Travelling to Europe: How to Obtain a Schengen Visa and the Best Countries to Apply To

Europe is a dream destination for many travellers. From the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the cathedrals of Italy, every country in Europe has a unique story to tell and offers experiences that attract visitors from all over the world. However, if you want to travel to Europe, you will need a Schengen visa.

Here’s what you need to know about obtaining a Schengen visa and the best countries to apply to.

What is a Schengen Visa?

A Schengen visa is a visa that allows unrestricted movement between 27 European nations that make up the Schengen zone. It is granted to non-EU nationals and citizens of countries without a visa-exempt agreement with Schengen members. The visa holders can stay in the zone for up to 90 days within a six-month period.

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa?

The Schengen visa can be granted by any of the Schengen countries, depending on whose embassy or consulate, or visa facilitation centre you approach. If you plan to visit multiple Schengen countries, the application must be sent to the country you will spend the maximum number of days in. If you are spending an equal number of days in multiple countries, then you need to apply to the one you are beginning your trip from.

What Documents Do You Need for a Schengen Visa?

The mandatory documents for a Schengen visa are a passport with a validity of at least three months beyond your return date, travel insurance, flight tickets, accommodation proof, and a cover letter stating the purpose of the trip. However, additional documents may be required depending on the embassy or consulate.

How Much Does a Schengen Visa Cost?

The fee for a Schengen visa is EUR 80 for adults and EUR 40 for children between the ages of six and twelve. There is no fee for children below six.

Best Countries to Apply for a Schengen Visa?

Embassies or consulates of popular Schengen countries such as France, Spain, and Germany can take months to issue visas due to the overwhelming number of applications they receive, and their rejection rates are also on the higher side. However, some countries are more likely to grant visas quickly with fewer applicants. According to European Commission Data 2021, here are the top eight countries with the lowest Schengen visa rejection rates:

  • Luxembourg
  • Slovakia
  • Lithuania
  • Czech Republic
  • Latvia
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Estonia

These countries have a low rejection rate and receive fewer visa applications compared to popular destinations such as France, Spain, or Germany. So, if you are planning a European vacation and want your chances of getting a visa to be higher, consider applying to one of these countries.

Obtaining a Schengen visa requires some planning before applying. Ensure you have all the mandatory documents and a buffer of four to eight weeks between the submission of documents and the day you intend to begin your journey. Also, consider applying to countries with a low rejection rate to increase your chances of getting a Schengen visa.

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