Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata (16)

Visiting Europe has its own set of advantages as well as disadvantages. If you are planning to visit a Schengen country then the best part is that with a single visa you can visit all the Schengen countries. By Schengen countries don’t mix it up with the European Union as there as some countries like Switzerland which is a part of the Schengen agreement but not a part of European Union whereas Ireland is part of European Union but not a part od Schengen agreement. When I planned to travel to Europe that is to Italy along with my family I had to get a Schengen Visa for all.

My trip was a bit complicated as my wife was traveling to attend a conference so she had an official invitation thus things were easy for her but for me and our eight-year-old daughter we had to apply as tourists but show my wife traveling with us. All these complexities made me research tons of documents to ensure that our Visa does get approved since we had already booked flights, hotels and other local transportations within Italy.

The final result was that we all had managed to secure a Schengen Visa well within the deadline and had a wonderful trip of a lifetime. Many of my friends were surprised as to how easily we managed to get the visa but in reality, it all boils down to proper documentation and a solid travel itinerary.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Indian Passport

Which Country Do I Get The Schengen Visa From?

First of all, you need to decide if you are traveling to multiple Schengen countries or just one. If it’s just a single country then the answer is pretty simple it has to be the one you are visiting else if it’s multiple then you have to apply in the country where you will be spending a maximum number of days during your vacation. This is why a solid travel itinerary is important as the Visa officer will study this carefully and your entire trip is based on this.

For me I was only visiting Italy thus the choice was very simple and being from Kolkata I knew that we have an Italian consulate in the city so things will be a bit faster.

Where Do I Apply for Schengen visa?

VFS is the official Visa processing agency for Italy (also for most other Schengen countries) and they do a pretty good job as they have very well trained staff who guides you in the event you are confused or have any query.

Alternately you can directly apply at the embassy or the local consulate if your city has one. The main difference is the scope of service, VFS has an online time slot booking system with which you can choose your preferable time slot whereas at the embassy or consulate you have to write an email to them directly to secure an application slot which is very short and limited (day and time). Also, you don’t expect the embassy or the consulate staff to help you in depth as they are there only to receive the forms along with documents.

If you are a budget traveler then here is a trick to save around Rs. 1250, if you apply directly at the embassy or consulate then you don’t have to pay VFS service charge.

Adults need to pay around 4,290 Rs. per person and minors need to pay nearly half the amount 2510 Rs. If you are visiting as a student in groups from an institution then you may apply for visa fee waiver.

How Long Will It Take to get Schengen Visa?

Officially it will take a minimum of fifteen days but can extend as these fifteen days are considered as working days only. My wife got her business visa in six days as she had the invitation to attend a conference whereas for me and my daughter it took exactly fourteen days.

What Do I Need To Prove for Getting Schengen visa?

Basically, you need to show that you are visiting the country as a tourist or for business purpose and not planning to stay back illegally. Also, you have to prove that you have enough money to fund your trip and the trip that you are taking is a paid off by the surplus of what your earn.

The Italian Embassy has also specified a fund matrix which is what amount each person should have during the trip per day of travel. Please note that this amount varies from country to country thus plan accordingly. Alternately Credit Cards statements with balance and Foreign Exchange like Euro currency will also serve the purpose. This amount you must be able to show as a bank balance or in foreign exchange (not in cash but as documents with your passport number endorsed).

Please refer to VFS site for this Fund Matrix.

Documents Required For Schengen Visa

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Necessary Documents

Schengen Visa Covering Letter

This is the most critical bit of document since this is what the Visa Officer will actually read thus it has to be self-explanatory and include a detailed plan of your trip. This letter should establish:-

  1. You know where (country) you are going
  2. You know which places you are going
  3. You know which documents to attach
  4. You are talking all financial responsibility for yourself and that of family members if traveling along with you.

List down all the documents that you are attaching with this cover letter in the exact order they are listed.

