview

  • Which countries in the Schengen, are you planning to visit?
  • Do you have any family members or friends living in Europe?
  • What is the purpose of your visit?
  • Who will pay for your visit?
  • Are you married? If yes, what does your spouse do? For how long have you been married?
  • Do you have any children? If yes, how old are they, what do they do?
  • How long are you going to stay in Europe?
  • Where are you going to stay?
  • What is your educational qualification?
  • Which company do you work for?

Read also Top 60 Most Asked Questions during a Visa Interview

8. Pay the visa fee

You will need to pay a non-refundable administration fee when applying for a Schengen visa, in order for your visa application to be processed.

The member countries have synchronized the visa fees; therefore, they are static and unchangeable until decided otherwise by the Schengen states.

Currently, a Schengen visa fee is €80 per person. Children and some other specific categories will have to pay either reduced fees or no fees at all, depending on their situation. Check the list of Schengen visa fees, their reductions and exemptions to see if you belong to any of those categories!

9. Wait for an answer on your application

Wait until you get a response on your visa application. Although in most cases it takes no more than 15 days for processing a visa, there are times when this process takes quite much longer. That period can be extended from 15 up to 45 days in some countries concerning some citizens.

If your Schengen visa is approved

If you get your visa, make sure to understand carefully the labels attached to the visa sticker, including the period it permits you to remain in Europe, otherwise, overstaying in the Schengen Area might have consequences.

The articles How to find low-cost flights to Europe and What do you need to pack when travelling to Europe will help you not just to save money but also to have a more pleasant journey to Europe. Have a nice trip to Europe!

If your Schengen visa gets rejected

If your visa application gets denied, read the reason why didn’t grant you a visa and try to fulfil it the next time you apply or if you think that your application was correct, and the decision on its refusal was a mistake, you can always appeal the visa rejection.

Need to stay more than 90 days in Europe?

If you need to remain longer in Europe, you need to apply for a National Visa at the embassy of the adequate country. A National Visa permits you to remain in Europe for a maximum of 12 months.

FAQ about applying for a Schengen visa

What happens if there is no embassy/consulate of a certain Schengen country in the applicant’s place of residence?

In some third countries, there might not be an embassy/consulate of the particular Schengen country you need the visa issued from. Nevertheless, that doesn’t pose any problems since in these cases there are embassy/consulate representatives of the country that represents the interests of the country in the matter as well as their own which are responsible for issuing the applicant the required visa.

In case the applicant is denied the visa due to inability to provide the necessary documentation or proof that he/she meets the standards to be travelling in a Schengen zone there is a possibility to apply again at the embassy/consulate of their desired destination in a neighbouring country.

Can I apply for a Schengen visa in a country where I am not a resident?

Yes. If you must apply for a Schengen visa in a country where you are not a resident, the justification for why you are applying from that country will suffice.

The applicant must attend the designated meeting in person when handing in the application form and the attached documentation. At the consulate, the applicant shall not be accompanied unless he/she is a minor, of sensitive health, or not able to perform any locomotive activity. In case the applicant is not able to speak English or the language of the Schengen country whose consulate he/she is applying in a company is recommended.

If you fail to attend the embassy/consulate appointment without prior notice of 48 hours the request will be cancelled and you will have to undergo the procedure once again.

Learn how to apply for a Schengen visa in different countries

What do I do if I urge to extend the Schengen visa?

In the case of any trustworthy reasons, personal, occupational, medical or otherwise, the applicant has to turn to the corresponding institutions in the Schengen country of residence and apply for an extension of the Schengen visa. The extended Schengen visa will give the applicant the right to visit the same Schengen territory as the original visa issued. A visa extension may not result in the duration of stay exceeding 90 days.

[NEW] Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK | vfs visa – POLLICELEE

Most UK visa application centres (VACs) have resumed services where local restrictions allow.

Before applying for your visa, please check the latest information on travel to England from another country during coronavirus (COVID-19). Please read any local travel guidance in your country of residence.

Standard UK visitor visas are currently taking longer than usual to be processed due to high global demand.

UKVI are working hard to process applications as soon as possible.

You will be contacted by the Visa Application Centre (VAC) when your passport is ready for collection. Do not attend the VAC until you have been invited to do so.

You are advised not to book any travel before you apply or before a decision is made on your application. You’ll only be refunded if we have not started processing your application.

If you’re applying from The Gambia or are a Gambian national

From 15 November 2021 most entry clearance visa applications from Gambian nationals will be subject to additional checks and it may take longer than usual to get a decision.

