This one visa gives you access to 26 nations in the Schengen area.
Which means you don’t have to choose.
This visa is your gateway to all your childhood dreams, to the land
of stunning natural beauty, snowy mountains, shimmering blue coastlines,
charming cities and more. So, let’s break down the Schengen visa and the
process of obtaining one, so you can start booking your trip as soon as
Schengen Visa- what’s that?
The Schengen visa was introduced in 1985
after the Schengen agreement.
Why is this important to know?
It was this agreement that allowed visitors
to move freely across Europe, without facing multiple border restrictions
across countries. It also means that you don’t need multiple visas to enter
different countries in the region. This is the largest free travel region in
What can I use the Schengen visa for?
As we’ve mentioned previously, the Schengen
visa is for people who want to travel in this area. You can now travel across the
major countries of Europe, barring the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Romania,
Cyprus, Croatia and Ireland.
Not only can you use the Schengen visa to
travel to different countries, there are different types of Schengen visas you
can apply for, based on your travel purpose.
Business Visa: If your sole objective is to conduct business in a Schengen country, then this is the visa you need to submit an application for.
Work Visa: If you’re looking to earn in Euros and build your career in one of these countries, then submit your Schengen visa application for a work visa.
Transit Visas: Many flights have a layover in a Schengen country. You’ll need a transit visa in order to enter the country. In this case, there are 2 types of visas you can apply for: Category A or B.
If you’re planning to simply wait out your
layover in the airport, then take an Airport Transit Visa – Category A. Under
this category, you will be allowed to wait in the transit area only. This is
perfect for those who are travelling on business or prefer a shorter travel
However, if you’d like to make the most of
your trip and experience a slice of Europe, while en route, apply for a
Category B visa, which allows you to reside for up to 5 days in the Schengen
Tourist Visa: Every year millions of people apply for a Schengen tourist visa with the sole purpose of experiencing the magic of Europe. With a tourist visa, you have a limit of 3 months to explore any country in the Schengen region. Once the validity of 90 days expires, you’ll need to apply again to extend your stay for another 3 months. Keep in mind, that with this visa you won’t be able to work or earn any money during your stay – you’ll be visiting purely for personal reasons.
What documents do I need to apply for the Visa?
The Schengen visa might seem vast and
complicated, but all you need to do is keep a simple checklist of up-to-date
documents ready. Follow the list mentioned below, and the process will
automatically seem less confusing or overwhelming. (Do remember to start
collecting your documents well in advance of your trip. This will save you a
lot of time, effort and panic).
Visa application and photos: Let’s start with the most basic and important document – the Schengen visa application. This needs to be filled, signed and submitted with 2 passport sized pictures. These pictures need to be correctly sized, whole-face capture with a light background.
Passport: You’ll need to submit a valid passport, with at least 2 blank pages. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 3 months after you return from your trip. Additionally, you’ll need to provide photocopies of the first and last pages of your passport. (Make sure the copies are in good conditions, the details need to be clear and unblurred.)
Travel Insurance: This is an absolute must for all visitors travelling to the Schengen region. You’ll need to apply for insurance equivalent of at least 30,000 EUR, which will cover any emergency expenses, especially medical and hospital care costs. The insurance must cover the entire duration of your stay in Europe. As a side note, if you do have pre-existing conditions, make sure you carry your prescriptions, medical reports and documents in case of an emergency. It never hurts to be prepared! Click our Travel Insurance to check out the options.
A visa cover letter: You’ll need to write a
letter to the embassy with the following details mentioned:
The purpose of your visit
Proof of how you will fund the
If your trip is sponsored, you
will need to mention your relationship with your sponsor and the reason they
are sponsoring your trip
An overview of your trip itinerary
Your intention to return to
your home country – this is important as embassies check the likelihood of you
staying past your visa validity.
Proof of airline reservation for a round
trip: You’ll need to provide dates and flight tickets that specify both your
entry and exit from Europe. If you’re worried about losing money on booked
tickets, don’t be. You can provide the embassy with reserved flight tickets, or
you can book tickets that are completely refundable (in case your visa is
Proof of accommodation: The embassy of the Schengen country you are applying to requires proof of where you will be staying for the duration of your visit. You can do this in three different ways:
Evidence of a place of stay,
such as a hotel booking or reservation
If your trip is sponsored,
you’ll need to provide an invitation from your Host along with a copy of his/
Evidence of a pre-packaged
holiday tour with the details of your payment for the tour.
Proof of your civil status: This could
Birth certificate of children
travelling with you
So far, we’ve covered the documents
required for a tourist visa. However, if you are travelling to a Schengen
country for another purpose, there are some additional documents you need to
If you are employed, you’ll need to
Your employment contract
Your bank statement of the last
A no objection letter from your
employer (as proof of leaves from the office)
Income Tax Return form / Certificate
of Income Tax deducted
If you are self-employed, you’ll need to provide
Copy of your business licence
The company’s bank statement
for the last 6 months
Income Tax Returns
If you are a student
Proof of your enrolment
A no-objection certificate from
the institute/ university/ school
If you have retired
A pension statement for the
last 6 months
Tips to sail through the Schengen visa process
you a comprehensive list of documents you need in order to apply Schengen
visa from India. However, the list can be intimidating. There are a lot of
documents you need to collect.
Take a deep breath. We’re here to simplify
the entire process. When you apply for a visa with Thomas Cook, we guide you
through the entire process, step by step. Furthermore, we also provide you with
a few tips to keep in mind when you start the Schengen visa application process.
Start well in advance: This is a visa that requires a great deal of documents. A task that cannot be completed in 1-2 days. If you start the process of collecting your documents at least a few weeks in advance, it will reduce any panic and give you time to make arrangements, in case you can’t provide or find a particular document. Your Thomas Cook visa guide will be there to remind you in case you haven’t provided a specific document, so that you can submit a complete application with ALL your documents ready.
Keep an eye on the details: Your Schengen application goes into specific detail, so its important you keep any eye out when you fill in the application. At the same time, our visa guide will also go through your application and keep an eye out for any mistakes or omissions.
Provide authentic documents: Before
you scan and upload your documents, make sure they are all authentic and
verified. Our guide will look through all the documents before it goes to the
Booking your Schengen visa in 4 Easy Steps with Thomas
If you’re looking for a simple way to book
your Schengen visa online, then Thomas Cook is perfect for you. With 4
simple steps, and a few clicks, you can complete you visa application process.
Our visa guides will guide you through the process, so you won’ be handling
this process on your own. Finally,
while you’re waiting for your visa to arrive, we’ll provide real-time updates
regarding the status of your visa – something that you won’t get with other
travel agencies or agents.
The 1st step – fill in the
details of your visa and get the cost.
The 2nd step – pay for your visa
online through multiple channels – net banking/ credit card / debit card
The 3rd step – scan and upload
your documents online with Thomas Cook or at a selected branch
The 4th step – Get real time
updates on the status of your visa until you receive your visa.
The Schengen visa can be vast, and at times
overwhelming. However, with Thomas Cook you have a guide by your side. A little
bit of research and planning ahead is all it takes. You can then sit back,
relax and look forward to the trip of a lifetime.