We help you getting your Schengen Visa in Ghana
The Schengen visa is an arrangement between 25 member countries (22 EU states and 3 non-EU members) to make traveling in the Schengen territory much easier and less bureaucratic. It is an area without internal borders, an area within which many citizens, many non-EU nationals, business people and tourists can freely circulate without being subjected to border checks.
Traveling on a Schengen visa means that the visa holder can travel to any (or all) Member States using one single visa, thus avoiding the hassle and expense of obtaining individual visas for each country. This is particularly beneficial for persons who wish to visit several European countries on the same trip. The Schengen visa is a visitor’s visa, so the purpose of the visitor must be leisure, tourism or business.
Types of Schengen Visa
A Schengen visa may be issued for a number of entries. This refers to the number of visits that may carried out during the period of validity of the visa whiles respecting the length of the authorized stay.
As the name indicates this type of visa allows for only one entry. During this period, the holder is allowed to travel once to the territory of the Member States.
Once the holder leaves the territory of the Member States, they are not entitled to re-enter even if the total number of authorized days of stay have not been used.
How to apply for a Schengen visa
Even though a Schengen visa allows the holder to freely travel within all Member States, there are rules for establishing which Member State is competent to deal with an application based on the applicant’s travel destination.
Issuance by representation
If the Member State responsible for issuing the Schengen visa does not have any consulate in a third country for the purposes of receiving and deciding on the application, a visa may be issued by representation by the consulate of a country that represents the interests of the country responsible in that particular third country. A member State may agree to represent another Member State for the purpose of:
When a visa has been issued by representation, the letter “R” must be entered under the heading “Remarks”, followed by the country code of the county on whose behalf the visa is issued. Representation applies only for the issuance of visas. Travelers that cannot get a visa for inability to provide sufficient proof that they fulfill the relevant conditions may also apply at the consulate of the main destination in a neighbouring country if the need arises.
When to apply for a Schengen visa
The general principle is that a visa application should be lodged at least 15 calendar days before the intended visit and cannot be lodged earlier than 3 months before the start of the intended visit. Processing times vary at different consulates in different parts of the world. It is recommended that a person apply for a Schengen visa approximately 3 months before their intended travel. A holder of a multiple-entry visa may apply for a new visa before the expiry of the validity of the visa currently held. However, the validity of the new visa must complement the current visa, i.e. a person cannot hold two uniform visas valid for the same period in time.
The usual processing time for deciding on a visa application is 15 calendar days after the submission of the application. In individual cases where further scrutiny of the application is needed by the consulate’s own central authorities or in the case of representation where the authorities of the represented member state are consulted, the deadline may be extended up to a maximum of 30 calendar days. In exceptional cases, where additional documentation is required the deadline may be extended up to a maximum of 60 days.
Some consulates allow for walk-inns while others allow submission of application by appointment only. However in justified cases of urgency, an appointment may be given immediately or direct access for submitting the application may be allowed. A situation is considered as one of urgency where the visa could not have been applied earlier for reasons that could not have been foreseen by the applicant.
Must the applicant appear in person to submit their application?
As a general rule an applicant should submit their application in person at the consulate. Applicants must also submit the application in person when finger prints are to be collected. The objective of the submission in person is to allow consular staff to gain an impression of the substance of the application and ask questions about the purpose of travel and the documents submitted.
Notwithstanding this general rule, exemptions may be granted to certain persons from lodging their application in person. This exemption is normally granted to persons who are known to the consulate for their integrity and reliability in which case this requirement may be waived by allowing them to have their application submitted by a third party or sent by post. This exemption cannot be granted to first time applicants.
Consulates may in justified cases, call an applicant for an interview during the examination of the application. This call for an interview is however distinct from the personal appearance for submitting the application. The applicant may be called for an interview when the examination of the visa application on the basis of the information and documentation available does not allow for taking a final decision to either issue a visa or refuse the application.
Consideration of the visa application
In order for a visa application to be considered admissible the following requirements must be fulfilled:
General supporting documents for Schengen visa
The purpose of the supporting documents is to allow the relevant authorities to assess whether the applicant fulfils the entry conditions and to assess the possible risk of illegal immigration and for security risks. The documents should provide evidence of:
Supporting documents for a Business trip
The supporting documents for a business trip must be in the following:
Supporting documents for purposes of study
To apply for a Schengen visa for the purposes of study, an applicant must in addition to the general requirements provide evidence of the following:
Supporting documents for purposes of tourism or private reasons
To apply for a Schengen visa for the purposes of tourism, an applicant must in addition to the general requirements provide evidence of the following:
Supporting documents for medical reasons
To apply for a Schengen visa for medical reasons, an applicant must in addition to the general requirements provide evidence of the following:
Supporting documents for journeys undertaken for political, cultural, scientific, sports or religious events
For ‘active’ participants like lectures, athletes, and performers etc, the following documents must be supplied in addition to the general requirements:
For ‘passive’ participants such as audience, supporters, etc. the applicant must show proof of entry tickets.
Documents showing the applicant’s intention to depart the territory of the Member States
The assessment of the applicant’s intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa depends mainly on the stability of their socio-economic situation in their country of residence with reference to the applicant’s financial situation, stability of employment, family ties, etc. Evidence that may relevant in establishing the intention includes:
Document showing sufficient means of subsistence
An applicant is required to provide proof that they possess sufficient means of subsistence both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to their country of origin or residence, or for transit to a third country into which the applicant is certain to be admitted or that they are in a position to acquire such means lawfully. This proof may be evidenced by:
In assessing what is considered “sufficient means of subsistence” consular officers are required to take into account:
How to estimate sufficient means of subsistence
The consular officer is required to estimate both the amount of sufficient financial means necessary for the stay and reliability of the financial resources presented. In assessing the reliability of the means of subsistence presented, the consular officer is required to take account of the local context. This determination is made on account of:
The consular officer is also required to request sufficient financial resources above that estimate when the purpose of travel is:
Travel Medical Insurance
An applicant who applies for a Schengen visa for one or two entries must present proof of a travel medical insurance to cover the intended visits upon submission of the application. A travel medical insurance is adequate and valid if it meets the following criteria:
Collection of visa decision
The issue is whether or not an applicant is required to appear in person to collect their travel document. The applicant should in principle collect the travel document and other documents to be returned, if any in person. This requirement however may be waived where the applicant: