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Thinking of traveling to Europe and don’t know where to begin? First things first. Where are you going and do you need a visa to go there? Check If you are NOT going to the countries mentioned below, then you need to check to that country’s specific embassy and find out what you need.
If the answer is YES, you need “The Schengen Visa“. This visa is a document that you will need to enter the member states. Information below is taken from https://www.schengenvisainfo.com and is up to date at time of this writing.
The Schengen Member States
- Czech Republic
If you want to know more please click here.
Here are the steps we took to apply for the Schengen Visa from our home base – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
- We checked the requirements and procedure from http://www.vfsglobal.com/france/uae
- Check out the Visa wizard from https://france-visas.gouv.fr, please see sample below.
Visa wizard (this is just a sample form)
3. You will then be asked to create an account and submit an online application form. After which you will be redirected to the on-line appointment and tracking systems of VFS Global. *Except in special situations, the reception of visa applicants and the reception of files are handled by the VFS Global centers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Special Tips BEFORE you schedule for an appointment
It helps when everything is organized. Print everything by 2 copies just to be on the safe side.
- FIRST – Your passport MUST have a validity of at least six months beyond the period of intended stay. Although some countries may allow you to use your passport until its expiry date, there are some countries which may refuse entry to persons with less than six months validity on their passports.
- Determine your point of entry. If you are applying for France, make sure that either it is where you will be staying the longest (just in case you are planning to go to other Schengen countries on the same trip)
- We booked our flights with Etihad Airways. Their website is easy to navigate and they have a lot of flights from Abu Dhabi to major cities around the world. They even have a fly now pay later scheme. Click here to learn how. You can also check Travel Guard insurance with them.
- We opted to just google and get ourselves a cheap one for the travel insurance. You can check out AXA or AIG. There are many more insurers so it’s your choice.
- You can use booking.com to sort out your hotel reservations (IT IS REQUIRED) We used Booking.com to compare prices and ameneties of hotels. When travelling you don’t really need a fancy one as you will be out most of the time. Unless you would love to luxuriously lay in bed all day long. *They (VFS) are VERY strict on HOTEL BOOKINGS. Make sure you got all days covered with a booking.
- To help you with creating your own itineraries (this helps), you can check inspirock.com and you can make your own, just fill the details required and print it. Inspirock is a website that helps you create a fully day by day customized itinerary and it is for free.
- Get your bank statements ready, company requirements (employment), very recent picture (they also have a photo booth at the VFS Center)
- If you do the steps one by one you will actually find it easy and finish all the requirements in one day.
- Once you have all the documents ready have them printed and THEN schedule an appointment. The staff at VFS are very helpful and they can advise whatever is lacking from your documents.
Safe Travels, Enjoy!
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