For those travelling to Europe from countries with Schengen visa requirement, it is quite important to plan out your itinerary first before you can be assured entry into your ultimate holiday continent – Europe.
Here are some tips on how to get the visa with a little more assurance.
This article also gives you a bit of suggestions on how to travel cheap into Europe.
- Get a cheap fare possible. At least won’t hurt that much if your visa doesn’t get approved. You can get as low as SGD 789 from Singapore if you plan ahead, maybe something like an 8-month gap between the purchase and the travel dates. To get the most reasonable fare, check out the following airlines and travel sites:
- Lufthansa occasionally offer cheap fares from SGD 700++
- Scoot flies low-cost to Europe. Definitely, it is one of the cheapest options out there
- Middle-eastern airlines are very cost competitive. They fly to Europe via their hubs (Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi) for a steal
- Visit skyscanner.com for the cheapest available deals
If you are cost conscious, but want to cover as many countries as possible, flying into Paris and flying out from Rome won’t work. That would be super expensive. Check out round-trip fares, they are most of the time cheaper.
- Once you purchase your ticket, plot the days or weeks to the countries that you intend to visit in a spreadsheet. To be sure, stay longer in the country where you plan to enter. For example, you enter the Schengen area from Amsterdam, stay in the Netherlands longer. Staying longer can mean collective, meaning you can stay there for few days upon arrival and few days before departure.
- You are going to apply to the embassy or visa processing partner (such as VFS Global) of the country where you intend to enter, or where you intend to stay longer. I previously suggested to stay longer in the country where you plan to enter to avoid confusion of which embassy to go to for your application. Please see the checklist from the appropriate country to ensure you do not miss a requirement during your appointment.
Here are the typical documents needed for the application:
- Visa application form
- One recent photo
- Valid Passport – Original & Copy
- NRIC – Original and Copy (if you are Singapore based/resident) (Ensure that it has at least 3 months validity from the date of arrival back in Singapore)
- Company Letter
- Round trip flight reservation
- Proof of accommodation
- Travel Insurance for Schengen Area
- Bank statements (with bank logo or stamp)
- Host Declaration – If anyone host you from the Schengen Area
- Transport tickets between EU countries
- Itinerary (in Excel)
- When checking out for hotels, check out com, booking.com, and Agoda.com for the best possible hotel rates. You may want to check out Airbnb too. At this point, it is advisable only to reserve rooms with an option to cancel at a later date. This is significantly more expensive compared to those without the cancellation option, but this will limit your losses in case your visa gets rejected. While you are doing all these bookings, plot everything in a spreadsheet with all the information, and as detailed as you can. You will submit a copy of this itinerary to the embassy during your appointment.
- You can book an appointment for visa requirement submission as early as 3 months before the intended date of travel. Ensure that you have all the documents neatly compiled 2 days before your appointment to avoid cramming.
- It is required to book bus, air, or train tickets when traveling between countries. Flixbus provides cheap and comfortable bus rides within Europe. Transport tickets, such as MRT tickets, when travelling within a city or a single country is not needed to be submitted to the embassy or VFS. Take note that only tickets for cross-country travels are required to be submitted.
- It is required to submit a travel insurance during your application. Please note the Schengen has a coverage requirement of at least EUR 30,000 (about SGD 48,000). So ensure that you purchase a policy with this coverage or higher. Though travel insurance reimburses non-refundable items in case the trip did not go as planned, transpo and hotel cancellations due to visa rejection are not covered.
- One lingering question is, how much do I have to keep in the bank to ensure approval of the visa? Well, save at least SGD 5000. This is for 2-3 weeks of travel. Also take note that the SGD 5000 should be the minimum daily balance for the last 3 months.
Hope this helps. Go and enjoy the trip!