Schengen Visa for Indians in UK

Yes, I’ve been there and done that. So here’s the list of tips out of experiences of myself and some around me that I witnessed firsthand. 
Disclaimer: This is not a legal post. This is experience based post written in November 2018. If you're reading this post much later, terms & conditions might be different.
1. You can apply for the visa at the country in which you’ll be staying the maximum or the country of first entry if 2 or more countries have equal stay. Do apply at least a month earlier, just in case of any delay!!! I’ve seen one submitting all papers properly that took 4 weeks and one without even proper bank statement that got done in a couple days!!!!!
2. Technically you need not provide for accommodation details if you’re going just on a day trip without staying any nights, coz that’s common sense and that’s what the FAQ section of the website says!!! However, you do have to provide a piece of paper – a letter that says that you don’t have accommodation info attached, coz you’re not there for any nights!!!
3. If you’re going to Europe from UK, on multiple trips and unsure of how many or till when (provided you have your valid UK permit till then), attach an itinerary that gives them an idea on the several trips that you’re planning, with confirmed ticket & hotel booking for atleast one or 2 of those! You’ll get a 3/6/12 months visa depending on your UK visa’s expiry.
4. In case you and your spouse (both Indians) are working in different countries (within UK & Europe) and would like to meet each other over a weekend or so (provided both are employed), applying with tourist visa, processes it much more quickly than applying with ’Visa for spouse’ category! Coz, that requires you to provide many more papers including original marriage certificate (with an official translation, if it is not in English or Schengen language!) as the embassy wants to be double sure that you won’t end up staying indefinitely in the other country!!! You may just have to book a hotel like a tourist, which you could cancel later on!
5. In case you are a dependent spouse living with an employed person in UK, make sure carry the original marriage certificate (with an official translation if it is not in English or Schengen language). Plus, you need a letter from the employed person, saying that he/she’ll sponsor the dependent, while applying for the Schengen Visa.
6. Travel Insurance
a. Cheap Travel Insurance is available online as well as even in supermarkets like ASDA! As soon as you buy one, you can attach its papers along with the visa application.
b. When buying tickets, you have an option of adding insurance for the trip. However, it is better to buy an annual insurance separately. 
c. Here’s the catch about Travel Insurance. If something untoward happens, the travel insurance ‘may be’ invalid!!! See – buying a travel insurance from UK, even if you have a residence permit in UK, is valid only after you’ve been in UK for 6 months, that’s 6 months from your date of entry into UK!!! Though a cheap online one or ASDA one is enough to get you the Schengen Visa, its technically invalid, if you haven't been in UK already for 6 months!!! If you’re in a situation to claim the insurance, you cannot!!!!  
d. The only fool-proof way to actually be safe is to get a worldwide or UK & Europe Travel Insurance from India before leaving India!!! Its costlier, but it’s safer!!!!
e. The other option is to buy Europe Travel Insurance from UK after you’ve been there for 6 months. This is obviously applicable only if you’re in UK for a year or more.
7. While crossing immigration at Denmark, I was once asked why I had applied for visa through France!! Such questions aren’t uncommon. They know the answer. The question is just to make sure of our attitude and read our expressions!!! 
8. Yes, it is possible for dependents to travel alone to European Countries after getting the Schengen Visa! You will be asked a few questions though while entering back into UK like if where is the wife/husband or why he/she didn’t accompany in this trip etc.
9. Don’t forget to carry your original UK Residence Permit coz you need that to exit the European country and enter UK! You can just fill ‘till *the last date on your BRP*’ in the number of days of intended stay column in Arrival Card! In case of bus travel, this checking & immigration is going to happen in the middle of the night in Dover/Calais/Dunkirk (buses to/from any European country will cross the English Channel only here!). You will be woken up at the middle of the night!!!
10. Unlike several countries where entry and exit and stamped on the passport, UK has a different policy. Only entry is stamped!!! Exiting requires you to show the passport & documents at check-in counter to board a flight/train/bus, but there’s no stamping. It was very weird to me at first. I just cleared the security and went off to the gate with no stamping! Then asked 2 different officers to be double sure if I was doing the right thing!!! In case of train travel, the entry to Europe is stamped even before you board the train in UK!!!

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

8 comments:

  1. Very insightful information! It is vital to know about the immigration process when coming to a new country. Your tips will definitely help a lot of people!

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  2. This article if very helpful for people you are thinking to apply Schengen Visa. I have heard there are many issues involved and questions asked. But yes your article simplifies that one needs to tell the country about their travel plans to make sure they dont think you will live illegal.

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  3. Hmm, looks like a lot similarities for a visa to Russians. But yea, I am not going to apply, will get Finnish passport first.

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  4. Though I have no experience of that, but this is interesting to know.

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  5. I'm very lucky to have a British and Filipino citizenship, mainly for the British passport! Very easy to travel without the needs for visas.

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  6. This is a lot of great information in the right time. My Indian girlfriend will visit me for New Year and she'll need to get a Schengen Visa. I'll share this article with her.

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  7. I couldn't agree with you more on the point about travel insurance! So many people don't bother with it but it can be a total game changer.

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  8. I am processing my Schengen Visa in French Embassy and hope I will get the approval soon. I am excited to explore France! And maybe UK next.

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