Europe has always been a dream destination for me and my family. This year, we decided to buy our ticket to Europe and make our dream come true! But before the dream vacation, we have to prepare for many things. Of course as an Indonesian, first thing first, Schengen visa.
What is Schengen visa?
A Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area. The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) without border controls between them. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Since I live in Turkey with a legal residence permit, then I applied for my visa in here. While my family applied for theirs in Indonesia. So all the information here is based on my experience applying for Schengen visa from Turkey. Well, the steps don’t have much different tho, maybe I could answer your question regarding applying for Schengen visa from Indonesia as well.
I applied for the tourist visa since my visiting purpose is only for vacation. During our trip, we planned to visit some countries; France, Italy, Germany, and Netherland. Basic European countries for the first-timer, right? As we well spent most of our vacation in Amsterdam, so we applied for Schengen visa through the Netherland Embassy via VFS Global.
What Documents Should I Prepare?
For all the steps, I think beside waiting for the visa approval, this step is the most nerve-wracking one, because collecting documents is tiring. But this step is always exciting for me because it’s like moving one step closer to the dream destination. Okay, without mumbling too much about how this trip is my dream trip, here are the documents you should prepare for the Schengen visa;
- Passport, with validity at least 3 months
- Visa application form (available in English, Dutch, or Turkish). If you aren’t sure about something, just left the column empty and ask for the visa officer during your appointment.
- Biometric photograph, 34×45, color, white background. Just go to any professional photo studio and say you want to make a biometric photo for Schengen visa.
- Personal travel and health insurance with minimum coverage 30.000 Euro, I Googled for the best travel insurance in Turkey and came up with Anadolu Sigorta. The fee wasn’t on their website and I had to call their customer service. Their agent then contacts me through WhatsApp. Apparently, you can transfer the fees to the agent and they will send you the policy through email, but since I kind of having trust issues here, so I decided to meet the agent in person and pay by cash. The fee is about TRY 72,47.
- Flight reservation, return. We paid our ticket before we applied for the visa, so it was kind of gambling.
- Hotel reservation. Again, thank you Booking.com for the free cancellation option.
- Travel programme. This one means travel itinerary, describing which country you wanna go and what are you planning to do there. Here’s mine.
- Student certificate or öğrenci belgesi. It is okay to have your student certificate in Turkish, but please get the newest date you can get from the school administration office.
- Documents supporting financial status. In my case, I went travel with my parents and they paid for all my necessity there, so I enclose their bank statement. FYI, it was a bank statement from Indonesian bank, no need to translate it or anything.
- Residence permit for a non-Turkish applicant
I also enclose others documents to support it so they will know I will travel with my parents.
- Birth certificate. I have the English translation of my birth certificate, so I enclose it.
- Student card
- Copy of my old passport. I got some other visas in my old passport, so I think it might help with my Schengen application.
- Bursluluk belgesi. Since I am a scholarship student in Turkey, so I enclose the scholarship statement.
- Family card. Just to make them sure that I will be traveling with my family. I did not translate this one.
For disclaimer, the documents stated above was based on my experience and my condition. You can always visit VFS Global website to find out more about the required documents for Schengen visa.
How much is the Schengen visa fee?
The total was TRY 460, as for the description;
- Visa fees: TRY 329
- VFS service fee: TRY 131
The fee is non-refundable, so if they rejected your visa fee, then there goes your money as well. So I really hope they approved your visa.
Making the Appointment
You can’t just go to VFS Global visa application center anytime, because you need to make an appointment first. Since I made a (Netherland) Schengen visa, so I went to their page. On the homepage, you can easily find a ‘Schedule an Appointment’ on the right side. After that, you have to make an account in their system and fill in the form. Don’t forget to remember your passport in case you want to change your data. Then you can choose any date available.
To make a Schengen visa it required at least a month before the departure. I was almost late because at that time I have to go to Russia first so I couldn’t leave my passport in VFS.
During the Appointment
So I got this appointment date on my hand, 3 days after the I applied for it. For anyone residing in Istanbul, VFS Global is on Harbiye, just 3 bus stops away from Taksim and the office was on the side of the road, easy to locate. My appointment was around 13.00 – 16.00, but I was there around 13.30.
When I first arrived there, I go to the receptionist, say that I have an appointment in the Netherlands section and I got the queue ticket. I waited for about 15 mins and then I got my turn. I hand over all my documents to the officer. Oh btw, please make sure to have the documents in order as in the application form.
He checked the documents one by one. And then he asked me if I will go with my family. I said yes, of course. Then he asked if I have copies for my family’s Schengen visa of course. At that time, my family hasn’t taken their passport yet in the VFS Global Jakarta and I said the same thing to the officer. He was understanding. Then he put all my documents in a folder and hand it to me, to give later to the biometric officer. I asked the officer on how long does it took until the process is done. He said around a week.
After that I got the receipt to pay in the cashier. I’ve told before that the total cost was TRY 460.
Cashier things are done, now I have to go to the biometric room. In the room, I hand over my documents. They also took my fingerprint and scanned my photo. The process was quick. Everything’s done.
Collecting the Passport
I expected to wait for a week, but then in the fourth day, after I applied, I got a text message that said I could collect my passport in VFS Global. To collect the passport, you have to go there around 15.00 – 16.00, no need to make an appointment as for applying for the visa.
The same process as well, taking the queue ticket from the receptionist and waited for my turn. I got the same officer, the one who collect my documents and then he handed my passport. I checked the passport nervously and MY VISA IS APPROVED! What a relief, because I thought it was hard to make a Schengen visa.
EUROPE HERE I COME!