Schengen Visa from Rejection to Approval
Visiting Europe is the dream of every individua. One major hustle for Pakistanis and some other countries is getting Schengen Visa which opens doors to 26 countries in Schengen territory whose list you can find at:
Being an incusitive and travel enthusiast, I love participating in different national and international conferences/summers schools. It's a great way to experience meaningful travel and connect with people from across the globe.
Learn more about How International Exchange Programs can Change Your Life by Clicking: Read Story
Learn more about How I Got Turkish Visa In 15 Minutes: Read Story
Last year, my visa got rejected by Embassy of France in Islamabad due to following reasons as mentioned on my visa refusal letter:
Coming out of the interview room, I was sure about my rejection because I made some blunders that I'll share at the end of this writing so you can do things in the right way.
Step-by-Step Guide for Schengen Visa Application
Step 1: Visa Interview AppointmentFirst thing first, get an appointment at German Embassy or any Embassy you are applying for using the link given on thier website; Click here to book your appointment at German Embassy
Do this step right after you know that you’re going to travel. During seasons, Available slots will be as late as 3 months or more. I know you don’t want to miss your trip!
Step 2: Prepare DocumentsThis is the most hectic task as you can see my documents below;
Both online and manually filled application form are valid but I would suggest you to go with online as it’ll ease up the interviewer to retrieve your data directlyClick here to fill online application form
This is considered as the most impactful document in your visa application and can strengthen your application. This letter will be issued by the organization or from family/friend/relative who's inviting you
From organization, it should be on their official letter head written with your name and exact dates of your arrival and departure, a brief introduction of the organization including their aim and purpose of this event, organization’s registration number and contact details. This contact detail will further be used while filling application form during reference section. If they are sponsoring your trip, it must be clearly written on this letter at what extent they’ll sponsor your event
In another article, I'll share how to get invitation letters from international organizations/institutions the way I do for my every international trip. I call it meaningful travel
Employment letter is the contract letter we get during hiring process and Leave Certificate will be issued by the HR department of the company we are working in. Just write an email to HR, explain your purpose and they will issue in a day or two. It must be on official letter head and must include your Post, Employee ID, Date of Joining, Annual Salary, Approval Statement and Exact Dates of Approved Leave.
If you are student or both employed and student; you should attach bonafide letter issued by your university including student ID, Batch, Expected Graduation Date as well as stating that university has no objection for your travel. It must be on official letter head.
I attached my one year bank statement with significant amount available that would be enough to cover my travel, accommodation and food expenses. It’s important to have a balanced bank statement i.e. a meaningful history of bank deposits and withdraws. Depositing a large amount (say 2 hundred thousand rupees) one month before visa application and with no such deposit history in the past will creat suspicious impression and may cause for visa rejection.
These will be issued by HR department. Just write an application to HR
Along with bank statement and salary slips, it's a best practice to attach other proof of income generating assets such as rented land, freelance financial sheet, national saving assets etc
If no one is funding your trip, a formal declaration from your parents will work as well. It should be on Rs. 20/30/50 Affidavit and should include their contact details, how much they will fund in dollars/Rupees and their proof of financial means such as bank statement
I wouldn’t recommend you to actually book a flight prior to visa. It’s a huge risk and may cause loss of money in case your visa get rejected and airline doesn’t offer any refund. Like many other schengen countries, German embassy asks for verifiable reservation and there are some airlines that offer Free of Cost Reservation for one, two or even a week such as Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Emirates. Better get reservation one day before visa interview so it can be verified by the embassy within allowed time period. Be aware of the online scams of some travel agencies that charge a significant amount for travel itinerary. Why to spend some thousands when you can get it free online!
