#EuropeTour Part 1: How to apply for a Schengen Visa

So you have planned to visit Europe; however if you are not a US, Canadian or UK resident chances are you are going to need a visa to enter the Schengen Area. I am not a visa expert/counselor so please take the following as my opinion and information based on my experience only.

Europe Schengen Visa
Schengen Visa

The first step is to decide which country you are going to apply to, as the Schengen agreement is accepted by 26 states and you can apply to anyone of them considering that state is going to be your primary destination or first port of entry. I will be talking more about what is best and easiest for Karachites, but most of it will be generally applicable for Pakistanis and residents of a country who require a visa to enter into Europe.

Which country to apply to?

Schengen area map
Schengen States

As I mentioned earlier, you should apply to the country you first want to visit. For example you would apply to Spain for a Schengen visa if you wish to start your tour from Spain. My tour did not include Spain and therefore I had the option to apply to Italy, Germany, Netherlands, France or Switzerland, please remember Turkey is not part of the Schengen agreement but yes you can easily get an E-Visa to Turkey if you have a valid Schengen visa stamp on your passport. I applied to Italy for a few reasons, first and foremost Italy has a consulate in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore so if you are called for an interview you will not have to travel to Islamabad where all consulates are of other Schengen states. Secondly relations between Pakistan and Italy are fairly good and lastly it is geographically a good point to start seeing Europe in my opinion.

What is going to be your length of stay?

The duration of stay is an important thing to consider before you apply for a visa. If it is your first time travelling and you have a blank passport, keep your duration as short as possible. A week is good to visit one or maybe two countries of your interest. The more days you apply to stay for, the harder it can be for you to get a visa and you will require to show you can afford your trip for the complete duration of your stay.

Should I apply for Single entry or Multiple entry?

Definitely a single entry visa if you have not been to Europe before.

How to apply?

After selecting the state you want to apply to, you will need to read all requirements to apply for a visit visa, some states require more things than others. For Italy, you should have:

  1. 6 month Bank statement of all bank accounts you hold against your name.
  2. Bank account holding certificates of all bank accounts you hold against your name.
  3. A letter from your employer stating your proof of employment.
  4. A letter from your employer stating the dates of your approved leaves and rejoining date.
  5. Tax certificate (Must have)
  6. A health insurance of upto $50,000 (Don’t be worried it is not so costly to get insured)
  7. Confirmed travel tickets.
  8. Confirmed accommodations.
  9. Past 6 months Salary slips.
  10. Any property documents you have (optional)
  11. Recent passport size photographs (white background-non glossy paper)
  12. Passport valid for at least 3 months after visa expiry date.

Please read the consulates website for any updated requirements or information.

How much money do I need to have in my bank account?

The easy rule is to add up the cost of your air tickets, your hotel accommodations and €100 per day for each travel day for example €1700 for 17 days. The total of all this is the minimum amount you should have in your account.

Am I ready to apply?

If you have all of the above, have been in employment for more than an year and have a bank statement to prove that, then your chances are very good. However, if you don’t have any one of the above even the optional stuff your chances will decline fairly. I personally would not advise students or those who are still dependent on others to apply. Most people do not know that if your Schengen visa is refused your passport is stamped with the rejection and certainly that is bad for any future travel plans you may want to fulfill. So please do consult a a good travel agent before applying and get all documents required.

As most of you have requested me for the travel agency I used, it was Pak Shaheen Aviation. They have been my travel agency of choice for the past 4 years, if you do call them ask for Mr. Amjad Ali (+92-343-2703803). You too can get your air tickets, hotels on promotional prices, travel insurance and any tours your would like from them as I did. If you have any further questions about the visa process, let me know through your comments below and stay tuned!

Advertisements

49 thoughts on “#EuropeTour Part 1: How to apply for a Schengen Visa

  1. Hello, I’m also planning to visit some European countries , end of this year.so, did u made all the arrangements through that travel agent? Did u get the Shengen visa from Italy embassy?

    Like

    • If you are earning equal or above the tax slabs from Government of Pakistan then you should get yourself registered for it. If you are earning below it then you don’t need a tax certificate.

      Like

      • If anyone is doing job in UAE and wants to apply for Schengen visa. Then what are the possibilities? Should he apply from UAE OR Pakistan? And from which countries embassy should I apply if there is none other travel history.

        Like

  2. well on some sites it is written that some countries including Pakistan’s nationals also have to get an airport transit visa. I actually want to go to Germany and Belgium but my flight would be to Paris,France. So do I have to get airport transit visa separately?

