Schengen visa for citizens of Afghanistan in 2023
Published on: 19 August 2021

Like many third-country nationals, Afghanis need a visa in order to travel to the Schengen area. A Schengen visa from Afghanistan will allow citizens and residents of the country to visit (and spend up to 90 days in) all 26 countries in the European Schengen space. Schengen visa countries include France, Germany, and Italy, as well as numerous other destinations renowned as tourist, education, and business hot spots. If you are applying for a short-stay Schengen visa from Afghanistan, you must meet the various Schengen visa requirements for Afghanistan citizens and residents. This blog will provide an overview of those requirements, and also answer commonly asked questions like, “Where do you apply for Schengen visa in Afghanistan?” And, “What are the Schengen visa fees for Afghanistan nationals?” And finally, “When should I apply for the Schengen visa for citizens of Afghanistan?”. 

How to apply for a Schengen visa for citizens of Afghanistan

  • 1. Plan when you need to travel
    • Applicants for the schengen visa for afghan citizens should note that the processing time for most applications is two weeks; because of this, you should plan your trip so that you have time to apply for your visa at least two weeks before you leave. However, due to the current security situation in the country, it is advisable that you allow for a longer-than usual processing time for your visa application.  
  • 2. Decide what “type” of Schengen visa you need
    • When you apply for your Schengen visa from Afghanistan you will be asked to select your visa “type.” Various Schengen visa types are available; each represents a specific reason for travel. 
    • For example, if you are traveling to participate in an educational program in the Schengen area, you will apply for a Schengen Student visa (whereas if you are traveling to have surgery in a European hospital, you will apply for a Medical Schengen visa). 
    • Browse among the various available Schengen visa types here.
  • 3. Decide what “entry category” of Schengen visa you need
    • Single, double, and multiple; these are the Schengen visa entry categories you can apply for. Keep in mind that just because you receive a Schengen visa doesn’t mean you can enter, exit, and re-enter the zone at will. Whether you are able to re-enter the zone (and the number of times you can re-enter it) depends on the kind of “entry category” of Schengen visa that you receive. 
    • If you only need to enter the Schengen area once, you should apply for a single-entry Schengen visa. If you anticipate needing to enter it more than once (for example, you see yourself entering the zone, exiting, and then re-entering it a final time, you should apply for—at minimum—a double entry Schengen. Finally, a multiple entry Schengen visa will grant you unlimited entries, exits, and re-entries to the zone (this is a great option for those who anticipate traveling back and forth between Afghanistan and Europe). 
  • 4. Decide what country to apply for
    • There are 26 Schengen visa countries; you will apply for your Schengen visa through the country you are traveling to (i.e. your primary travel destination). 
    • Most people who apply for Schengen visas do so because they intend to visit more than one country in the zone. If you hope to visit multiple countries, you will need to identify your primary travel destination from among them (this will be the country you anticipate staying the greatest number of days in). 
    • In the event that you are staying an equal number of days in more than one country, your primary travel destination will be the first Schengen country you enter. For example, if you are spending 35 days in both the Netherlands and Germany, but you plan to fly directly from Kabul to Berlin, Germany will be your primary travel destination, and you will apply for a German Schengen visa (rather than a Dutch Schengen visa). 
  • 5. Decide where to apply in Afghanistan
    • If this is your first time attempting travel to the Schengen area, you are likely wondering “where do I apply for Schengen visa in Afghanistan?”.
    • If you are applying for a short-stay Schengen visa from Afghanistan, you will need to identify the embassy, consulate, or visa application center that handles the Schengen visa applications for the Schengen country that is your primary travel destination. You will submit your Schengen visa application and fulfill the rest of your Schengen visa requirements through this location in Afghanistan. 
    • Schengen country embassies are located in the capital Kabul, and most have consular sections. Alternatively, due to the current security situation in Afghanistan, many Schengen countries are outsourcing their Schengen visa processing sections to other countries. For example, at the moment, the French Embassy in Kabul currently directs Schengen visa applicants from Afghanistan to apply through either the French Embassy in New Delhi (India) or the French Embassy in Tehran (Iran). 
  • 6. Gather your required documents
    • All Afghani Schengen visa applicants must submit the following basic required documents:
      • Afghani passport (or valid passport from another country)
      • Passport photos (2) 
      • Proof of accommodation (i.e. proof of where you will stay in the Schengen area) 
      • Proof of finances (i.e. proof that you can afford your stay in the Schengen area) 
      • Proof of travel medical insurance (i.e. proof that you have obtained travel medical insurance to cover you in the event you experience an illness/accident in the zone)
    • Supplemental documents are also required of applicants applying for certain types of Schengen visas. For example, if you are applying for a Medical Schengen visa, you will most likely be asked to submit official documents from the hospital/clinic in the Schengen area where you intend to receive care, attesting to the nature of your treatment. 
    • Please note that all documents/materials that you submit as part of your application must typically be written either in English or in the official language(s) of the Schengen country you are applying to (certain Schengen countries will also accept documents written in widely-spoken European languages like German, French, and Italian—contact your application destination directly to find out the language requirements). If you attempt to submit a document that is in a language not described above, you will likely be able to submit it on the condition that you do so alongside a translation into an accepted language. For example, if you are applying for a “Visiting Family and Friends” visa to France for the purpose of visiting your mother who lives in Paris, you will need to include an invitation letter from her, inviting you to visit her (as per the application requirements for that specific visa). If she writes that letter in Pashto—for example—you will likely need to have the letter translated into French in order for it to be accepted by the embassy/consulate processing your application. 
    • Additional Schengen visa requirements for Afghanistan include the submission of biometric information (photos and fingerprints), and the payment of the basic Schengen visa fee (80 EUR for most applicants). Most categories of Afghan students, as well as those who are members of cultural/humanitarian/sports delegations do not have to pay for their visa. To see if you might be exempt from paying Schengen visa fees, click here.
    • A full list of Schengen visa requirements is accessible here.
  • 7. Access your Schengen visa application form
    • The main component of the Schengen visa application is the basic application form. Depending on what Schengen country you are applying to, you will have the option of submitting the basic, harmonized (i.e. not country specific) version, available here.  
    • If you choose to apply through the above method, you will download the form, print it out, fill it out, and sign it (before handing it in with the rest of your application at your Schengen visa appointment). 
    • If you are applying through a country like Germany, you will likely be asked to apply through an online application portal (see Germany’s online visa application portal as an example). 
    • Please note that Afghani applicants who apply online are usually asked to print out a physical copy of their online application, which they will present in person at their visa appointment.  
  • 8. Schedule your Schengen visa appointment
    • Schengen visa appointments are required for most applicants; those who are applying online can typically schedule them online as well. If you are applying using a paper application form, you will likely have to contact the entity receiving your application (embassy, consulate, etc) in order to make an appointment. 
  • 9. Attend your Schengen visa appointment
    • The final and only in-person stage of the application process, your visa appointment is where you will pay your Schengen visa fees for Afghanistan, submit a paper copy of your application, have your biometric information collected, and attend a visa interview. 
    • Please note that almost all Afghani applicants—even those who previously submitted their biometric information on another Schengen visa application, as well as those who already paid for and submitted their application online—are required to show up for an appointment in person. 
  • 10. Await your application decision
    • Applicants who receive a “yes” on their application will be notified of their acceptance via email, which will also contain instructions on how to obtain their Schengen visa (now embedded within their passport). 
    • Those who are rejected for a Schengen visa from Afghanistan may appeal by following these general guidelines. For more specific information about appealing a rejected Afghani Schengen visa, contact us here.
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