If you are traveling primarily for social reasons, i.e. to visit family or friends, you should apply for a Schengen Visitor Visa.
What is the Schengen Visitor Visa?
- A kind of short stay (Type C) visa allowing you access to the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period for the purpose of visiting family or friends who are residents/citizens of a Schengen state(s).
Required Documents for Schengen Visitor Visa?
- In addition to the Basic of Schengen Visa Application Requirements, applicants for a Visiting Family or Friends Schengen Visa should submit the following materials:
- Proof of your relationship to the resident/citizen of the Schengen state who you are visiting. This should be in the form of a marriage certificate as well as birth certificates.
- A formal letter from your host in your destination Schengen country pledging to cover all costs related to your visit, from travel to lodging, as well as specific information detailing your reason for visiting as well as your intended activities/schedule.
- Invitation letter from your host.
Eligibility: Who Can Apply
- Nationals of a third country excluded from visa-free access or visas on arrival to the Schengen area that have a formal invitation to visit Family or Friends who are residents/citizens of the Schengen area are eligible to apply for a Visiting Family or Friends Schengen Visa.
How to Apply for Schengen Visitor Visa?
- Determine the Schengen country where you will be spending the most time on your trip. You will apply for the Schengen Visitor Visa through that country’s consulate.
- Select “Visiting Family or Friends” as the purpose of the journey.
- Determine how many “Entries” to the Schengen area you need.
- Gather your Basic Required Documents, as well as the documents required for a Visiting Family or Friends Schengen Visa.
- Fill out your application. Different Schengen countries provide different ways of accessing applications; you might have to use an online application portal or fill out a print-application by hand.
- Pay the Schengen Visa application fee (the standard fee for adults is 80 Euros). You will likely have to submit a service payment with your visa application. This is a separate cost from the visa fee, which you will likely pay in person, at your subsequent interview appointment at a Visa Application Center. Please note that these fees are non-refundable.
- Submit your application.
- Schedule an interview appointment. Interviews are conducted in person either at the embassy or the consulate of the country you are applying to, or at a Visa Application Center associated with the consulate of the country you are applying to.
When to Apply for Visa
- You should apply for a Visiting Family or Friends Schengen Visa at least 15 days prior to the day you intend to travel, and no earlier than 6 months before you leave.
Where to Apply
- You should apply for the Visiting Family or Friends Schengen Visa through the embassy or the consulate of the country you are traveling to in the Schengen area, or through a Visa Application Center associated with the consulate of the country.
- If you are travelling to multiple countries in the Schengen area, you should apply through the embassy, the consulate, or the associated Visa Application Center for the country in which you will spend the most time. And in case you plan to spend an equal period of time in those multiple countries, then you need to apply at the embassy, the consulate, or the associated Visa Application Center of the country where you will arrive first.
Processing Time for Schengen Visitor Visa
- The processing time for a Visiting Family or Friends Schengen Visa is generally about two weeks (15 days). In rarer cases, consulates can take anywhere from 30-60 days to render a decision on an application.