With my daughter started going to school this year, eventually I got into the league of parents who can afford long family vacation only during the summer holidays. Since, I wanted to beat the heat, my all research through various forums and especially besttimetovisit for a cooler place, boiled down to Europe.
My research started with – Where in Europe? Since I have always had a strong dislike for 1 country 1 day kinda packages, I decided for at the most 2 places only in Europe. After lot of research, I zeroed in on 2 countries – Italy and one more, where I chose Italy as port of entry for 2 reasons:
1. Flights were bit cheaper
2. I wanted to end my holidays on a note of Swiss Experience
This blog post is all about my learning on VISA process.
Reading this post should make it a piece of cake on how to apply for VISA by yourselves easily.
PORT OF ENTRY IS CRITICAL
YOU MUST MUST APPLY SCHENGEN VISA THROUGH THE FIRST COUNTRY OF YOUR EUROPEAN EXPEDITION
- If you plan to go to Italy first followed by Switzerland and then France etc. you should apply for Schengen in VFS ITALY.
- If your flight has a transit stopover in another European country, that is not valid in this context. For example, if you are travelling to Italy with a flight change in Greece, you should still apply your VISA for Italy
- Ensure that you plan your flight tickets remembering this rule.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTION
1. Get your flights and hotels booked2. Plan for and start procuring all documents3. Schedule Visa Appointment4. Go and Submit papers5. Collect your Passport All above steps are detailed below.
1. Get your flights and hotels booked
Yes! You need to present your flights and hotel bookings to support your VISA application.
I know it’s a bit odd. What if you don’t get a VISA? Still, as this is needed, please ensure that you have booked your flights and hotels. Which essentially means you should have an itinerary planned. To minimize the risk of losing money, I highly recommend to book refundable flights and hotels. Many sites like Booking.com (which I used mostly in my trip instead of all time favorite Agoda), it allows you to reserve without paying so you still have your card free.
Since most hotels have full refund until 7 days ago from the date of checkin, do file for VISA at least 30 days before such date.
2. Plan for and start procuring all documents
I recommend:a. To create a table in excel/googlesheets for all the applicants and mark all cells as either red OR grey.b. Get a folderc. As and when you put printout/original in that folder, mark cell as green.
3. Schedule Visa Appointment
- Go to this link and select “New User” option.
- Create your account
- When scheduling for your family, opt for “Add Group” option. (It allows only 5 applicants in a group)
Note: You might read on official website that each applicant must apply for separate appointment. It’s a crap! You can apply your family as a group.
- Add details of each applicant and select next
- In schedule screen select a date and time slot
Recommended: To take a slot before noon as its a bit less crowded
- Ensure to note the Appointment number.
Note: They automatically email the appointment details to all the distinct emails mentioned in group
4. Go and Submit papers
VFS Global Services is located in lower floor of Shivaji Standium Metro Station which is on same road as PVR Rivoli towards Gol DakKhana near connaught place.Q. Where to Park?A few buildings before metro station (when you’re coming from CP), there’s a multi level car parking which charges 10/- per hour.
- Once you get in, you’d reach to a counter (follow G Line for counter), where you’d get a token.
- Once you have obtained token reach to Italy counter (#38) where you’d have sitting area and a screen displaying token numbers.
- Once your number appears on screen, reach the counter. People their are very supportive and would guide you very nicely.
THEY DO NOT ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS. I had to walk even up to the inner circle to obtain cash from ATM as all the ones near that building were cashless. They only accept cash or DemandDraft
Tip: You may opt for courier services (some 300 p.p.) OR register to collect passport yourselves.