This is one of the major factors that can lead to rejection if not handled carefully. Get a letter of hotel reservation from your inviting organization if they are sponsoring your accommodation. If you don’t have any sponsor, the best way is to reserve a room online. There are many such websites that allow you to reserve hotels anywhere in the world with payment on arrival and no cancellation fee. But I would recommend to use booking.com as it’s reliable and I have been using for quite a long time.Click here to book online Hotels/Hostels
It’s obvious to have original passport with validity of minimum of 6 months and also bring along all the previous passports if you have.
It should be readable and on A4 size paper.
All the Photocopies must be on A4 size paper.
You can get this certificate from NADRA office by paying a fee of Rs.1000
Take a print out of your appointment email. AMEX receipt will be given during documents submission.
Skip this step if you are lucky, not to have any refusal in the past. Otherwise, attach the copy of previous refusal letter alongwith a written explaination of refusal, stating the date when you applied, purpose of visit and the reason of refusal as marked on your refusal letter. You better think about some logical reasons why your previous visa got rejected and then explain how you are better prepared for this time and what positive changes are there in your profile now, considering your previous mistakes. Don't lie!
Attach the filled security questionnaire.Click Here to download Security Questionaire
This is very important document. You must have health/travel insurance for your complete stay in Schengen Territory. Its charges vary depending upon your duration of trip. I can connect you with a reliable agent who’ll offer insurance fee as minimum as possible. Do contact me for travel insurance.
These documents can leave a positive impression on your profile. Embassy do issue visa to the person who have strong reasons and ties with their homeland.
Better attach this document as it shows that you are a responsible citizen. It’ll strengthen your profile positively.
Step 3: Visa Interview
Economy shuttle charges: 500 rupees
Business shuttle charges: 1000 rupees
After getting token for visa interview, wait for some hours dear! I was called for interview after 1 and half hour.
This is the moment. Keep calm and take deep breadth before you go inside the cabin. Here are some common questions that you may face in every embassy:
After stating your name, place where you live and what you study/job, quickly move towards why you are going and how it is related to your job/study. This is your chance to convince interviewer that you’ll come back after this. In my case, I mentioned that “The organization I’m working in is focusing on related programs and this opportunity will help me learn and serve back to my organization and ultimately I’ll get promoted” This shows the solid reason that I'll come back and have no intension to overstay there illegaly. Design your own reason accordingly.
Relate your purpose with your previous experiences and future goals. If you are applying for tourist visa, convince them that you are passionate travelor. Mention some famous places you want to visit.
Convince them that you love your job and you are only going for tourism or professional development that’ll help you grow in your job after coming back.
Here, your letter of sponsorship helps. Just mention that you have enough savings and stable job as evident from bank statement.
Remember not to lie as they have all the records already. You must have prepared a strong reason to defend your rejection and state how you have improved those mistakes. Here letter for reason of rejection helps!
These are all the questions they asked me. Another question they may ask sometimes;
Just don’t say YES! You are applying for Short Term Tourist Visa, not the Working Visa. Your "Yes" will lead you straight rejection. Just be humble and state that your family needs you and you already have a great job here and you won’t accept that offer for this particular journey
Step 4: Visa Fee SubmissionAfter having interview, You'll get a fee slip to submit visa fee in the bank inside Embassy. Following is the Schengen Visa Fee structure;
Step 5: The Never Ending WaitThis is the worst phase. You see flights and accommodation prices going up because you don't have confirmed visa for booking. Embassy takes 2-3 weeks for visa processing. But in my case, they took 37 days. I still can’t figure out why. Probably, because of my previous rejection and they had to investigate in details.
Why My French Visa Got Rejected?
"You are attending a fully funded event, You have booked your flight tickets, all the hotel reservations are confirmed and even some domestic flights in Europe are booked but a week before your departure, you get to know that your visa has been rejected!"
That's the kind of disappointment I had faced two years ago when my first ever Schengen Visa got rejected from French Embassy in Pakistan
The reasons I think I got refused were;
My Personal Tips for Schengen Visa
Schengen Visa is one of the difficult visas to get and rejection rate is quite higher. Following are my personal tips for Schengen Visa;