- When applying for a Schengen visa, you will have to establish proof of subsistence, i.e. proof that you can financially afford your stay in the Schengen area and travel out of its territory throughout your visa validity period.
- You will be asked to indicate your intended means of subsistence on your Schengen visa application form. Proof of subsistence is therefore one of your supplemental documents that you must present in addition to your Basic Required Documents.
- In order to be approved for a Schengen visa, you will have to establish that you can afford to pay for the following expenses while you are in the Schengen area:
- Cost of living (food, daily transportation, etc.).
- Travel out of the Schengen area.
- Other miscellaneous or possibly unexpected costs.
- Collectively known as proof of subsistence, this proof can take the form of various financial records/materials indicating your personal financial situation. You will supply this proof of subsistence to the consulate/embassy you are applying through, which will determine whether or not it is valid.
- Please note, if at the time you submit your application you cannot afford to subsidize your intended living and/or travel expenses in the Schengen area, but are able to credibly demonstrate that you will possess the financial means to do so in the future, you may still be judged to have satisfactorily demonstrated proof of subsistence within your visa validity period.
How are means of subsistence determined?
- What qualifies as subsistence is different for each Schengen country. For example, because France is generally more expensive than the Czech Republic, the amount of money you are estimated to need to enter, reside, and travel out of France will likely be greater than for the Czech Republic. As a result, the amount of money the French Consulate/Embassy will expect you to be in possession of (or acquire in the future) will likely be larger than the amount you would need if you were going to the Czech Republic.
- In determining the minimum amount of money you will need to be able to afford your stay in the Schengen area (and travel out of its territory), consular authorities will take into account your reason for travel (purpose) and the intended length of your stay. They will then multiply the number of days you intend to reside in the Schengen area by the typical cost of budget accommodation in the state(s) you intend to reside. The resulting calculation will be an estimation of how much money you will need in order to afford your entire trip to the Schengen area-from entry to exit. In order to be approved for your Schengen visa, you will need to prove that you either already have this amount of money or that you will lawfully be able to acquire this money by your date of travel/arrival in the Schengen area.
- Independent of this calculation, certain countries may require you to be in possession of a minimum amount of money per day, based on their own calculations for average cost of living in their respective country. For example: the Czech Republic requires Schengen visa applicants staying under 30 days to have at least 1,100 CZK per day, while applicants staying for more than 30 days must have at least 15x 2,200 = 33,000 CZK. This number increases by 4,400 CZK for each month = 33,000 CZK + 4,400 per each full month (please note, these numbers are an estimation; the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs reserves the right to increase or decrease these posted amounts at any time).
- If you are travelling and staying in more than one Schengen country, subsistence will be likely be calculated based on your estimated expenses in the country where you are staying in the longest (i.e. in the country that is processing your visa application).
- Failure to adequately establish proof of subsistence could result in you being judged as not having properly established your intent to leave the Schengen area within your visa validity period, and therefore cause you to be rejected for a Schengen visa.
How to show proof of subsistence?
- You must present materials/documents indicating that you can afford to stay in the Schengen area throughout your trip, and also that you can afford to travel out of the Schengen territory once your visa is up.
- Please note, your exit out of the Schengen area can be to either to your country or to a third country where you do not have citizenship or residency (if the latter, you must present proof that you will be able to enter said country upon arrival).
- You can prove proof of subsistence by providing at least one of the following:
- Banks statement(s).
- Payment slips from several months (generally at least 3) of employment (and/or proof of employment).
- Official invitation.
- Private invitation.
(Please note, the above list is not meant to be exhaustive, but shows some of the most common forms of accepted proof of subsistence).
- Bring original materials/documents of the above whenever available, otherwise print out/make copies of them for submission with your visa application.
- Private accommodation and/or proof of accommodation can in certain cases stand as evidence that you have established proof of subsistence for your stay in your respective Member State (i.e. that you have the financial means to afford to stay in the Schengen area throughout your visa validity period).
- Generally accepted proof of subsistence for minors can be in the form of their legal guardian legally swearing that they will cover all the costs relating to the applicant’s intended stay in the Schengen area. In this case, said legal guardian must present the same proofs of subsistence as above on behalf of the applicant.
- Please note, while different countries have different requirements/preferences for establishing means of subsistence for Schengen visas, the above general types of proofs (and related documents) are considered universal. Detained information about providing proof of subsistence is likely available via the consulate of the country you are applying to. Check with your specific consulate/embassy to determine how best to establish proof of subsistence in your intended Schengen country of stay.