If there is one thing I hate about travelling as an Indian Passport holder, it is VISAS. Sure there are MANY places you can travel to without a visa, or with just an e-visa, but MOST places require Indian citizens to apply for a visa, and Poland is not exception.
In this article I’m going to focus on everything you need to know about getting a tourist visa for Poland – which is basically applying for the Schengen Visa, but through the Polish Embassy. Here’s everything you need to know.
Do I need a visa for Poland if I hold an Indian Passport.
Yes. You will need to apply for a Schengen visa to the Polish embassy in India, unless you plan to visit other countries in the Schengen, in which case you can apply for a Schengen visa in any other country you plan to visit, and visit Poland on that visa.
How much does a Schengen Visa cost?
While the fee was EUR 60 (INR 4700) until Feb 1 2020, it has been hiked up to EUR 80 (INR 6290 approx) per person from Feb 2, 2020! If you go via the popular visa service VFS, you will have to pay an additional VFS Logistics fee of INR 1500 per person and convenience charge of INR 150 per person (this does not include the courier charge of INR 450). If you use a travel agent to apply for a visa, you will have to pay an additional fee of anywhere between INR 1500 to INR 2500 per person over and above the visa and VFS cost.
How do you apply for a Schengen visa for Poland?
There are three methods of applying.
a. Direct application to the Polish Embassy/Consulate: If you live in Delhi/Mumbai and can go directly to hand over your papers and application, you can avoid all the additional fees and apply for your visa directly. To be honest, we actually considered this option even though we don’t live in either city, but we encountered a few problems. For one, the Polish consulate website where you are supposed to register for the visa doesn’t seem to work properly. It shows an error very often. Secondly, there is not much information available to understand the process and even if you do manage to get through the website, there are no appointments available, ever. We tried this method to no end, and finally gave up.
b. VFS Poland: Normally, VFS is the easiest way to apply for any visa. They may be the monopoly in India when it comes to visas, but they get the job done, and are really helpful about the documents you need, etc. Naturally, we decided to get our visa through VFS, but we encountered a lot of issues. VFS works on an appointment only basis, which you need to book online, and the VFS Poland Appointment page is RIDICULOUSLY SLOW, and it was an absolute nightmare trying to go through VFS Poland
c. A Travel Agent: Really, any decent travel agent will work, but I don’t recommend going through a travel agent unless absolutely necessary. The reason I say this is because all a travel agent does is collect all your documents, organise them, and submit them to VFS for you. Something you can do easily, AND avoid the additional fee they charge you per person. With the help of this guide and a little time, you can apply on your own!
d. THE SECRET COAN SCHENGEN VISA METHOD: Shhh. I know we said 3, but there is actually a 4th method. Yesssss, we went through a lot of trauma so you wouldn’t have to, and have unlocked the easiest way to get a Schengen visa to Poland (or pretty much any SCHENGEN state). Click here to see the super secret method!
Do I need to book an appointment with VFS? Can’t I go directly to their centre?
Unfortunately, that is how it works. VFS will not see you unless you have an appointment. This is why the whole ordeal was frustrating with the Poland website. I have done Schengen Visa applications for other countries and it wasn’t this hard.
What documents do I need to submit to get my visa?
Most documents are common for everybody, but there are some documents that will depend on your employment/ marital situation
VFS provides a checklist of Documents, which you can see here.
How long does it take to get a Poland Schengen Visa?
The official website says anywhere between 10-15 working days after VFS submits it to the consulate/embassy, which can take up to 3 working days depending on which city you apply in. So ideally apply a month or two in advance to avoid any delays or problems.
Will I need to show bookings for my visa to be processed?
Yes. Effectively the idea is the the Embassy/Consulate wants to ensure that you are in fact planning a vacation and that you will leave the country, so RETURN flights and Accommodation Bookings are mandatory. These make a strong case. Try your best to make bookings that can be cancelled and it will be better for you!
How much money do I need to show when I submit finances for my visa application?
Again, the idea here is to show that you can support yourself plus the people travelling with you financially . If you have all your accommodation and flights booked, then ideally showing a spending power of around INR 3,00,000 per couple for 15 days should be more than sufficient and safe. This can include credit cards, traveller’s cheques, FDs, Bank statements, and any liquid assets that you can use when travelling.