Filing a Schengen visa application – supporting documents

Oct 01, 2020

Supporting documents are mainly required to assess if the applicant meets entry conditions and to evaluate the possible risk of illegal immigration and security.

The number and the type of documents that shall be submitted will depend on the purpose of journey, on its length, destination and on local circumstances. Therefore, there are some regular documents that must be submitted when applying for a Schengen visa, such as: flight tickets to one or more Schengen countries (or the preservation of it), medical insurance, financial means, etc., and some more specific ones, such as invitation letters for a specific purpose or events.

Which documents should be submitted for a Schengen visa application?

It is necessary to submit documents providing evidence of:

  • the purpose of the intended journey. By way of example, if for business trips: personalised invitation from a firm to attend meetings, conferences or events connected with trade, industry or work; other documents which show the existence of trade/business relations (e.g. Contracts, payment of invoices, list of orders) etc. If for trips for tourism or to visit family or friends: invitation from the host, along with copy of ID and proof of residence (it is to be noted that a hotel reservation may not be considered a valid means of proving purpose of travel since it may be cancelled easily, even in some cases, free of charge); confirmation of the booking of an organised trip etc.
  • proof of accommodation, or proof of sufficient means to cover the applicant’s accommodation;
  • possession of sufficient financial means both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to the country of origin or residence, or for the transit to a third country; The proof may be constituted by: recent bank account statements (at least the last three months), credit cards and a credit card account statement, salary slips; proof of sponsorship or private accommodation, prepaid hotel reservation etc.
  • the applicant’s intention to leave the Schengen area before the expiry of the visa (examples: reservation of or return or round ticket; proof of financial means and/or employment in the country of residence; proof of real estate property in the country of residence; proof of integration into the country of residence by means of family ties; professional status.
  • Travel Medical Insurance for Schengen visa: minimum coverage shall be EUR 30 000 and shall be valid throughout the territory of the Schengen area. Where possible, it should be taken out with a company based in the applicant’s country of residence or in a Member State. The insurance shall cover the entire period of the applicant’s intended stay, i.e. the insurance shall only cover the period of effective stay, and not the validity of the visa. In case of a multiple-entry visa the travel medical insurance should cover the first intended stay.

Do I have to submit original documents when applying for a Schengen visa? Are photocopies/scans enough?

Documents that are required for the application and that will be kept by the consulate must be submitted in original (e.g. statement of employment from the applicant’s employer, proof of sponsorship and/or accommodation). Documents that will not be retained by the consulate (such as marriage or birth certificates) can be submitted in copy, however originals must be presented when lodging the application and shall be returned to the applicant.

Do I have to provide translations of supporting documents when applying for a Schengen visa?

Translation of supporting documents should not be required as a rule but only in individual and exceptional cases. Consulates should be organised as to ensure the examination of supporting documents in the main official languages of the host country, in order to avoid additional costs for the applicant. In particular, translation should not be required for documents with which the consular staff is expected to be familiar, such as “standard” civil registry documents e.g. the ‘Hukou’ (household registration) used in China.

If translation is required, applicants should be clearly informed about which documents must be translated and into which language.

Schengen visa application: Is legalisation/authentication required?

Occasionally, due to the fact of some local tendency to submit fraud/falsified documents when applying for Schengen visas, it may be exceptionally requested for the authentication, legalisation and/or apostillation of a document.

Giuditta Petreni

Giuditta Petreni has over 10 years of experience in assisting companies and business investors with relocation of managers and staff to Italy. Giuditta has extensive experience advising corporate and private clients on a full range of Italian immigration categories. She is fluent in Italian and English.

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