The Schengen area currently consists of 25 Schengen Member States. With the removal of border controls, over 400 million Europeans enjoy passport-free travel across the area.
Note: Only PR’s or Employment pass / S pass / Dependant pass / Student pass / Work permit holders may apply at the European embassies here in Singapore.
If you’re a third world country citizen just like me, don’t worry! Traveling to Europe is simplified with the help of a Schengen visa. Once issued, the visa allows you to travel freely throughout the Schengen zone for up to three months.
Since it is expensive to fly to Europe from Asia, it’s best to visit multiple countries in one trip. If you are wondering at which embassy should you apply for a Schengen visa, here are the guidelines:
- You must apply at the embassy of the country that is your main destination, meaning the country where you will be staying the most number of days.
- If you will be staying the same amount of time in two or more Schengen countries, you must apply at the embassy of the country that is your point of entry.
- If none of those countries is your point of entry, then you may apply in any of their embassies.
Most, if not all, the embassies do not accept walk-in applications. They usually have a booking system, and you have to reserve two to three months ahead. A little story: I personally didn’t know about this when I was about to apply for one. I was devastated when I found out that all the embassies of the countries I’m going to are booked up until end of June to August, and my flight was on the 30th of June. I kept refreshing their websites and miraculously got a slot for the next day at French Embassy! I had no choice but to compile my itineraries and other requirements in a rush. I made sure I would spend the most days in France, or else they won’t accept my application.
List of Requirements
- Short Stay Schengen visa form that can be downloaded on the embassy’s website, fully filled in and signed.
- One photograph pasted on the form. The photo must be recent, clearly showing the face, the forehead hairline and ears.
- Financial guarantee
- For applicants over 18:
– A letter from your employer in Singapore mentioning your annual salary, your position, date of employment and dates of leave.
– If you are self-employed, the local company biz-file issued by ACRA.
– If you are a student, an enrollment letter from your school or university.
– Your last 2 months bank statements (current account and, if applicable, savings account) showing the balance, the transactions, your name and account number. E-statements are accepted.
- For applicants under 18:
– The father’s and/or mother’s last 2 months bank statements.
If your financial means are not sufficient, you may also provide commitment letter from your sponsor stating he/she will be responsible for all your expenses with a proof of his/her financial means (last 2 months bank statements) and a copy of his/her passport.
- For applicants over 18:
- Flight reservation/booking with confirmed dates.
- Proof of accommodation
Confirmed hotel reservation for the whole length of your stay in all Schengen countries. Address and dates should be stated. If you are staying with family or friend(s) you must present:
– For a stay in France: an Attestation d’Accueil that your host must obtain from his/her City Hall
– For a stay in Austria: a “Verpflichtungserklärung” that your host will obtain from a local police station
- Travel insurance
Your name and dates of coverage should be stated on the policy. The insurance should cover the following : medical expenses, hospitalization and repatriation costs incurred for each at least €30.000 during your stay in Europe.
- Original and photocopy: Employment pass / S pass / Dependant pass / Student pass / Work permit / PR card with re-entry permit
- Original and photocopy: Valid passport – only the identity page
The passport should be issued less than 10 years ago and valid for at least 3 months after the departure from Schengen states. It should contain at least 2 blank visa pages.
- Photocopy of previous Schengen visas (if any)
- FOR BUSINESS TRIPS (in addition to all the documents mentioned above)
Original and photocopy of official business invitation letter from a company in France and a letter from your employer in Singapore stating:
– that you are going to France on their behalf and the purpose of your visit,
– the name address and contact number of the company to be visited,
– that your employer takes full responsibility for all your expenses incurred while in France,
– that they guarantee your return to Singapore.
- FOR APPLICANTS UNDER 18 (in addition to all the documents mentioned above)
– A parental authorization form if not traveling with both parents
– Original and photocopy of birth certificate
– Photocopy of passports of both parents
– For minors living in Singapore without their parents: letter of legal guardian + 1 photocopy of their passport
- FOR NON-WORKING SPOUSES (in addition to all the above mentioned documents)
– Original and photocopy of wedding certificate and your spouse’s passport
I had already prepared some of the requirements, it was mostly the bookings of hotels that I still needed to accomplish. After I was done with everything, I left our office at around 11 PM. My appointment for the next day was 9 AM. But there was one more requirement I was lacking… a photo! Thankfully there’s a 24-hour photo booth near Pasir Ris MRT that costed me SGD 7.00 per session. I had to do it three times as I couldn’t get the right size the first two times. You can check out this guideline on how the size of the photo should be.
If you have no clue where to get a travel insurance, you can purchase one on Sompo. That’s where I got mine, as suggested by a friend. It is a trusted and established insurance company from Japan. Their packages can provide the required insurance amount of at least €30.000.
Most of the embassies would have the same requirements. Some items would vary a bit, (e.g. French embassy only requires the bank statements of the last 2 months while Spain requires 3. And if you were to submit an invitation letter to Spain embassy, it has to be issued by a police station in Spain. Etc.) so it’s best to check the specific embassy’s website directly.
The cost of visa is €60, or whatever the equivalent in SGD is. Usually it’s around SGD 90, depending on the exchange rate. It’s non-refundable, be it you’re approved or not.
The usual turnaround time is 5 days. Some embassies would take longer, some shorter. I got mine in 2 days! Didn’t expect it to be that quick. Funny tho because there was an error with my visa info – they put female as my gender! They amended it for free, and asked me to go back the next day. Way to ruin my first visa ever! Haha But all good tho!
If you’re worried about getting declined, just make sure you have SGD 4,000 or more in your bank account, or at least during the last month before you apply for a visa. And of course, don’t forget to complete the rest of the requirements, properly fill out the form and be on time for your appointment! Good luck! 🙂