    Like

  3. Salam, your post provides great first hand knowledge. I intend to visit Italy in the first week of September, but I’m not sure whether my visa will be processed in time. How many days did it take for your visa to be processed and passport to be returned?

    Like

  4. Salam
    I am planning a bag pack trip with 3 other friends of mine (all Pakistanis) and we will be applying from Kuwait since we reside here. We intend to visit in Feb/March. We plan to start from Italy and after going across 8 to 9 countries end in Spain. Do you think we should mention all of these countries while applying, since that increases the chance of rejection in my opinion, instead we can mention Switzerland and Germany only. Also do you think after the recent incidents across Europe, chances of rejection increased? It will be a one month trip so some other suggestions would be highly appreciated. Thanks

    Like

    • Wallaikumsallam Saqlain
      I think which ever country you are planning to visit you should have hte proper ticketing and lodging documents for. 1 month is fine if you can provide all your stay details and show a good enough bank statement. You should also be giving them proof from your employer of your leave approvals for a complete month. All the best!

      Like

  5. Hello,
    I have a fresh passport and wants to take my wife on a honeymoon to Europe, preferably Germany, France or Italy. Is it possible?

    can we visit because as far as I have heard it is impossible which is very disturbing thou, because I have proper finance and have all the other documents. I would really appreciate if you can help me out here bro.

    Like

  6. Can you please explain what is a Tax Certificate? I have been filing taxes online from past couple of years but not sure what is this particular certificate. Are you referring to print out of form 114(1) “Return of Income”?

    Like

  7. very nice and informative article…. can we apply without
    3. A letter from your employer stating your proof of employment.
    4. A letter from your employer stating the dates of your approved leaves and rejoining date.

    Like

      • I am a accountant in a Private College. I have not tax certificate. Is it compulsory for me? I want to apply for France visit visa. Can you suggest me which embassy is better for more chance to get visa. France or Italy? Is Sponsor letter is compulsory for visit visa? If sponsor letter will be then how far to get visa? Can u tell me please interview question at the time of appointment what the embassy asked? Did the pak shaheen aviation made all arrangements of documents? Can you tell and what charges will collect this agent?
        Your answer is favorable for me…….

        Like

      • If you are going to visit Italy as well then applying through Italian embassy is better in my opinion. You dont need a sponsor if you can show you have sufficient funds to cover you travel costs. Interview questions depend on your application and are generally around why you want to visit you dont need to prepare for them. Yea the agent can help you arranging documents but I dont know what he’ll charge for that, you should call him for details.

        Like

      • I am working in a college as a Senior Accountant. My salary is R.s 30.000/Month. My annual salary is R.s 3,60,000/-. This salary is not taxable. Tax is start from R.s 4,00,000/-. of annual income. This college is not registered. And not paying the Tax. Is it problem for me for issuance the tourist visa? The college should be registered or not? and not taxpayer ? This is compulsory? If i make my hotel and Ticket reservation from a travel agent, then in interview if they asked about this. Can i tell them these reservation are make myself or from a agent? This question was ask from my friend in the France Embassy Islamabad.I think you will understand my all questions.

        Like

      • If they ask you for tax only then mention that your pay is below the tax slab. Yes tell them whatever is the truth if its by your agent tell them that if you did them yourself then tell them that.
        All the best!

        Like

  8. Hi,
    I am medical student in lahore so my father will be paying for all my expenses and also i have travelled alot ie 20 times to england in the past 5 years. i have 3 questions:
    1) in the application form of italy tourist visa, which option should i tick in Cost of travelling and living during the applicant’s stay is covered by: I) applicant herself, or II) other option in which ill specify father?
    2) i am applying for 17 days out which ill be staying in italy for 12 days and 5 days in copenhagen so should i mention that in my application form that ill be travelling to copehagen or just show the bookings for italy hotel for the complete 17 days to make it easier?
    3) and last question, when u flew from one schegen state to another did the border control stop u and ask the questions eg like why r u here etc everytime you went to another schegen state or was it border control free?
    thnak u

    Like

    • Hi Alina;

      First of all i’m purely replying with experience and not associated with any consulate or travel agency so for current information you should always call the consulate or consult a travel agent.

      No win my opinion:
      1) Do other and mention your father since it’ll be his bank statements and all.
      2) Mention both and show both bookings.
      3) There is no border control if you are travelling in between schengen states.

      Like

  9. I am applying for Italy first time what will be chances of Schengen visa as i have already got visa for turkey. i am married and traveling alone. Have a personal business and property

    Like

    • Do you want to move or do you want to visit Europe? If you want to visit you can apply for a schengen visa for any of the 26 schengen states.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s