Sample Schengen Visa Covering Letter

The Visa Officer
Consulate General of Italy

(Your Name) (Your Surname)
(Your Address)
Mobile: (Your Mobile Number)

Date: (Give the date on which you are applying)

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

Subject: Application for Schengen Visa for travel to Italy

I intend to travel to Italy as a tourist between (From Date) and (To Date) and would request you to please grant me Schengen Visa (Tourist).

Enlisting the details of my proposed trip:-

Date of Arrival: (From Date)
Date of Departure: (To Date)
No of days: (Number of days)

Other members of my family traveling along
: Traveller Name (Relation – Passport no: ABCD1234)
Traveller Name (Relation – Passport no: ABCD1234)

Arrival at Rome: Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) (Arrival Date). Taking the Leonardo Express Airport Train to Rome Termini. Further taking a taxi to the hotel.

(Date) = Visiting places around Vatican
(Date) = Visiting places around Rome
(Date)  = Visiting places around Florence
(Date) = Visiting places around Venice
(Date) = Visiting places around Pompeii
(Date) = Visiting places around Rome
(Date) = Departure from Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) to India

(The more details you give the better it will it look on papers)

As per the required document list mentioned on the website, I am attaching the following documents:

1: Filled up application form
2: Two recent photographs in the specified dimension
3: Passport Photocopy
4: Passport
5: Medical insurance
6: Travel itinerary and tickets
7: Leave authorization for my workplace
8: Salary slip of last three months
9: Last three-month bank statement
10: Form 16 (last three years)
11: Income Tax challan (last three years)
12: Hotel booking slips

Additional documents like (PAN Card, Aadhaar Card)

I am the bearer of all the travel expenses inclusive of air tickets, train tickets, local transport and hotel booking. Trust that my application along with the necessary documents would be in order to your requirement for visa application process. Thanking you in anticipation that the visa would be granted.


(Your Name) (Your Surname)

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Application Form

Filled up Schengen Visa application form

The form can be downloaded from VSF site as well as from Italian Embassy / Consulate site. Ensure to use a black pen and write in all capitals.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Passport Photo

Two recent photographs in the specified dimension for Schengen Visa

The photograph dimension and specification needs to be followed exactly thus please do not use any available photograph. Detailed information available at VSF site as well as from Italian Embassy / Consulate site.

I had carried the photographs but this was not required but don’t take chances take it along. Only a single photograph was required which had to be pasted on the application form.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Photocopy

Passport Photocopy

Take two sets of photocopies which should include first page, last page, and any observations. Include copies of old Schengen Visa which will make things easy for you to get the Visa.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Passport


After all, this is where they will stick your Visa thus don’t forget this.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Medical Insurance

Medical insurance for Schengen Visa

Travel Medical Insurance is easy to get these days, just buy them online and select the cheapest one. Just one important point that the duration of coverage should be additional ten days after your departure from Schengen area.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Air Tickets

Travel Itinerary and Tickets

Since you have to show this during your Visa application thus include them, this is a big investment thus make sure you have enough buffer days between your actual date of travel and application date as in the event there are some unforeseen delays you can panic a bit less. Since most of the (cheap) tickets are non-refundable thus it might be a good idea to buy a little bit more expensive refundable tickets.

To make things look better on paper you may also add local transportation tickets like train tickets from point A to point B since these make the application more credible.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Leave Authorization

Leave authorization for Schengen Visa

If you are a salaried person then this letter is vital as the Visa officer would want to see you are employed and the employer is aware of your leave. Make sure the date range of leave is mentioned along with your name and designation.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Payslip

Salary slip of last three months

This is basically to prove that you have an income to sustain a trip to a Schengen country and not planning to make a one-time trip and not coming back.

If you are a retired person or freelancer then you can add your savings account details plus any sort of investments which can be easily be translated into a cash amount.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Bank Statement

Last three-month bank statement

Just to prove that you have a steady income or steady bank balance and not gathering funds from friends and family just before your Visa application. The Visa Officer might ask you question if there is a sudden influx of funds into this account thus plan ahead. If you have multiple bank accounts you may show them also to show as accumulated funds.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Form 16

Form 16 (last three years)

You are a law abiding citizen paying the due that is to the government as per your income.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Income Tax

Income Tax challan (last three years)

You pay tax and the tax return matches the salary or your earnings you are being paid.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Hotel BookingGetting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Hotel Booking

Hotel booking slips

This is also important in the application form as you also need to mention in the application form where you will land up first once you arrive at your destination.

