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.
Traveling to Europe is simplified with the help of a Schengen visa. Having this visa allows you to travel freely throughout the Schengen zone for up to three months. To make the most out of the money you will spend for your airfare, ideally you should visit multiple countries in one trip.
Which Embassy to Choose?
- You can apply at the embassy of the country that is your point of entry.
- If visiting multiple countries, you can 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 can apply at any of their embassies.
Schedule Your Appointment
Most, if not all, of the embassies do not accept walk-in applications; they would usually have a booking system on their website like this, or via a third-party company like VFS Global. Due to the large amount of people booking an appointment, especially during peak seasons, it is recommended that you reserve one or two months away from your trip.
List of Requirements
Some requirements will vary from embassy to embassy. This list is specifically for applications at the French Embassy in Singapore. They will only accept your application if your main destination is either France, Austria or Greece.
- Update: As of my latest application last June 2018, the French government now requires everyone to have an account on their visa portal. On this site, you will fill out a form with pertinent details.
- At the very end, you will be able to download it in PDF format, which you then need to print out and bring on the day of your visa application.
- You can also use this portal to track the status of your visa application.
- Tip: The portal will actually not let you choose multiple countries, so in your application it will say that you’re applying for Single Entry. But they told me no need to worry because they only issue Multiple Entries.
- One passport size photo pasted on the form.
- The photo should be in colour and has a white background.
- Must be recent, clearly showing the face, the forehead hairline and ears.
- You can check out this file for sample photos.
- 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.
Ideally you should have SGD 3,000 or more in your bank account, or at least before the month of your visa application so that it will reflect in your bank statement. If you have insufficient funds, you may also provide a 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.
- A confirmed booking going to the Schengen country and back to Singapore.
- The dates should match what’s indicated in the letter from your employer.
Proof of Accommodation
Confirmed hotel reservation(s) for the whole length of your stay in the Schengen area. Print them all out, and include in your submission. If staying with family or friends, 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
- Your name and dates of coverage should be stated in 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 (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).
- Original and photocopy: Employment Pass / S Pass / Dependant Pass / Student Pass / Work Permit / PR card with re-entry permit
- Note: Only PR’s or Employment Pass / S Pass / Dependant Pass / Student Pass / Work Permit holders may apply at embassies here in Singapore. Tourists or temporary visitors should apply at their home country.
For Business Trips
In addition to all the documents mentioned above, you will need to submit the following:
- Original and photocopy of official business invitation letter from a company in France and a letter from your employer in Singapore stating:
- the purpose of your visit and that you are going to France on their behalf
- 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
- 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
- Original and photocopy of wedding certificate and your spouse’s passport
For Applicants Under 18
In addition to all the documents mentioned above, the following should be secured for the minors:
For Non-working Spouses
In addition to all the above mentioned documents, non-working spouses should present:
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. You can pay by cash or card/NETS at the embassy.
Claim your Passport
Your passport will be with the embassy for a few days. The usual turnaround time is 5 days. Some embassies would take longer, some shorter. The visa officer will advise you when to come back and will give you a slip that you need to present on the day of claiming your passport.
A little story: There was an error with my gender on my first visa ever! I was asked to go back the next day. The French Embassy had to cancel it, and they issued me another one, with the correct details, for free.
Needless to say, you should properly fill out the form, submit complete requirements, and be on time for your appointment to get your Schengen visa approved! If you have further questions, let me know in the comments section. All the best with your application! 🙂
Last updated: September 28, 2018