The Ultimate Schengen Visa Application Checklist: Steps Most People Miss

Schengen Visa Application

When I chose to visit Europe, the first thing I had to do was get a Schengen visa. The process seems intimidating, with several papers, paperwork, and criteria. I was able to effectively traverse the application with cautious planning and some insider knowledge. In this post, I’ll share my experience, provide relevant information, and offer advice that most websites do not mention to assist you in your Schengen visa application.

Understanding the Schengen Visa Application

The Schengen visa allows you to travel to 26 European countries without having to obtain separate visas for each. According to the European Commission, more than 15 million Schengen permits were issued in 2019, demonstrating its popularity among tourists.

My first step was determining the type of Schengen visa I required. For a brief trip, the tourist visa was the best option. I wanted to visit France, Germany, and Italy, and this visa allowed me to do so without any additional paperwork.

Step-by-Step Guide for a Schengen Visa Application

#1. Determine Your Visa Type

The type of visa required depends on the purpose of your visit. The most prevalent varieties include:

  • Tourist Visa: for recreational travel.
  • Business Visa: Used for attending business meetings, conferences, and other events.
  • Student Visa: This is for short-term study programs.

Tourist visas account for around 70% of all Schengen visa applications.

#2. Collect the Required Documents

Specific requirements may differ by country, but in general, you’ll need:

  • Visa application form: The visa application form is completed and signed.
  • Passport: Valid for at least three months after your scheduled departure.
  • Two passport-sized photos: Current and by visa photo criteria.
  • Travel itinerary: Includes flight and lodging arrangements.
  • Proof of financial means may include bank statements, wage slips, or a sponsorship letter.
  • Travel insurance: Medical emergencies require at least €30,000 in coverage.

I utilized a Schengen Visa Document Checklist Template to make sure I didn’t overlook any important paperwork. This template was quite helpful in keeping me organized and stress-free.

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#3. Schedule an appointment

Appointments are required and should be scheduled well in advance. Depending on the nation, you may have to book through an embassy, consulate, or visa application center (VAC).

A Schengen visa typically takes 15 days to process, although it might take up to 60 days during peak seasons.

I scheduled my appointment two months in advance. This allowed me plenty of time to obtain the necessary documentation and prevent last-minute rushing.

#4. Go to the Visa Interview

Prepare to answer questions regarding your vacation plans, financial stability, and intended return during the interview. It is critical to be upfront and supply all necessary information.

My interview was straightforward. The officer inquired about my trip plan and financial position. All of my documentation was organized and available, which made the process go well.

#5. Track Your Application

Most VACs have online tracking services. Keep an eye on your application’s status and be patient.

In 2019, the refusal rate for Schengen visas was approximately 9.6%. Common reasons include a lack of documentation and concerns about return intentions.

Required Documents For Schengen Visa Application

To apply for a Schengen visa, you must submit the following documents:

  • A completed and signed application form
  • Two recent passport photos (in color, against a light background, standard size 35 x 45 mm).
  • An NPC birth certificate (if born after December 13, 1992), a certified copy of the local birth register, or an affidavit (“declaration of age” deposed to by one of the parents or the head of the family, if both parents are late)
  • Valid passports (issued within the last ten years and valid for at least three months after the conclusion of the voyage) and old passports for previous journeys are required.
  • Non-Nigerian nationals require a Nigerian resident permit.
  • Prepaid courier envelope for passport return.
  • Health insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000€ valid for the entire travel time and Schengen area.
  • Requirements for a return flight include a flight reservation and proof of accommodation (e.g., hotel reservation)
  • If required, a formal declaration of commitment by §§ 66–68 AufenthG or proof of own finance for the stay (no cash).
  • Up-to-date bank statements (preferably salary accounts) for the last three months.]
  • Proof of land ownership or ownership certificate
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Birth certificate(s) of minor children.
  • Proof of employment in Nigeria (e.g., an employment contract, an introduction letter, a holiday certificate, and a salary statement for the last three months).

Family Visit

For a family visit, please complete your application with the necessary documents.

  • Letter of invitation from the host in Germany in the form of an informal letter
  • The formal guarantor’s form does not replace the mandatory invitation letter from your host. It requires proof of family relationship (birth certificate, residence title, or identity card of the relevant person in Germany).
  • Additional documents (e.g., official registration for marriage, baptism certificate, pregnancy certificate) to prove the purpose of the journey.

Business Visa

For a business visa, please add the following documents to your application:

  • Invitation from a German company with a copy of the entry from the German commercial register
  • Proof of conference, workshop, or training
  • Previous business transactions
  • Current bank statement for the last three months of the company in Nigeria. Only bank-issued and stamped statements will be accepted.

Medical Treatment Visa

For a medical visa, please complete your application with the following documents:

  • Proof of sufficient health insurance coverage
  • Confirmation from the doctor that medical treatment will be carried out in Schengen, including the date and duration of treatment
  • Medical documents of the treating doctor from Nigeria
  • Proof that treatment charges have been paid.

For minors (children under 18 years old),

A minor’s visa typically requires both parents to attend the minor’s appointment. They only require a written and signed power of attorney from a parent who is unable to come in person.

If one or both parents are unable to accompany the minor to the appointment for clearly justified reasons, the parents may, under rare circumstances, grant a signed power of attorney to a third adult person, allowing them to accompany their child and apply for a visa in their place. This individual must be able to identify himself or herself by presenting their international passport, voter’s card, driver’s license, or NIN slip (original and one copy).

You may write the power of attorney, but both parents must sign it. Please include a copy of the parents’ passports.

Please include the following paperwork to complete the application:

  • A copy of each parent’s passport.
  • A travel permission signed by both parents or the custodial parent and the applicant, and the application itself.
  • Required documents include a parent’s death certificate, divorce decree, current school transcript, and transcripts from the last two semesters.
  • The application form must be signed by both parents.

Unique Insights and Tips For Schengen Visa Application

#1. Tailor Your Application for Each Country

While the Schengen visa is standard, some nations have harsher requirements than others. For example, Germany has stringent financial evidence requirements, whilst Spain may focus more on travel insurance.

I adapted my application to French criteria because France was my primary target. This included thorough verification of lodging and a letter of intent outlining my travel arrangements.

#2. Use a Template for Document Preparation

A Schengen visa application template helps simplify the procedure. This template will help you organize your documents, keep track of deadlines, and verify that they are comprehensive.

Using a Schengen visa application template made my preparation easier. It helped me remain organized and confident throughout the process.

Common Pitfalls in Schengen Visa Application & How to Avoid Them

#1. Incomplete documentation

Missing documents are a leading cause of visa rejections. Double-check your checklist to confirm that all papers are in order.

I nearly forgot my travel insurance proof. Fortunately, the checklist template reminded me right on time.

#2. Unclear Travel Itinerary

Your trip itinerary should be clear and detailed. Ambiguities can raise red flags during the application process.

I supplied a daily itinerary with addresses and contact information for each lodging. This transparency was appreciated in my interview.

#3. Insufficient Financial Proof

Proving financial stability is critical. Ensure that your bank statements indicate a consistent flow of income and enough finances for your stay.

I produced six months’ worth of bank statements and a letter from my company confirming my pay and position. This thoroughness strengthened my application.


Applying for a Schengen visa might be stressful, but with careful planning and the correct materials, it is doable. Following these procedures and using tools such as the Schengen visa application template will allow you to traverse the process with confidence and ease.

As you begin on your European adventure, what are your primary concerns concerning the visa application procedure, and how can you address them? Please share your thoughts and help us continue the conversation!

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