If you are not a Gambian national or you are a Gambian national applying on one of the following visa routes your decision waiting time won’t be affected:

  • All routes: Compassionate grounds
  • Appendix FM
  • Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode
  • Family reunion
  • Replacement BRP (biometric residence permit)
  • Returning resident
  • Transfer of conditions
  • Visit: organ donor
  • Visit: private medical treatment
  • Windrush

The priority visa service is currently suspended at Banjul visa application centre (VAC). If you’re applying from The Gambia you will not be able to use this service.

If you need to travel urgently to the UK for compassionate reasons, you will need to apply for a visa in the usual way including submitting biometrics at the VAC. Contact UK Visas and Immigration for help.

When your application’s waiting time starts and ends

Once you’ve submitted your application online, the waiting time starts when you either:

  • attend your appointment and provide your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a visa application centre
  • verify your identity using the UK Immigration: ID Check app. This will depend on the visa you apply for and you’ll be advised if you can use this

The waiting time will end when you get an email containing the decision on your application. This will explain what you need to do next.

Visit the UK

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for a visa to visit the UK:

  • for a holiday or to see family or friends
  • for a business trip or meeting
  • to get married

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.

Travelling through the UK

You should get a decision within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for a visa to travel through the UK on your way to another country.

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.

Study in the UK

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks once you either attend your appointment at the visa application centre or use the ID Check app, if you are applying for a:

If you verify your identity at a visa application centre you may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.

Work or invest in the UK

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks once you either attend your appointment at the visa application centre or use the ID Check app, if you are applying for a visa to work or invest in the UK.

You should get a decision within 12 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for a Turkish Business Person visa.

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.

Join family in the UK

You should get a decision within 12 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre to, if you are applying to settle in the UK as the spouse, partner or family member of someone who has British citizenship or is settled in the UK.

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.

If you are applying as the dependent of another applicant, you will get your decision at the same time.

If you are applying for an EEA family permit or an EUSS family permit you will get a decision as soon as possible after proving your identity and providing your documents.

Family reunion

You should get a decision 12 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for family reunion with a refugee or person with humanitarian protection.

Commonwealth citizens

You should get a decision within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for an Ancestry visa.

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.

Windrush Scheme

If you are applying under the Windrush Scheme read the guidance and the latest correspondence on the work of the Home Office in relation to Windrush.

Returning residents

You should get a decision within 3 weeks you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for a returning resident visa.

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.

Replacing biometric residence permits

You should get a decision within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for a visa to travel to the UK to replace your biometric residence permit (BRP).

Replacing residence cards

You should get a decision within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you hold settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and are applying for an EU Settlement Scheme travel permit to travel to the UK to replace a lost or stolen residence card.

Transfer your visa from your passport

You should get a decision within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying to transfer your visa from your passport.

Certificate of entitlement

You should get a decision within 3 weeks you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for a certificate of entitlement to prove you have right of abode in the UK.

Priority services – get a faster decision

Collection within 5 working days (priority service)

If you verify your identity at a visa application centre and the service is available in the country you’re applying from, you can choose the ‘priority service’ when you apply. There will be an additional cost for this service.

A decision will be made within 5 working days of your appointment at the visa application centre.

Check with your visa application centre to see if the priority visa service is available in the country you’re applying from. The priority visa service is available in most countries.

Next day collection (super priority service)

If you verify your identity at a visa application centre and the service is available in the country you’re applying from you can choose the ‘super priority service’ when you apply. There will be an additional cost for this service.

UK Visas and Immigration aims to make a decision on your super priority visa application and contact you to let you know that your passport is ready to be collected by the end of the next working day from when you provide your biometric information.

Check with your visa application centre to see if the super priority visa service is available in the country you’re applying from.

What happens next

If you verified your identity at a visa application centre you will be contacted when your documents are ready for collection.

If you verified your identity through the UK Immigration: ID Check app, and your application was successful, then you do not need a biometric residence permit (BRP). Your immigration status will be completely online.

When you’ll get your biometric residence permit

If you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months and you verified your identity at a visa application centre you will need to collect your biometric residence permit (BRP). Collect your BRP once you’re in the UK.

You must do this before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later.

If there’s a problem with your BRP

Report any problems with your BRP within 10 days of collecting it.

When you might wait longer

You might wait longer for a decision if your application is not straightforward and more information is required before a decision is made, for example:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified
  • if you need to attend an interview
  • because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)

If you applied for a priority or super priority visa and your application is not straightforward, you may have to wait longer, but your application will still be put at the front of the queue at every stage of the decision-making process. UK Visas and Immigration will try to process your application within our standard timescales.


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How to Apply Visa for Any Country using VFS Global Visa Application Centre

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