If you are staying at your friends or relatives place then you need to provide them a letter from the host confirming that they will take care of your stay.

If you are attending a conference then you need to give official invitation letter from the inviting organization.

p.s. Booking confirmation from is also accepted thus do not worry 

Submitting the Documents for Schengen Visa

On the date of appointment submit all the documents (photocopies) at the counter except the application form and passport which you have to submit in originals. Make sure you come at the exact time mentioned else you will not be allowed to enter. If it’s at the embassy or consulate then it’s much stricter and only allowed to enter during the slot provided to you. At VFS its bit easier but the time slot needs to be maintained.

After submitting the documents you need to pay the visa fee and then you have to provide biometric data which will be done by scanning all ten fingers of your hand. Make sure your fingers do not have Mehendi or Heena else the scanning cannot be done. Minors do not require to provide biometric data.

At VFS you will be provided with a tracking number which you can check from time to time online or via phone.

Schengen Visa Interview

There is a for sure an interview process if you are applying for the first time for Schengen Visa. The questions will be to ascertain that you are going for a vacation if applied for a Tourist Visa and sometimes for Business Visa you need to prove that you are saying exactly what you have submitted. Don’t be nervous just be confident and answer what you are asked.

During my interview, I was just asked about what kind of work that I do and what type of industry I work for. What I understood is that they just want to re affirm what you have mentioned in your covering letter.


Backpacking around Europe without a fixed itinerary is a bit difficult if you are visiting for the first time since most of it has to be planned and presented in your travel details. A European can come to India without a fixed plan and go as it progresses but this is difficult for Indian traveling to Europe.

But what I have understood is that if you get Schengen Visa once then getting it the next time becomes a bit easy but you still need to go through the same process.

I had applied for a single entry Visa but was granted a multi entry Visa thus there is a slight chance for you to alter your planned schedule and travel to nearby countries which you can easily travel without much hassle.

Make sure that all your documents are in order and all that is required is provided so that there is little room for denial of Visa. Still, have some buffer days between your actual date of planned departure and Visa application date as you can always re apply if denied.

Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata - Schengen Visa
Photo Courtesy:-
Ambulance, Bank, Document, Envelope, Payroll, Map, Money, Notepad, Passport, Photograph, Hotel Stamp = Pixabay
Photocopy = Clipart Fest
16 = Clipart Kid

46 thoughts on “Getting Schengen Visa From Kolkata

      1. Hi Subhadip,
        Loved the way you articulated each and every step.. just have one query and would love your suggestion on this. I am planning a trip to Italy and Swiss soon. I have all the relevant documents mentioned in the list, the only document missing with me is the ITR. I do have all Form 16s with me (last 5 yrs) and have more than sufficient funds in my account to cover the entire trip. I have travelled to other south East Asian countries before but have never come across this requirement for ITR.. can you please suggest whether I should go ahead, take a risk and apply for the Visa(considering it would require booking flight tickets and hotel bookings) ?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Congratulations on your great trip, buddy. I might have to apply one soon so I read each point very carefully…it couldn’t have been more detailed.

    I knew most of these points since I’ve been to the US on multiple visas and it’s similar process for here too. The only difference is the travel insurance especially that it has to be valid for 10 days after departure.

    Thanks for this detailed account.


