Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone 😛
Or maybe tell everyone!
So, we went through a ton of trouble just so you wouldn’t have to. (You’re welcome!) If you, like us, are applying for a Schengen visa, you probably want to know what’s the easiest way to get a Schengen visa to a specific country – in our case it was Poland. You could go through the standard methods and apply for a Schengen visa to THAT specific country, like we did for a Schengen Polish visa, and after weeks and weeks and weeks of frustration and annoyance give up on trying to get a Schengen visa through Poland and instead look for other ways to do it or you could skip to that part now and just apply the way we did.
So, how did we get our Schengen Visa to visit Poland, that too in less than a day?
We applied to France! That’s right, France. The best part? We’re not even going to France on this trip, but you have it on paper now that getting a Schengen visa through the French Embassy is ridiculously easy, like taking candy from a baby easy – with the right documentation. So here’s how we did it.
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That’s right baby! We just got #visa approved! We are almost ready to spill the tea on our upcoming #COAN trip, so all you #traveljunkies have to hold on only a little longer before we give you any more details! Stay tuned to our page, follow us on twitter, and make sure you leave a comment as to where you think Anjan and I are off to! #travel #traveladdict #travelphotography #travellingthroughtheworld #travelguide #travelholic #traveling #travelgram #travelblogger #traveltheworld #travelling #traveler #traveller #travelingram #travelawesome #passport #passportready #travelcouple #traveldeeper #traveldiaries #passportlife
1. Visit the VFS -France website (this is the only way to do it).
2. Follow the instructions – It will take you to the French Embassy website where you will have to fill out an application form online. You can fill out for multiple people on the same application, and save it. Once you’re done filling the application form, the website will then ask you to confirm that you have an appointment with VFS
3. Go back to the VFS website and book your appointment date and time. Choose a convenient date and location based on where you live. As far as time slot is concerned, pick the earliest time slot of the day (8.15 AM) as this enables you to be the first person in and out, and you finish real quick.
4. Go back to the French embassy page and confirm that you have your appointment.
5.Save and print your appointment letter and applications and start with your document preparation.
1. Copy of your latest passport (with 6 months validity and blank pages)
2. Copy of any old passports
3. Copy of all STICKER visas (UK, USA, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Schengen etc.)
4. 2 photographs from not more than 6 months ago (35mm x 45mm, 80% face on a white background)
5. Financial proof (3 months of salary proof/ proof of income/ bank statement showing a bank balance of around INR 2,00,000 – 3,00,000, Income tax returns for 3 years). If you’re retired/ unemployed/ a minor, show proof accordingly, that someone else is supporting you/bank balance – all the details of what you need to show will be there on the France embassy website when you’re filling the application form
6. Proof of employment, and letter of leave from your company/institution (if applicable)
7. A covering letter, stating that you want to visit France and what you plan to do. See our sample below to get an idea of what we wrote.
8. An itinerary, showing a majority of days being spent in France. Here’s a sample itinerary of what we sent in
9. Bookings for accommodation in all places mentioned in your itinerary matching to your plans . TIP: Use booking.com to make bookings that can be cancelled later.Ensure that these bookings match the itinerary you provide.
10. Flight tickets – these don’t HAVE to be to France, they just need to be to anywhere in Schengen Europe, and you need to show how you’re getting to France from there (train/bus/car/flight bookings)
11. Transport from point of entry to France bookings. We showed car rental bookings which we are using in Poland.
Alternatively you can show flights to France and cancel them as soon as you apply for your visa. TIP: Expedia offers 24 hours cancellation on flights, so take advantage on that! Effectively for any Schengen visa, you need to show either entry/exit or longest duration of stay in the country that you are applying for
12. Any other documents of financial proof or backing that will prove that you can sustain yourself and/or you will return to India (property/ FDs)
13. Marriage certificate (If you are recently married. We went as far as submitting a photograph from our wedding since we didn’t have a certificate)
14. Copy of your Aadhar Card/National ID
15. Any additional trip bookings that substantiate your claims to travel.
16. OPTIONAL: Letter of authorization to collect your visa. If you can’t collect your passport, please include a letter authorising a person, along with a copy of their ID proof , to collect the passport on your behalf. This must be submitted along with the application and you must retain a copy of this letter that the person must carry with them when they come to collect your passport. This can be avoided if you opt for their courier service that delivers the passport to your doorstep
On The Day Of Your Appointment
Carry only your documents in a clear pouch, your phone on silent and your cash/card to pay the fees. All other items will either have to be kept in a paid locker, or kept in your vehicle. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment time, and once you enter, pass security, collect your token and wait your turn. On your turn, hand in your documents to the VFS official who will then proceed to sort them. If you haven’t already signed your form they will ask you to do so, and stick your photo on it. After this you can pay your visa fees by cash or card, then wait to register your bio-metrics. At the end if the bio-metrics you will receive a slip of paper that you have to retain and bring to retrieve your passport upon collection.
Once this is done, your visa process is complete, and you can go home and await your SMS updates! We collected our passports from VFS in less than 36 hours since we applied in Chennai and our passports were processed in Pondicherry! Make sure you check the collection hours at your VFS , since these are specific times of the day during which you can collect your passport (Ours were 1pm to 3pm). Bring the aforementioned slip and collect away. You won’t know whether you got it or not until you open that dreaded brown envelope 😀
Now that you know our super secret foolproof process, you try it too, and let us know how it worked for you!
All the best and happy travelling!