The schengen visa is one of the important visas for travelers like me. because this visa unfolds the massive schengen area which covers 4.3 million km landmass and 26 countries in the European continent. I finally obtained this valuable sticker from Netherlands after two refusals from Italy. I’ll share the experience and visa process with you.
First thing first, why my two earlier visas got refused?
I applied in March 2017 for a Schengen visa at the Italy consulate in Karachi through Gerry’s. I provided all the relevant documents and purpose of visit. Before that application, I had visited the US and had a valid multiple entry US visa on Passport and also had visited many other countries.
I was called for an interview at the consulate, and was asked different questions such as what is my job, what is my income and one specific question which was about my purpose of visit. I told them, I’m going for tourism to visit the historical places in Rome and Milan. they asked me about the names of the places to be visited in Rome which I didn’t know. and so they refused my visa application. actually, I couldn’t satisfy the visa officer and didn’t provide a detailed day to day itinerary and names of the places.
I again applied in October 2018 at the same Italy consulate. this time, I addressed the reasons and provided a detailed itinerary as well as more supporting documents such as property documents and business documents. However, shockingly, my second application got refused by Italy within 5 days. and I was shocked to see the straight rejection.
After that, I researched on the internet, and found 95% answers that don’t apply for at least 2 years after two refusals. even some of the Europe experts advised me to not apply again because it’ll be rejected. but I applied again to the Netherlands in February 2019 and got the visa.
How to Apply Schengen Visa?
You can apply the Schengen visa from a country which is in the Schengen area, most of the times, you can apply through a visa application center in your country. I applied through Gerry’s in Karachi, Pakistan.
The Schengen Area countries are: Germany, Austria, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungry, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Greece & Malta.
You can apply to any of the above listed countries for a Schengen visa, and if granted, you’ll be able to visit all of these countries with a valid Schengen visa. however, if you are confused about the Schengen country for applying visa then there is a simple rule for this. apply at the country where you’ll spend most of the days of your trip in the schengen area. that’s called main destination in the schangen, in case your days are equal then you can apply at the country where you’ll enter first in the schangen area.
But this is not a strict law, you can enter any Schengen country with a valid Schengen visa and can exit from another Schengen country. However, for future visa applications, it’s good to use your schengen visa to enter the country which you mentioned in your application and you can exit from any other country. that’s not an issue at all.
Required Documents for Schengen Visa
I’ll share with you the exact list of documents that I attached with my third Schengen visa application and the reason for the purpose of my visit. these are general requirements for a Schengen visa, but some embassies have slightly different process such as Italy asks for one original set of documents and one copy of the entire document list. but Netherlands don’t require a copy of the entire application.
Here is the list of the exact documents required and which I submitted with Schengen visa application to Netherlands:
1) Application form filled and printed
2) Two Photographs
4) Bank Statement of 6 months
5) Flight reservation (not paid)
6) Hotel Booking (not paid)
7) Employment Letter
8) Leave Certificate from Employer
9) Last 3 Months Salary Slips
10) Medical Insurance coverage $50,000
11) Family Registration Certificate (FRC)
12) Passport copy + copies of all past visas & stamps
13) CNIC photo copy
14) Covering letter which with day to day activities of the trip
15) NTN certificate & last 3 years tax returns
After submitting my application, I received it back after 18 days. I requested for 08 days stay and single entry visa, but they issued me with multiple entry visa and 30 days stay which is good to explore the beauty of Netherlands and a few more countries in the Schengen area.
My Tips for Schengen Visa
Since getting the Schengen visa for first time is one of the difficult things, I would advise to make a short, clear and understandable itinerary according to your financial situation and budget. don’t include too many countries in first application, plan a trip for only one Schengen country or two and when you have the visa, you can later change your plan if you want to visit more countries.
Apply ahead of time, legally, you can apply for a Schengen visa three months prior to your travel date. try to apply in low season, so the embassy/consulate has enough time to study your application. May, June and July are very busy months for European embassies around the world because that’s the time when more applications are received than average.
If you are going for tourism then first try to genuinely visit other popular tourist countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan and Turkey etc. that will make it clear that you are a genuine tourist and usually travel out of your country for tourism purposes.
Last but not the least, keep your financial records clear and clean. for example if you are employed then keep your salary slips with you and also credit your salary in your bank account through proper channels such as a bank cheque from company credited into your account. if you have savings in your personal account other than your salary then do explain this in your covering letter to the embassy so they can better understand your financial situation.
Watch this video where I explain more about Schengen visa in Urdu.
Best of luck. and I’m also officially a VISA CONSULTANT and TOUR OPERATOR. if you want any visa consultancy services then do visit our Visa Consultancy and tours page.