    1. Initially I was unsure whether I would be given a Schengen Visa but then after careful study I have realized that it all depends on documentation. Each embassy or consulate have a basic guidelines which if you can carefully cover you are sure to get the visa. Another important aspect is being truthful as now all our financial information are linked thus finding the truth is as easy as pushing a button.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very nice, useful, detailed and complete information for Schengen visa. Actually we are very confused about it but after getting through this blog we are totally relaxed. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Subhadip for the details. Was thinking if you help me with one little doubt I have? I will be acquiring a UK visa to visit London for about 15 days and will be required to change planes at Paris. During the 15 day stay, I intend to visit Paris maybe for a day trip. Now, I understand that a Transit Visa is required for changing flights at Paris, so, in this case does a Schengen Visa suffice? And do I apply for a single or multiple entry Schengen Visa then?
    Thanks again for the insights!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you apply for single entry then usually by default multiple entry visa is provided.

      For transition through Paris you need to get in touch with your airlines if the transit is through international transit zone or the next flight is from Schengen area depending on which you need to apply for Visa.


  4. Very detailed and thorough information. Thanks a lot. It helped me to confirm if a VISA interview and biometric can be done in Kolkata VFS. Also, if my kids will need to go for biometric. Sigh of relief indeed. Thanks and keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Subhadip, I can’t thank you enough for this post. I have one question. Me and my wife will be travelling to Italy as tourists and I’ll be sponsoring her trip. Is it necessary to submit my wife’s salary statements too??? She works with a very modest salary, so her financial statements won’t be impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi,
    Can you tell me how long it took from the day of your interview till the day your status changed to approved ? My brother had his interview over a week back and there is still no update on his status.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Quick question, I got a VISA appointment in Bangalore in Italian consulate that is 8 days before the planned journey date (tickets purchased) and I am concerned since this is too close. What are the chances that the VISA will not be received on time ? Is there a courier service that can still help to receive the passport with VISA before the journey ?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Subhadip da,
    I am going Italy to attend a international school on physics as a research student for the first time and will be there for a month. Can you give the information, what is the right and efficient procedure to get the visa as soon as possible. It will be very helpful to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi

    Is it necessary to buy flight tickets before applying for Schengen Visa becoz if your visa is denied you loosed a good amount of money

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Can we give the booking reference number and keep the tickets on hold while submitting the visa documents at VFS centre

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi
        what are the documents required for getting the schengen tourist visa for my mother in law 65 years old staying with us

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi

    what are the documents required for getting the schengen tourist visa for my mother in law who is 65 years old and staying with us



  11. I’m a retired person. Should I require to submit Form 16? What I get as pension per month does not attract Income Tax, hence no tax is deducted at source. But I have sufficient fund in savings account.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Dear Subhadip,
    Have got all bookings done for tour to Italy and 4 other countries. Now came to know that, healthy savings required in bank account. I have Used the savings for booking. I am yet to receive 200,000/- that I have given my friend as loan by next 15days. I have planned my touron 15oct’18. Please suggest, is there will be any problem regarding getting schengen visa. Also suggest what else property details I can show to strengthen my profile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi

      I have also applied for Shengen visa from 12th oct to 24th oct as i will be visiting Belgium and some other european countries. My documentation process has been completed at VFS kolkata centre on 3rd august.
      As a source of fund you can show your bank statements, Mutual Fund statements Fixed Deposits and credit card statements indicating your cash and credit limits


      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi

      If you are visiting France and Switzerland only for tourism purpose you can get schengen visa from Kolkata VFS centre



  13. Very helpful information. Can you tell me how to collect train tcts in advance. There are many apps and sites where one can book tcts but fares are not same everywhere. TRAIN app seems good bargain in price of fares.can I book tcts from here? Hope it is not a fake app.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Subhadip,
    Great article for beginners who want to plan everything on their own.
    Just one query. I am from Jamshedpur. My VFS appointment is scheduled for next week at Kolkata. Will there be an interview then and there or I will be given a later date to come to the embassy? I am travelling early March.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, this is the first time I am applying for a Schengen Visa (though I have widely travelled in Asia and Africa). But as per the information available on the web, I think for the first Schengen application, one is generally called for an interview by the embassy!


      2. Its a call taken by the Embassy. My wife was given Visa without interview beofre me but I was called eventhough my Passport had Visa stamp of more thann 6 countries.

        It all depends on the embassy.


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